Why you should migrate your Sitecore solution Headless

Group of web developers working in an office.

As a .NET Sitecore developer I cannot say I was excited about this… In a former life I was a front-end developer, but that was so long ago it may as well never happened. However, as I brush the cobwebs off my ‘old’ and learn this new tech I am 100% onboard with this change and I will explain why.  


1.) It is Fast. Like super fast 

As back-end developers we tend to forget about the end user experience. Remember when load times were a big deal? As connection speeds got fast, payloads got huge and we spend less time optimizing delivery because the difference between 1 and 2 seconds is nothing to write home about. However, there is a HUGE difference between <.5 and 1 second. It appears to be instant. Click poof it’s there. What happens when that is the industry standard? You can’t do it with the traditional CD setup and round trips to your SQL server with modern payloads. It’s too slow.  

Sitecore - Understanding Development Approaches: A Sitecore Outlook
Understanding Development Approaches: A Sitecore Outlook

Designing, building, and implementing top-notch experiences not only requires a great deal of planning, strategy, and time – it also requires the right digital experience platform (DXP) and the right development approach for your business needs.

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So how do you do it then? Easy, you just pre-render your entire website as static files and cache the heck out of it and if there is dynamic content you fetch it from a globally distributed network edge service. With the scale of content we are used to serving in a Sitecore environment this quickly becomes a complicated engineering problem. How do you updates, dynamic content, location, personalization, etc… Fortunately, there are tools to help including Next.js, Vercel and Sitecore’s Experience Edge 


2.) It is totally Modular dude…  

One of the most exciting new products that Sitecore will be releasing this year is the SaaS offering Sitecore XM Cloud. Gone are the days of dizzying Sitecore upgrades and automated upgrades has finally arrived. There is, however, one pretty big compromise of the new SaaS architecture- it will not support .NET MVC. I will pause for a minute while you work out for yourself that will mean in order to use Sitecore XM Cloud you will need to convert your site to headless architecture first. 

I am trying to avoid the “Composable DXP” buzzword here but am going to keep repeating “Composable DXP” in this paragraph because marketing likes SEO optimization. But buzzword bingo aside, “Composable DXP” in the Sitecore space is here to stay and if you want a truly flexible “Composable DXP” using the Sitecore Digital Experience Platform™ then you will need a “Composable DXP” front-end that is well “Composable”…     


3.) It is Scalable.   

This setup is built for the cloud and localized content delivery networks around the world. Since we are reducing the number of round trips to the database and pre-rendering static content it makes delivery at scale a breeze. Sitecore Experience Edge is a content delivery network built into CloudFlare that will distribute your Sitecore content across any platform in any region at scale on any platform. With a headless setup using Next.js, Vercel, and Sitecore Experience Edge you might be asking yourself why do I even need a Content Delivery server? 

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Mike Congdon

Mike is a full-stack engineer with 16 years of experience as a developer and technical lead on several major Sitecore implementations. Mike was Sitecore Certified in 2012 as a Professional Developer and Systems administration on Sitecore 6.2 and has remained current in all major releases since. Previously a front-end developer at leading Sitecore partners and advertising agencies with a background in design.

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