We had the pleasure of both speaking at and attending StrapiConf this year and would love to tell you about three of our favorite talks. For those not familiar with Strapi, it’s a popular open source headless CMS with 44k stars on GitHub. Started by a group of dedicated developers in 2015, Strapi has grown into a company with 40+ employees. The conference was an opportunity to celebrate Strapi reaching the recent milestone—Version 4.x.
The conference took place over two days on March 16 & 17. Day one had two learning tracks while the second day was dedicated to workshops. The core track showcased what developers could build with Strapi, while the ecosystem track featured companies and people extending or contributing to the use of Strapi. The organizers did an amazing job hosting this virtual event, which included a perk for everyone who registered: a $10 credit for OpenCollective which they could donate to their favorite open source project.
All talks are now available on YouTube.
This new app allows you to access your Strapi Admin interface from your mobile device. Built using Flutter, it is cross platform for Android and iOS. Strapi developers are very familiar with the APIs available to access content they store in Strapi, but there are also APIs to access administration functionality. The app is a very exciting addition for the community and content creators who are on the go and need to review, update, or create content in Strapi. Saad Muhammad Mujeeb from Royal Cyber gave this informative talk including a demo—all in under 10 minutes.
Josh Penfold, founder of Goose and McQuays shared an impressive story about how they built a B2B marketplace almost entirely using the base capabilities in Strapi. The only features not supported out of the box were GraphQL and Live Chat. Initially, they explored building the marketplace from scratch using NodeJS, but they received quotes in the $300k to $400k range. As a technical founder he learned quickly and created faster with Strapi. In the end, they delivered the project for around $50k. Along the way, they received full support from the Strapi team and community. When completed, they deployed the B2B marketplace on CloudRun with a Postgres DB and integrations with GitHub, Algolia (for site search), and Balance B2B for payments (a Stripe vendor).
One of the most interesting talks was from Sebastian Rindom, CEO at Medusa, who shared how abstraction when working with ecommerce is a huge benefit for developers. Like Strapi, Medusa is open source and “headless.” He contrasted headless commerce with legacy platforms (Magento, WooCommerce, Shopify), saying the monolithic approach means key features are tightly integrated in a single application. This tight integration makes it very easy to get started, but lacks the flexibility to leverage many modern tools that specialize in one aspect of the ecommerce stack. For example, if you outgrow the inventory capabilities of your ecommerce app, plugging in an enterprise ERP may be a challenge. The APIs available in these monolithic solutions are limited and the implementation is opinionated. Lastly, he points out that monolithic ecommerce platforms want you to use their functionality and may not be aligned with building a best in class solution.
Medusa is an API-first solution and open source project that enables developers to “control everything.” They push integrations to be as generic as possible which lowers the barrier to switching technologies. Medusa never does anything that other tools do better.
There is a broad spectrum of functionality available for ecommerce stores. Individual companies are now specializing in just one piece of functionality for ecommerce, and projects like Medusa become the glue for your storefront. Medusa’s plug-in architecture is based on this idea of abstraction. For example, payment providers can dominate different regions, so merchants may want to utilize different payment services based on the customer’s region. Through abstraction, your store doesn’t care which service sits behind that abstraction. You can configure which plugins to use, and if one doesn’t exist, you have the option to introduce your own custom code to reach your objectives. Of course, if you start using Medusa and need a plugin for a CMS, look no further than the medusa-plugin-strapi.
Shameless plug for our Strapi + Lob talk. We shared information about the amount of physical mail sent in the US in 2019 (20 billion transactional and 75 billion marketing) and the importance of direct mail in reaching customers who are suffering from digital overload with over 88 emails a day.
We discussed the rise of headless CMS and its roots in the explosion of new devices like the iPhone iPad, watches, TVs, and other appliances. Original CMS systems (Wordpress, Drupal, etc.) are monolithic apps designed to display content on desktop computers. This approach left developers struggling to adapt to these new devices. Stepping back from the problem, these are simply presentation layers that our content flows into. We suggested printing is yet another presentation layer in the form of a letter or postcard.
To demonstrate our point, we built a website for a fictitious real estate company displaying information and photos of agents as well as properties for sale. We extended the website by adding a form for the real estate marketing team to use. They could select agents and properties, as well as customize the headline, fonts, and colors—then preview the postcard. All of this was powered by Strapi on the backend and Lob’s direct mail APIs.
We hope you enjoyed StrapiConf 2022, and are looking forward to seeing you next year!