- Contentful, Explained
- Prismic, Explained
- Prismic vs Contentful Feature Comparison Chart
- ButterCMS as a Welcomed Alternative
- ButterCMS vs. Prismic vs. Contentful User Comparison Chart
- Final thoughts
Contentful vs. Prismic - Which Headless CMS is Best?
Posted by Miracle Onyenma on October 4, 2023
CMSs have been an important tool for businesses, agencies, and companies for a while. Without having to start from scratch with coding, you may create, manage, and alter content on a website or mobile application using a content management system (CMS).
Businesses of all sizes utilize CMSs to create and maintain their websites, blogs, and other online applications.
While a traditional CMS unifies the presentation and content management elements, a Headless CMS enables us to separate the presentation from the content. This means that the content or information is accessible from a single location and can be supplied to any platform or device, independent of how it is presented.
Headless CMSs are getting more and more popular as a result of the benefits they provide over conventional CMSs like flexibility, seamless support and access across multiple devices, ease of use for non-developers when creating and managing content, and adaptability for developers when developing the frontend applications.
In this article, we’ll be considering two headless solutions, Contentful and Prismic, and the key factors to consider when choosing a headless CMS.
When choosing a headless CMS, the following criteria should be taken into consideration:
Speed, Performance, and Scalability: Headless CMSs improve performance by separating content from presentation, reducing server strain. Scalability is inherent, allowing seamless expansion without performance concerns.
Flexible and Extensible API: Headless CMSs provide robust APIs for content retrieval, editing, and deletion. These APIs integrate with various frontend frameworks, broadening design and development possibilities.
Management API: Headless CMSs automate content tasks via their management APIs. Creating or updating content, managing users, and permissions can be streamlined.
Flexible Content Structure Design: Headless CMSs empower adaptable content structures. Custom types, fields, and connections accommodate unique needs, fostering effective and user-friendly content organization.
Asset Storage and Management: Headless CMSs include asset storage features. Store images, videos, etc., manage them within the CMS and use the API to integrate them into your projects.
Developer-Friendly Documentation and Resources: Headless CMSs offer developer-oriented resources and documentation, aiding in ease of use. Vibrant developer communities provide assistance.
Security: Headless CMSs enhance security by separating content from the display layer, reducing potential code vulnerabilities.
Cost-Effectiveness: Headless CMSs can be more cost-effective than traditional CMSs due to reduced development and frontend framework expenses.
It’s worth noting that ButterCMS fits nicely as a great choice for your team and is a compelling option to consider. ButterCMS has garnered outstanding reviews from various user groups, including marketers, content teams, and developers on platforms like G2 Crowd. Its performance in speed, scalability, and API flexibility aligns with the criteria we've discussed. The user-friendly interface, robust management API, and developer-friendly resources make it a versatile choice.
As we delve into the comparison between Contentful and Prismic, we’ll also consider ButterCMS as a potential fit for your team, depending on your specific requirements and preferences. We'll provide a detailed analysis of these platforms to empower you with the knowledge needed to make an informed decision that aligns with your project goals and team dynamics.
Table of contents
Contentful, as described by Contentful itself, is not just a headless CMS but an API-first composable content platform. It enables businesses, whether they are large enterprises or small companies, to publish their content across various digital channels, all managed from one central hub. This means you can create, organize, and share your content on different devices and digital channels.
Contentful offers a number of pre-built templates out-of-the-box with content models and a number of third-party services to enhance workflow and user experience. It also supports collaborative content creation and management, with support for editor roles.
It's a popular option among developers due to its GraphQL and REST API support and ability to extend functionality with plugins.
Core features of Contentful
Here are a few core features of Contentful worth considering:
Content structure design: Using content categories, Contentful enables developers to create a flexible and individualized content structure.
Custom Content Types: Create original content models with particular fields.
Field Types: Various field types, including text, image, link, date, and more, are available.
Extensibility with App framework: Contentful supports frontend, backend, and custom app packages that simplify customization and integration by modifying the space.
APIs: Developers are given access to a thorough Management API by Contentful, which enables them to programmatically add, edit, and remove content along with Content Delivery API, Content Preview API, Images API, GraphQL API, and a few other specialized APIs.
Asset management and storage: Media assets, such as photos, movies, audio files, and documents, can be stored and managed with Contentful.
Version control: Versioning tools offered by Contentful enable developers to monitor and control content changes over time.
Integrations: The usefulness of Contentful is increased by the integration of numerous third-party applications and solutions.
