When it comes to content management systems, one can’t undermine the significance of Strapi. An open-source platform, Strapi is really powerful and has a lot of advantages. But like with any other system, it also has some disadvantages.
In this blog, we will discuss the pros and cons of using Strapi for your next project.
What is Strapi?
Strapi is a headless CMS that allows you to build an API without any backend or database knowledge. You can create your first Strapi-powered application in only five minutes, thanks to its intuitive dashboard. The system automatically generates APIs based on content models, which makes it easier to expose the data stored in the CMS. In other words, it’s the perfect tool to build a custom headless content management system for your next project.
Pros of Using Strapi
There are many reasons why you should use Strapi as your headless CMS, such as:
1. Flexible and Easy to Use
Thanks to its intuitive dashboard, it’s really easy to get started with Strapi. Plus, it’s completely customizable, thanks to plugins. Strapi is out of the box, but it can be adapted to your needs, thanks to plugins.
You don’t have WordPress skills? No problem! Strapi has a built-in ORM that allows you to build simple or complex content types without writing code. But if you are looking for more complex features, you can automate everything using node scripts.
Even for backend developers, Strapi provides an easy and flexible framework with the possibility of integrating third-party libraries like Koa and AngularJS 4.
If you want to build a more complex project, Strapi will really come in handy. You can customize it and add your own features using its modular architecture. This makes the system highly flexible and adaptable to any project.
2. Scalable and Fast
Because of its modular architecture, Strapi is easy to scale and can handle a high volume of traffic. Every feature or plugin can be used separately, and you only need the ones that apply to your project. Also, if you decide to host your application on a PaaS, you can scale up or down at any time.
In terms of performance, it’s really fast because it only generates the code that the client is requesting. Also, thanks to its integration with Koa and Joi, data validation is really quick.
In addition to that, Strapi also has an automatic brown-field feature that prevents developers from writing unused code. This way, they can focus more on building complex features without worrying about wasting computing resources.
3. Seamless Integration with NodeJS servers
Let’s admit it: Node.js is one of the most popular programming languages nowadays. If you are developing in node, Strapi will be perfect for your next project because it supports both Express and Koa.
It’s not only the most popular Node framework, but it also fully supports ES6/7 to build scalable and dynamic applications. If you want to use another framework, Strapi also provides an adapter that allows you to integrate your project with any third-party library.
If it’s not enough for you, you can start building your application in React or Angular 2 using their own adapters. You won’t even need to restart strapi because the change will be applied immediately.
4. It’s Free & Open-Source
Strapi is not only free to use, but you can also contribute on GitHub. You can even fork the code and adapt to or improve it for your own needs.
You will not waste time trying to find an alternative, and everything is available right on your dashboard. It’s released under the MIT license, so it’s perfect for any type of project. And don’t worry about licenses or updates. Strapi always provides the latest version of Node.js, which means that you won’t have compatibility issues.
As an open-source project, it also has a great community of developers who support each other in order to improve the platform and make it even more powerful.
5. Powerful Architecture
If you want to learn how to create APIs, using Strapi is a great idea. This framework has a robust architecture that provides everything needed for building an API that can be easily exposed and consumed by your frontend application.
All the power provided by Strapi comes from its modular architecture. All plugins are installed via npm, and this makes them really easy to set up. Each module also follows the standards of Node.js and is designed to be fully integrated into any server or framework.
Strapi can handle many types of requests: POST, GET, DELETE, PUT, and OPTIONS. This way, you won’t have performance issues if you need to develop APIs or RESTful services. It also includes an admin section for managing content through a powerful UI which reduces development time significantly.
6. Built-in Authentication System
Strapi provides an authentication system that can be easily customized to your needs. You can create several types of users and groups and control the permissions using different strategies like ACL, Basic Authentication, JWT, or OAuth 2.0.
To simplify this process, Strapi enables you to manage all users and rights from a single table, which makes it very useful for backend developers who need to change access privileges on the go constantly.
On top of that, it supports all popular databases like MySQL and PostgreSQL, so you won’t have any problems storing user credentials.
7. API Docs & Scraping Tool
Strapi provides a really useful tool to document your API endpoints – the Strapi Explorer. Through its interface, you can easily modify your data model and set up the required actions for each endpoint. Also, it enables developers to create new APIs from existing ones or export them as an OpenAPI v3 specification.
If you need more documentation for your API, there’s a built-in documentation generator that generates beautiful Swagger pages on the fly. It just takes a minute to set up, and it will greatly improve your developer experience.
But that’s not all: You can also easily export data from your database into JSON or XML files thanks to its Scrape tool. This way, you can create cached lists of restaurants or products for faster loading on the user’s side. And scraping is accurate and very quick since it uses virtualization techniques like the V8 engine.
8. Plugins At Your Disposal
Strapi not only has a great community but also provides an amazing set of plugins that can be easily installed on your new or existing application. For instance, you can install guides or error pages to improve the development process or create REST API endpoints for authentication with OAuth providers like Facebook or Twitter. Or even more, there are some interesting plugins like Google Analytics integration, LDAP support, and Swagger integrations that make Strapi stand out from other CMS platforms.
You will always find what you need since people are constantly creating new plugins to extend Strapi functionality. You can even build your own custom plugin in just a few minutes.
Cons of Using Strapi
Just like many other things in life, nothing is perfect. Strapi is not an exception, and it also has some disadvantages:
1. Migrating Existing APIs is Not Straightforward
If you already have an existing backend system in place (like WordPress), migrating it into Strapi will take some time if you are looking for a perfect 100% match. For example, Strapi doesn’t have native support for WP-CRM, so you will need to implement it manually in the background.
This is where frameworks like Kirby or Craft are easier to work with since they are more traditional CMS platforms with the same workflow as WordPress. They come pre-packaged out of the box with everything that is needed to manage content, and they only provide an API on top of it.
Additionally, if you already have a solid knowledge of REST APIs, using Strapi shouldn’t be too hard, but migrating existing endpoints into Strapi can be tricky. That’s why most people use Strapi when from scratch instead of trying to migrate something.
2. Limited TypeScript Support
TypeScript is a revolutionary technology, but unfortunately, Strapi doesn’t support it out of the box.
If you are an advanced user with a large or complex project, you might find that your experience is limited by this missing feature. However, a plugin in npm repositories can add it back in just a few minutes.
If you need Typescript support in strapi, just install this package from npmjs and restart your application. You can also create your own plugin for any type of language if needed since the source code is available online.
3. Strapi is not fully open source
Strapi is free to use and open source but not 100%
As you know, Strapi is released under the MIT license, which means that anyone can use it for free. And if they want to include it in a closed source project, they are also allowed to do so.
However, there’s a Pro version of Strapi, which has more advanced features like custom plugins support or premium support from their team with priority email access. You can upgrade your account at any time through the web interface if needed.
4. Frequent Updates
Strapi is a rapidly growing tool, so be prepared to deal with frequent updates.
Strapi provides weekly updates on its stable version, which means that you need to keep an eye if you don’t want your platform to suddenly break. This is normal for most open-source tools these days but still painful for developers who love using stable software.
Strapi is a great tool for creating modern, fast APIs with real-time updates. It’s free to use under the MIT license with no limitation whatsoever, which is very hard to find in today’s marketplace.
If you are looking for a headless CMS built specifically for Node.js with integration, LDAP support, and Swagger integrations, this tool might be perfect for your needs.
But if you want something more traditional that provides an API on top of existing data, then strapi might not be what you are looking for right now. You can still give it a try with their free version, though. With its easy setup process and solid documentation, you might still find that it’s exactly what you need.