Sculpture of Headless Person Holding Head

Defining Headless with WooCommerce and WordPress

You have likely heard the term headless thrown around as it has encroached on the WordPress space. Personally, I have read several posts and even listened to some talks. I was kind of getting the concept, but let’s just say I couldn’t wrap my head around it. (No pun intended.)

That was until we had Jacob Arriola on the podcast. And it finally made sense to me.

Headless is More Than the Legend of Sleepy Hollow

I’ll give you the way I understand it. Right? There’s a lot of different interpretations. We take WordPress and WooCommerce as an example that is a monolithic application, meaning it’s responsible for a lot of things. It’s your CMS, right? Your admins, your shop owners log in and add content, you’ve got media library, it’s got products, it’s got orders, et cetera. But it’s also responsible for serving the front end, the public facing side of your application. The product catalog page, the single product page, the cart page, checkout, so on and so forth. So it’s doing a lot of things.

And so when you talk about headless, the head really represents that view layer, that UI layer, that public facing layer. When we talk about what is headless, we kind of cut off the head or we decouple the UI, now WordPress, is no longer responsible for delivering the front end of the application. It’s only responsible for being the CMS, which it’s really, really good at, right? And then in the WooCommerce case, all the logic regarding ecommerce variations, orders, all that stuff, database facilitation, payment gateways, things like that.

And so now you are now responsible for building UI in a different kind of context, whether that’s a different domain, a whole different framework, whatever the case may be, right? So we separate that out the head, the view layer, the UI, what’s publicly available.

Diving into headless

Now that clearly should give you a better idea if you had been confused before. Of course that is only the tip of the iceberg and you may want to listen to the podcast as Jacob takes even deeper into the world of headless and WoCommerce.

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