Webhooks: Configure webhooks to launch customized actions whenever content changes.
External Services: Connect to outside services like analytics or image processing programs.
Workflows: Workflows for creating and approving content are supported by Contentful.
Content Drafts: Before publishing, give content editors time to work on drafts.
Content Review: Establish content approval procedures before it is published.
Pros of Contentful
Contentful offers a range of advantages that make it a compelling choice for businesses seeking a flexible and feature-rich content management solution, let’s take a look at just a few.
Flexibility and Customization:
You can design a CMS that is specific to your requirements thanks to Contentful's versatility. You may customize the content management system (CMS) to meet your unique demands because it lets you build custom content types, fields, and connections. Businesses with unique content requirements may find this useful.
Comprehensive APIs for Efficient Content Management:
For effective content management, Contentful provides a range of APIs, including Content Delivery, Content Management, Content Preview, Images, and GraphQL Content APIs such that it can accommodate whatever front-end technology or channel you decide on. Thus providing support for where your content is used and presented.
Developer-Friendly Documentation and Resources:
Developers may get started quickly using Contentful's documentation and resources. With tutorials, API references, and code examples, it offers thorough documentation and developer resources. For firms looking for a quick and simple way to get their engineers to use Contentful, this can be useful.
Cons of Contentful
For non-technical users, Contentful's learning curve might pose a challenge, as it can be a bit daunting to grasp initially. For example, the Contentful user interface (UI) can appear complex, especially for content editors, with its multiple levels of nesting and the difficulty of publishing a page and all its child components. To address this concern, Contentful has introduced the Compose app, a dedicated tool designed to simplify content management.
The Compose app is a separate application from the traditional Contentful UI. While it offers a more user-friendly experience for editors, there's currently no way to enforce its use, which can make adoption challenging. However, the Compose app is a valuable resource for content creators, allowing them to easily create and manage web content within structured pages. Editors can access the Compose app at https://compose.contentful.com, where they can handle content management tasks after it has been installed.
One potential drawback of Contentful is its pricing structure, which may be prohibitive for smaller organizations. While it offers a free plan, it has limitations, such as a maximum of 1 space, 5 users, 4 standard roles, and only 2 locales. For more extensive features and capabilities, users need to consider the Basic plan, which comes with a monthly cost of $300.
Furthermore, some core features, such as advanced governance features (e.g., SSO, Workflows app, orchestration), compliance and security features (e.g., dedicated infrastructure, static IP), and access to Customer Success and Professional Services, are primarily available in the Premium plan. This can significantly raise the cost for organizations that require these advanced functionalities, potentially making Contentful less accessible to smaller businesses with budget constraints.
Migration and Data Export:
Migrating data out of Contentful and transferring it to another platform can be a challenging and time-consuming process. Contentful does not provide a native migration tool, which means businesses often have to rely on third-party solutions to facilitate the migration. This can be especially cumbersome for companies with large volumes of content and complex data structures, as it requires careful planning and execution to ensure a smooth transition.
Limited Customization of Backend Logic:
The minimal amount of backend logic modification offered by Contentful might not be sufficient for some enterprises. Contentful allows you to alter how your material is presented, but you have little influence over the logic that runs the backend. This implies that you are unable to alter how Contentful saves or retrieves your material. For companies who need to modify the backend functionality to suit their unique requirements, this could be a drawback.
Content Preview Complexity:
Setting up Contentful's content preview can be difficult and time-consuming. You may view how your material will appear on various devices and browsers with Contentful's content preview feature. However, setting it up is not always easy and can be slow to implement. This is due to the fact that you must establish a preview environment and customize it to resemble your production environment.
Here’s a basic breakdown of Contentful’s pricing:
You can find more information on the Contentful pricing page.
Prismic is an API-driven headless website builder that offers a user-friendly, quick, and flexible solution to manage content across channels of your choice. It allows developers to build custom components which are shipped to the cloud-based Prismic page builder, where the content team can seamlessly build pages for websites.
Prismic allows marketing teams autonomy from developers so they can make new pages, create bespoke designs, and immediately update information, thus improving the overall performance of the team.
Core features of Prismic
Let’s take a look at a few relevant features of Prismic:
Page Builder with Developer-Defined Slices
With the help of Prismic's Page Builder tool, the content team can design and arrange the site's material dynamically while developers set up reusable content units called "slices."
