What Is a Git-Based CMS?

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Sara Williams

Consumers and enterprises alike are demanding innovation at every turn, so both B2C and B2B sites and apps must deliver innovative and engaging experiences faster than ever before. As a result, the need to deliver such experiences and underlying tools has resulted in the rise of API-first, headless architectures that decoupled the frontend delivery layer from the backend content layer (usually a database).

Innovation hasn’t only been limited to content management as modern software development has adopted Git for managing source code. The benefits and increased productivity gained from distributed versioning and workflow have been noteworthy.

Naturally, Git and headless architecture can be combined to create even more innovation in content management using a Git-based CMS. This article will explain Git-based CMSs and showcase how CrafterCMS uniquely leverages Git for content management.

Git-Based CMS vs. Traditional CMS

A Git-based CMS leverages a decentralized Git repository and works with files stored in the repository for managing content. It pushes changes first to the repository, which in various manners eventually triggers changes on the website or app. The CMS interacts directly with the Git repo and provides several advantages:

  • Full version control of content
  • Easy and complete rollbacks
  • Auditability
  • In alignment with modern web development and Git-based workflows
  • Compatibility with DevOps processes and tools

While Git-based CMSs can be ideal for developers, many marketers are accustomed to traditional CMS platforms. In today’s modern content environment, however, a traditional CMS can hinder enterprises trying to provide quality content experiences for their customers, limiting the channels for content delivery and restricting developers from using modern frontend frameworks.

Even newer, headless CMS platforms usually rely on centralized databases that limit how content gets stored and ultimately delivered. They also aren’t aligned with the modern workflow standards offered by Git and CI/CD processes.

Benefits of Git-Based Architecture Over a Database-Oriented CMS

A Git-based architecture for your CMS can provide several advantages, especially when compared to the usual database-oriented systems.

Multi-object Versioning

A database-oriented CMS uses only single-object versioning, which means tracking single-object graphs or using clunky data structures for tracking relationships. This approach fits perfectly when enterprises only need to manage a blog or simple website. Unfortunately, this approach isn’t sufficient in today’s dynamic content environment, where digital experiences span multiple content channels and leverage several assets.

Git-based CMSs can use multi-object versioning to allow specific content tracking, providing a clear line of sight across all content assets. This enables previews, better content workflow management, and the ability to easily move content between environments and integrate it with other third-party systems like eCommerce, marketing automation, and more.

Distributed Repository and Branching

A Git-based CMS enables developers to use their own local and intermediary branches linked to the parent repository. Distribution, in this case, becomes much easier, and code can flow from independent repositories quickly. Source code changes and moving content between environments are also possible, where developers can remain part of the CMS, even if they use their own local machine.

Git also makes software source code control management (SCM) easier so that teams of developers can work on the same code base without getting in each other’s way. With traditional CMS platforms that don’t have easily distributed databases, problems would occur that restrict the tools developers can work with and the ability for the company to scale.

Read More: Git-based CMS: What It Is, and Why You Need It

The Drawbacks For (Most) Git-Based CMSs

Git-based CMSs are perfect for developers, providing streamlined workflows, speed, security, and scalability. Unfortunately for the marketers tasked with creating content, these CMSs don’t always offer the required authoring capabilities. They lack personalization and user-friendly tools and have limited presentation to static websites.

Lack of Marketer-friendly Features

Git-based CMSs cater to developers but provide insufficient interfaces that enable marketers to create and edit websites without assistance. Instead, marketers are forced to rely on their more technical counterparts unless they happen to be familiar with Git themselves.

No Dynamic Sites

Even though static sites may be sufficient for the average developer, these sites aren’t enough for today’s consumers. Dynamic sites offer personalization that can entice customers with relevant content to help them make purchasing decisions or simply enjoy the experience. However, static sites come pre-rendered and provide the same content for each visitor, which can be restrictive.

These are the problems that plague most Git-based CMS platforms. However, CrafterCMS utilizes Git much differently.

How Does Crafter Use Git?

CrafterCMS is a headless, Git-based CMS where all content-related assets are stored in a distrubuted Git repository from the beginning, except for larger binaries that are placed in bucket storage. Content, metadata, and more are all stored in XML files in Git, along with static assets such as CSS files, and such.

All content in CrafterCMS is fully versioned and fully auditable using Git’s sophisticated version control mechanisms. Crafter understands how content elements relate to one another, so when content gets published from Git to the delivery system (Crafter Engine), it can easily turn that raw content into dynamic, personalized experiences for end users.

By leveraging a decentralized, distributed Git repo, Crafter provides more effective workflows for developers, content authors, and operations.

  • Developers can work against the Git repo where the site or app is located using their IDEs and tools.
  • Content authors can work against the Git repo without even knowing anything about Git by utilizing the Crafter Studio WYSIWYG UI.
  • Operations can easily maintain production environments and lower environments, as content and code easily flows forward and back between environments.

Use Cases

Git-Based Sites & Dynamic Sites

Many developers will be familiar with platforms like GitHub. As part of their offerings, GitHub Pages enables you to turn GitHub repositories into websites for showcasing your projects, portfolio, documentation, and more. Content for projects is found on a special branch. It can also be combined with tools like Jekyll to launch a blog or turn plain text files into websites.

However, again, while this is enough for a simple portfolio project, it’s not sufficient for the demands of a modern enterprise. CrafterCMS provides the same simplicity as GitHub Pages but can launch similar projects at a larger scale.

CrafterCMS supports both static and dynamic sites. Companies can achieve the same performance, scalability, and security benefits of Git-based websites along with a marketer-friendly author experience that enables personalization as well as a myriad of developer options for building dynamic websites.

Read More: Building Dynamic Sites With a Git-Based CMS: Secure, Fast, and Personalized


Crafter’s Git-based architecture enables developer teams, content author teams and operations teams to work in sync without getting in each other’s way. Through a unique DevContentOps approach that brings content into the DevOps equation, enterprises can bring the same benefits of speed and efficiency from DevOps to their content applications.

Multi-user Management & Workflows

Developers can use their own local Git branches, while content authors work in related sandboxes, enabling entire teams of developers and authors to work together while leveraging sophisticated branching and version control that makes all their efforts more efficient and streamlined.

CrafterCMS: Git-Based Without the Drawbacks

A Git-based CMS has traditionally been a developer haven, providing the exact experience they require. However, with CrafterCMS, organizations can not only make the most of an underlying Git repository and its speed, security, and adaptability, but also ensure their content authors aren’t left out of the fun.

A full suite of marketer-friendly tools, including WYSIWYG editing, drag and drop page building tools, and personalization capabilities, make CrafterCMS the best of both worlds when it comes to a Git CMS. Crafter is the best choice for all organization stakeholders, no matter their department.

Learn more about Git-based CMS platforms by reading our whitepaper: Five Reasons Why You Should Use a Git-Based CMS.

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