Acquia Decoupled Platform

decoupled1.2.pngDeveloping single page applications? Mobile applications? Signage applications? You are developing digital applications, not websites.  Digital applications with a decoupled architecture to implement independent front-end applications and back-end services with standard APIs.

Here’s a collection of links to the key frameworks, API's, and services to get started building with an Acquia API-first digital application reference guide stack:



React is an open-source JavaScript library developed by Facebook that uses server-side rendering and the Virtual DOM to provide a performance-oriented solution for building user interfaces.

Purpose in digital app stack:  
React core strengths revolve around its intent as a presentation layer library, so it can be leveraged to create rich and interactive application which utilize external data. This data can originate from multiple API sources, while React can combine and present these data models seamlessly. 


AngularJS is a structural framework for dynamic web apps. It lets you use HTML as your template language and lets you extend HTML's syntax to express your application's components clearly and succinctly.

Purpose in digital app stack:  
AngularJS features strengths of both the MVC and MVVM patterns, which are intended to scale for enterprise builds. AngularJS can integrate scalable solutions which require complex model constructs; while leaning on its two-way binding in the presentation layer for a consistent workflow.


Ember.js is an open-source JavaScript web framework, based on the MVVM pattern. It allows developers to create Single Page Applications by incorporating common idioms and best practices into the framework.

Purpose in digital app stack:  
Ember offers many possibilities around creating modern applications based on scalable features as a popular web framework. Ember provides rapid methods to create RESTful apps, or ingest external API datasets to feature in various user interface components for applications.

APIs and SDKs

Purpose in digital app stack: APIs and SDKs provide methods for creating and using tools for building modern applications using internal and external sources. An API (application programming interface) is typically used to provide data from a system, with the intent of using or manipulating the data for broad reasons. A SDK (software development kit) offers various development tools for utilization of an API for development.

DOC: API-first Drupal
DOC: Drupal GraphQL API
DOC: Drupal RESTful API
BLOG: Waterwheel SDK
GITHUB: Get Waterwheel

Content Management Services

API-first Drupal CMS

API-first Drupal means making the data stored and managed by Drupal available for other software. It allows for:

  • new types of integration (not defined in Drupal)
  • full decoupling (headless)
  • progressive decoupling (e.g. the overall page is still served by Drupal, but certain parts of the page provide highly interactive, JS-driven/enhanced interactions, which need to get certain data, which they can via REST)

DOC: Drupal 8 Web Services
DOC: Drupal Restful Web Services Modules

Fully Decoupled CMS (Headless)

Headless Lightning is a sub-profile of Lightning that includes all of the same features, but additionally provides a simplified administrative interface designed especially for decoupled sites, as well as editorial teams who might not be as comfortable with Drupal’s administrative patterns.

BLOG: Headless Lightning
BLOG:  Using the Content API
GITHUB: Get Acquia Headless Lightning

Progressive Decoupled CMS


Lightning is a Drupal distribution that curates the best Drupal modules and patches to provide a great experience for editorial teams and developers out of the box. For developing decoupled apps, it’s most useful because it provides a preconfigured Content API feature, which automatically exposes a JSON-based REST API for content types, fields, media, and other entities.

DOC: Drupal Lightning Distribution
Acquia Lightning

Personalization and Intelligence Services

Content profiling and intelligence services

Acquia Lift lets you track customers' behavior throughout their buying journey — from anonymous visitor to loyal, repeat customer. Acquia Lift unifies customer content and profile data from multiple sources to deliver in-context, personalized experiences across any channel or device.

Acquia Lift includes several interfaces that you can use to interact with stored visitor data. These interfaces are exposed as APIs that you can use to both import and export data from the Acquia Lift service.

DOC: Acquia Lift APIs

Content distribution and syndication services

Content Hub, a component of Acquia Lift, is a cloud-based, centralized content distribution and syndication solution that provides you with the ability to share and enrich content throughout a network of content sources (including Drupal websites) with extensible, open APIs. It is a high-performance, scalable offering that connects content bi-directionally across multiple systems. It enables enterprises that operate many digital properties the ability to effectively publish, reuse, and syndicate content across a variety of content sources and publishing channels.

DOC: Acquia Content Hub APIs

Cloud Services

Application Services

Acquia Cloud is a native cloud platform-as-a-service for developing, delivering, and managing digital applications and sites build with Drupal and Node.js application services.

DOC: Node.js and Acquia Cloud
DOC: Acquia Cloud

Development Services

Acquia Cloud CD and CDE provide developer, tester, and devops teams a continuous delivery and deployment cloud service to quickly automate the process of building and testing versions of code and applications using pipeline orchestration and production-like environments.

DOC: Acquia Cloud CD
DOC: Acquia Cloud CDE

More Links

Information about decoupled Drupal

Acquia Headless Lightning

Acquia Decoupled Platform Blogs

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About the Decoupled Starter Kit

The Professional Services team at Acquia is thrilled to announce the first release of the Acquia Decoupled Starter Kit for React.

Perhaps the most critical piece of any decoupled CMS architecture is the API layer which exposes data in the back end for consumption by other applications.

With its flurry of sessions, events, concerts, and exhibitors, it's a wonder anyone gets any sleep at SXSW, the giant gathering of minds, auteurs, and performers in the capital of Texas.

If you have decided to decouple Drupal, after conducting due diligence with regard to assessing the

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According to the Stack Overflow 2017 Developer Survey, the most loved development framework is React, and the most wanted is

At no point in the history of digital content has there ever been such a dizzying proliferation of devices in our lives, and experiences we encounter and consume.

Developing single page applications? Mobile applications? Signage applications? You are developing digital applications, not websites.

Decoupled applications are increasing in popularity as brand experiences continue to move beyond the traditional website.

This is part one of a four part series on Acquia Cloud Site Factory and Acquia Lift.

Progressive decoupling, a concept outlined last year in Dries Buytaert’s first post about decoupled Drupal, is a compelling approach