Slize Zone, where you can add or rearrange slices (Source: Prismic Docs)
This cooperative method simplifies content administration and allows relevant, adaptable and aesthetically pleasing website layouts without requiring significant developer input. This allows for:
Dynamic Content Creation
Visual Content Composition
Prismic manages the infrastructure and software, enabling developers to start their projects right away. Developers may concentrate on the front end and content while letting Prismic handle server management.
Fast, comprehensive and reliable API
The Prismic API is designed for speed and ease of use. A global CDN ensures millisecond delivery of content to users everywhere. Prismic has about six different API endpoints available. The Primic Query helpers on the client provides a simple interface for straightforward integration. Below is a basic overview:
How a basic Prismic API query works. (Source: Prismic Docs)
Built-in Image Optimization
Images are automatically compressed and optimized in place via Prismic's built-in Imgix integration. During website creation, this function speeds up the process and improves SEO.
SDKs and Libraries
Pros of Prismic
Fast and Efficient Content Delivery:
The user experience is improved by Prismic's quick and effective information delivery. Through caching and CDNs, it delivers content quickly, which can improve user satisfaction, SEO, and conversion rates.
Simplified Image Management:
By facilitating simple uploads, accurate cropping, and seamless formatting, Prismic streamlines image management. This streamlined operation helps visual coherence and improves the whole process of creating content across many media.
Enhanced Developer Experience:
Prismic's user-friendly UI, API, and customizable possibilities can enhance the developer experience. This gives developers the tools they need to produce and distribute content-rich applications quickly.
Efficient Content Creation and Collaboration:
Through its user-friendly platform, real-time editing capabilities, and collaborative features, Prismic can promote effective teamwork and quicken the pace of content generation processes.
Cons of Prismic
Learning Curve for Page Builder:
Due to its capabilities, Prismic's page builder might have a steeper learning curve for some users and take more time to understand and properly use.
For example, users may need to learn how to create and configure slices, manage linked documents, and set up multi-language support. Additionally, if users want to customize Prismic's page builder, they will need to dig deep and take the time to learn about Prismic's customization options.
Rigidity of Content Models:
Prismic's custom content models, once established, can be challenging to modify, potentially limiting project flexibility.
For instance, suppose you initially design a content model for "Product" and later need to introduce a new type of product called "Bundle" with additional fields. Modifying existing content models can be complex as mentioned in the Prismic docs, and may require creating separate models for new content types, leading to workarounds and impacting information organization and display.
Dependency on Prismic Infrastructure:
The disadvantage of Prismic is that it depends so heavily on its infrastructure, which means that any service outages or adjustments could affect how easily and quickly content is delivered to customers.
As content expands, the cost structure of Prismic could become prohibitive for projects with limited resources, necessitating a thorough analysis to match price with project needs and long-term affordability. It's essential to keep in mind that Prismic follows a per-repository billing model. For example, depending on the plan, for every new repository created, additional costs will be incurred, making it crucial to plan repository usage strategically to avoid unexpected expenses. Additionally, any extra built-in CDN bandwidth consumption beyond the allocated limits incurs an extra charge of $0.10 per gigabyte. This pricing structure should be carefully evaluated to ensure it aligns with the project's requirements and budget constraints.
Limited Offline Functionality:
The limitation of Prismic's offline feature prevents content generation and editing when connectivity is lost, which may affect user productivity and their ability to access real-time changes.
You can find more information on Prismic pricing on their pricing page.
Prismic vs Contentful Feature Comparison Chart
ButterCMS as a Welcomed Alternative
When comparing Contentful and Prismic, ButterCMS can be considered the best of both worlds. It provides a good mix of adaptability and usability. It has seamless content modeling, simplifies the development and modification of content, provides Rich content APIs and supports a variety of tech stacks.
How ButterCMS stands out
ButterCMS is exceptionally user-friendly, offering a drag-and-drop interface for content creation. This simplicity is especially appealing to teams with diverse technical backgrounds, showcasing how it reduces the learning curve.
As shown in the RoleModel case study, the marketing team at RoleModel, which included non-technical members, found ButterCMS to be an ideal solution for their content management needs. The platform's intuitive interface allowed them to create and update content swiftly, eliminating the need for extensive technical involvement.
Similarly, the MDHearing's case study highlights how non-technical teams embraced ButterCMS to make content updates in a matter of seconds, not weeks. This shift greatly improved their operational efficiency and empowered their marketing department to carry out A/B testing seamlessly. These real-world examples underscore ButterCMS's commitment to user-friendliness and its ability to bridge the gap for teams with varying technical backgrounds.
