Building a MACH Digital Experience Platform: 7 Ways CrafterCMS Is Ideal

Enterprises today are well aware of the lengths they must go to to keep their customers happy. These customers now have more information and options at their fingertips than ever before, meaning that brands need to find the best ways to stand out, produce personalized content and be agile enough to pivot as new technologies emerge.

As part of their top trends for 2022, Gartner pointed out that “demand for business adaptability directs organizations toward technology architecture that supports fast, safe and efficient application change.”

These companies have turned to digital experience platforms to help them juggle multiple channels and the various elements of their software stacks. While some businesses ignore the signs and still opt for the out-of-the-box monolithic DXP suites, composable DXPs and the flexibility they provide are becoming the go-to choice for several others.

Echoing the composable approach to building software stacks is the MACH architecture, and it has made businesses consider their options for building their DXP. We’ll dive into the components of a MACH DXP and explain how CrafterCMS provides the ideal foundation for embracing this modern approach.

Recapping MACH Architecture

The MACH acronym focuses on microservices, APIs, cloud-native and headless. Microservices-based software consists of independent pieces of business functionality. These independent services communicate with each other using APIs and are hosted in the cloud, providing elastic scaling and automatic updates. Meanwhile, content, commerce, and more are managed and delivered using a headless approach that separates the frontend and backend layers.

Platforms built on MACH architecture also follow the composable approach, enabling organizations to select the best-of-breed technologies and easily integrate them by leveraging APIs to meet their unique business requirements.

Read More: What Is Mach Architecture?

Components of a MACH DXP

A MACH-DXP is essentially the same as a composable DXP, enabling organizations to quickly and efficiently build digital experiences by using reusable components, code and content reuse, and drag and drop tooling. A headless CMS sits at the center of a DXP, delivering content-rich digital experiences. For a CMS to be a MACH or composable DXP, it must have the following components:

  • API-First Architecture: These APIs make a CMS more extensible and allow it to easily integrate with various best-of-breed tools.
  • Frontend Flexibility: Developers need the freedom to choose the right framework that allows them to deploy digital experiences across multiple channels.
  • Marketer-Friendliness: Marketers need powerful, user-friendly functionality that enables them to create, edit, manage, preview, and publish content across multiple channels without support or interference from their developers.

Read More: What Is a Composable DXP?

How CrafterCMS Helps You Build a MACH DXP

Building a DXP that encompasses the MACH approach requires the right technological support. Here’s what makes CrafterCMS the best choice to accomplish this.

1. Architecture

CrafterCMS is an API-first, Git-based headless CMS that sports a truly decoupled architecture.

Decoupled Architecture

Unlike other headless CMS platforms that view decoupled as simply separating the frontend user interface and experience from the backend content repository, CrafterCMS embodies a truly decoupled architecture. In this case, the content authoring experience facilitated by Crafter Studio is completely separated from the content delivery engine Crafter Engine.

Content authors are free to use the tools they need to create and preview content, manage approval workflows, and publish content to a decoupled delivery system. The microservices-based architecture of CrafterCMS supports greater security, scalability, performance, and reliability.

API-first Developer Platform

Both CrafterCMS's content authoring system (Crafter Studio) and content delivery system (Crafter Engine) are API-first developer platforms, supporting a comprehensive set of APIs including REST, GraphQL, JavaScript (for React/Angular/Vue/etc. client side apps and Nextjs/Nuxtjs/etc server-side development), Freemarker (for optional templating), and even in-process Java if needed. Crafter Engine also supports built-in Groovy scripting for building your own content APIs

Git-based Repository

Developers will be quite familiar with the powerful version control capabilities of Git. CrafterCMS brings those capabilities to content management as a Git-based headless CMS, providing sophisticated version control, historical time travel of content, security, and auditing capabilities. This supports modern development workflows and DevContentOps processes that include continuous integration / continuous delivery as well as continuous publishing (CI/CD/CP).

2. Cloud Agnostic

Being cloud-native is a core component of a MACH DXP. CrafterCMS’s headless "plus" approach not only supports fully-managed SaaS/PaaS as an option, it also supports self-managed/self-hosted on private cloud, hybrid cloud environments, and on-prem infrastructure, enabling organizations to choose the approach that best fits their business.

3. Client-Side Rendering and Server Side Rendering

Headless CMS and MACH DXP platforms typically provide support for client-side rendering. However, CrafterCMS also enables server-side rendered applications (especially important for public-facing sites where SEO is important). If you need to develop on the server, you can leverage native support for Java and Groovy or easily integrate with Node.js, Next.js, and others.

4. Headless

Headless content platforms enable MACH DXPs to serve content via APIs rather than relying on rendered web pages like a monolithic or traditional CMS may require. CrafterCMS provides the comprehensive headless APIs as well as content and templating APIs a modern business needs to deliver content and easily integrate with other tools. CrafterCMS goes beyond what most other MACH DXPs can offer.

5. Open Source

MACH and composable DXPs favor an open and modular approach to building software. CrafterCMS is open source, meaning that there is no need to worry about being locked into a single vendor as with monolithic DXPs. In addition, this allows organizations to avoid the SaaS trap and the performance issues and limited control that can come with it.

6. Low-Code / No-Code Marketer Friendliness

As the ones building digital experiences, marketers need low-code / no-code tools that allow them to build experiences using drag and drop, and in-context WYSIWYG content editing. CrafterCMS provides a complete WYSIWYG content authoring experience and a marketplace of plugins, making it easy for authors to create engaging content experiences, and developers to build reusable services.

7. DevContentOps Enablement

DevOps has yielded tremendous results for building general software applications and encouraging collaboration between developers and operations. CrafterCMS’s DevContentOps approach adds content authors into the mix, allowing them to collaborate with developer teams as never before, allowing businesses to swiftly launch, enhance and optimize new digital content experiences.


CrafterCMS: Helping Your Business Break the Sound Barrier

MACH architecture is enabling organizations to speed up their operations and respond faster to changes in the market as they launch their digital experiences. CrafterCMS provides a MACH-ready hybrid headless CMS that can help your business go faster than MACH 1 and break the sound barrier. With a headless+ platform that goes beyond the capabilities of other headless CMSs and composable DXPs, CrafterCMS gives you the added functionality, flexibility, and freedom to not only embrace MACH but to continue innovating now and in the future.

Life insurance organization Penn Mutual did just that as they did away with their legacy CMS and adopted CrafterCMS to realize the benefits of a modern and future-proof platform. Discover how they did that and what they could achieve with CrafterCMS by reading our Case Study: Penn Mutual: CrafterCMS Enables Modern Digital Experiences for Life Insurance Leader.

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Posted by Mike Vertal

Mike Vertal brings over 25 years of operational, technical and executive leadership experience to CrafterCMS. Over the course of his career, Mike has served in executive positions at leading software and services companies. Mike holds BSEE and MSEE degrees from Case Western Reserve University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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