Content Management Systems have been around for quite long. People have used it for managing websites from simple portfolio purpose to eCommerce solutions. Some of the popular CMS solutions being used these days are: WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.
Though these CMS solutions are very effective for managing web content, they are not that effective for managing content for Mobile Apps. The obvious reason for this is that they were not developed with that thought in mind. When they came into existence, mobile apps were not as popular as they are now-a-days.
In order to help the developers and content publishers work with this paradigm shift of internet towards mobile applications, a number of CMS solutions have come up which target this particular use case. These solutions put API first, thus helping you build a strong basis for your mobile app front-end. Managing content for mobile apps and pushing updates has become extremely easy with these so called, Headless CMS. Headless because they don’t put emphasis on UI but rather content, which remains on server. Again, these CMS solutions are not just limited to Mobile Apps, but any other front-end which can consume APIs. So, it also serves as a platform to generate APIs and Endpoints quickly.
On researching on through internet for some of the popular such Headless CMS Solutions, I came up with a list of 5 such API first CMS systems which are extremely user friendly and provide great performance. The learning curve is not too steep and one can get up and running within few days.
Contentful is a hosted solution where you can start with the FREE (https://www.contentful.com/pricing/) version which offers enough area for you to play with and generate APIs to connect to the front-end of your choice.
Prismic is another such solution which is hosted as well. Again, one can start with the FREE (https://prismic.io/pricing) version which offers pretty much everything you would need for a basic back-end setup for your mobile app.
ContentStack comes from built.io, which are one of the leaders in infrastructure and back-end solutions. ContentStack is more enterprise oriented with scalability and security in mind. The costing is on a higher side but it is majorly due to the fact that it targets big customers.
Directus differs from other as it is completely Open Source (https://github.com/directus/directus). One can run their own server and have this setup. But if you are looking for getting a managed and hosted service, without taking the headache of setting up your own servers, you can consider their Paid offerings (http://getdirectus.com/pricing).
A Microsoft .Net and MongoDB based open source CMS that came out recently. This CMS promises to be high on performance with MongoDB and Redis in the back-end. It is available to download and setup on your system or one can go with the paid Cloud or Managed offerings.
Headless CMS for WordPress Lovers
If you are someone who has been using WordPress since quite a while now and have been accustomed to its publishing and managing side, you shall check this link- https://2016.sydney.wordcamp.org/session/using-wordpress-as-a-headless-cms/. This is a good article explaining how one can use WordPress REST API to use it as a Headless CMS. This approach is also useful in case one has a website already being managed via WordPress and wants the same back-end to manage mobile app as well.