Support for a wide range of technology stacks/ Tech stack breadth
ButterCMS's adaptability shines whether your project comprises conventional web development, contemporary frameworks, or even particular platforms, making it a desirable option for various development environments and lowering the need for significant alterations to match particular tech stacks.
Built-in blog engine
Unlike Contentful and Prismic, ButterCMS provides a built-in blog engine, simplifying blog creation without complex coding or external interfaces.
ButterCMS prioritizes frictionless migrations with specialized services and resources, ensuring a smooth transition without compromising content quality or structure. This distinction places ButterCMS as the best option for customers looking for a smooth transition without sacrificing the quality or structure of the material.
Enhancing Content Layouts with Drag-and-Drop Components
ButterCMS distinguishes itself with its intuitive drag-and-drop component functionality, revolutionizing content layout creation without the need for extensive coding skills.
Through ButterCMS's innovative components, users effortlessly assemble modular building blocks known as "components." These versatile elements, group-specific fields, seamlessly integrating them into pages for unmatched flexibility. Imagine effortlessly adding a "CTA Product" component to showcase products within a blog post or swiftly incorporating an "SEO" component to optimize content for search engines. This dynamic approach empowers you to address diverse content needs with ease.
ButterCMS goes further with "component pickers," enabling you to construct dynamic pages by selecting from a variety of components that can be effortlessly rearranged. This flexibility allows you to customize pages for any use case while embracing a visually-driven approach to content creation.
Built-in Version History
ButterCMS offers a comprehensive version history, making it easy to track and manage content revisions, enhancing collaboration and content governance.
Closed-sourced and fully hosted
ButterCMS is closed-source and fully hosted, ensuring security and freeing users from server infrastructure concerns.
Out-of-the-box localization support
ButterCMS provides a great solution for seamless content localization and internationalization. It simplifies the process of creating content for multiple languages and regions, making it an excellent choice for global-minded businesses.
What sets ButterCMS apart is its integration with industry-leading tools like DeepL and Crowdin. These integrations enhance the content management experience, ensuring your content connects effectively with diverse global audiences.
DeepL integration brings AI-driven language translation directly into ButterCMS, providing accurate and natural-sounding translations without the need for a separate DeepL account.
Crowdin integration streamlines the localization of digital content, supporting various formats and enabling collaborative translation and review.
ButterCMS, combined with these integrations, empowers you to effortlessly create, manage, and optimize content for global audiences. Break down language barriers and expand your reach with ButterCMS's out-of-the-box localization support.
Content Flexibility with Read & Write API:
ButterCMS's Read & Write API allows not only content access but also programmatically creating, updating, and deleting content, enhancing content workflows. Compared to Contentful and Prismic, ButterCMS stands out for its focus on bidirectional API features, which gives customers more flexibility and control when interacting with their material programmatically which can play a major role in important operations such as content migration.
Improved DX with API explorer and WYSIWYG enhancements:
ButterCMS stands out with its API explorer, which simplifies testing API endpoints and working with content programmatically. The improved WYSIWYG editor bridges the gap between content creators and developers by providing features such as Advanced Code Editor, PowerPaste and Export.
Developer-Friendly Documentation, Resources, and Knowledge Base:
ButterCMS provides extensive, developer-friendly documentation, tutorials, and a knowledge base, offering simple explanations, working code samples, and implementation instructions to aid developers in utilizing the platform effectively.
More ButterCMS features and information can be found in the ButterCMS features page.
ButterCMS vs Prismic vs Contentful User comparison chart
Here’s a comparison of each platform’s G2 ratings based on user feedback on Butter, Contentful and Prismic.
As seen in the table, Butter’s rankings are consistently higher and above or at 9.1 across every criteria.
Both platforms, Contentful and Prismic, provide effective content management solutions. Although Contentful stands out for its comprehensive APIs and developer friendliness, its steep learning curve and cost scaling should be taken into account. Prismic excels at quick content delivery and efficient picture handling, but it might feel inflexible for complicated structures and raise dependence issues.
ButterCMS provides an alternative with a user-friendly, customizable platform that supports a wide range of tech stacks, has a built-in blog engine, allows for seamless migrations, has drag-and-drop components, version history, and closed-source security. The Read & Write API prioritizes content flexibility, while the API Explorer and WYSIWYG improvements improve the development experience. Additionally, ButterCMS is a strong rival to both Contentful and Prismic thanks to its comprehensive developer documentation and resources.
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