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Awakening the hollow: A tale of eradicating the monolith

We will uncover a legend about digital transformation and eradicating monolithic CMS.
Jing Li

Jing Li

Oct 13, 2023
Eradicating the monolithic CMS

In the eerie town of Sleepy Hollow, where the whispering winds carry secrets of centuries past, a different kind of legend is about to unfold—a tale of digital transformation and the awakening of a sleepy monolithic CMS. Enter our protagonist, Ichadev Websworth, the town's enigmatic webmaster, destined to embark on a journey that will forever alter the destiny of Sleepy Hollow's online presence.

Editor's Note

Welcome to part 2 of our Halloween special edition! In case you missed it - we unweaved the homebrew spell in part 1. This time, we continue the inspiration from real world, and see how a monolithic CMS has cursed the town of Sleepy Hollow.

Happy Halloween!

#Setting the stage

Sleepy Hollow - a town that is undergoing a digital transformation, so does it’s online presence. The website needs to become more agile, adaptable, and responsive, mirroring the town’s charm while embracing modernity. The local folks from the town are a group of talented individuals from engineering, commercial, and operation background.

Sandcore - In Sleepy Hollow, the town’s website has been powered by Sandcore, a monolithic CMS for ages. It’s a relic of the past, just like the town itself, known for its old-world charm and traditions. But the digital world is evolving rapidly, and Sleepy Hollow’s website is falling behind.

Hygrinx - A mysterious headless CMS. Legend has it that Sleepy Hollow is also home to the lost “headless CMS,” a powerful but mysterious system that has been buried deep within the town’s digital backlog. Rumors swirl that this elusive CMS holds the key to unlocking unparalleled flexibility and efficiency.

Ichadev Websworth - Sleepy Hollow’s webmaster, discovers the legend of the headless CMS while researching modern web solutions (in case you didn’t get it - it’s a Dev person). Determined to revitalize the town’s online presence, he embarks on a quest to find and implement this legendary system.

Edward Contington - a townsfolk that is in charge of tellilng stories to visitors of the town (and again - Edward is a Content Editor). Edward has so many crazy and fun content ideas, but with Sandcore in charge, his talent was chained. Edward often couldn’t present content the way he wanted and had to ask help from Ichadev.


Curse: Tangled webs of maintenance mayhem

When Ichadev and his team was first building the online presence for Sleepy Hollow, the allure of a monolithic solution held promise, but as time went by, Sandcore revealed its insidious nature. It demanded an unending tribute of resources and maintenance to remain current and secure. The cost of appeasing this digital specter strained the town’s coffers and siphoned resources away from other crucial endeavors.

Sandcore wove an intricate web, binding site structure and content tightly with unbreakable threads. As the town’s web presence grew, this web became a labyrinth of complexity. The simplest changes turned into a mayhem, demanding ongoing developer support. The tightly bounded web also posed a serious security threat in Sleepy Hollow, as a single vulnerability can compromise the entire system.

Meanwhile, in the real world

The website, a popular technology and culture magazine, made a significant transition from a monolithic CMS to a more modern and flexible system as their existing CMS was becoming cumbersome to maintain and update. They moved to a more flexible and adaptable platform to keep up with the rapidly evolving web landscape.

Reverse: The headless sage relieved the burden

Here, the tale takes a sinister twist. A headless CMS–Hygrinx, emerges from the shadows, ready to exorcise the curse of maintenance.

As Ichadev delves deeper into his quest, he discovered that choosing a headless CMS is striking a bargain. As a Saas solution, Hygrinx offered to shoulder the burden of maintenance, freeing the town’s webmaster to navigate the realms of innovation. Hygrinx decoupled Sleepy Hollow website’s frontend from the backend, creating a flexible architecture that freed developers from the constraints of a monolithic structure. No longer did they need to tear apart the entire system to make a simple change. With Hygrinx, developers could focus on what they did best—innovating and building new digital experiences.

The maintenance tasks that once haunted the organization began to dissipate. With Hygrinx, updates and changes were swift and painless. The burden of dealing with an aging monolith was replaced with the excitement of innovation. IT teams found themselves unburdened, and a sense of renewed energy coursed through the organization.

Meanwhile, in the real world

Telenor, a telecom giant, once grappled with the monolithic CMS curse that burdened its digital operations. However, with the guidance of Hygraph, they embarked on a transformative journey. Hygraph provided Telenor with a headless CMS solution that allowed them to dismantle the monolith and embrace a modular, composable approach.

By adopting Hygraph's platform, Telenor was able to break down its complex monolithic infrastructure into smaller, manageable components. This modularity not only simplified their digital ecosystem but also made maintenance tasks significantly more efficient.

With the flexibility of a headless CMS, Telenor's content management became agile, enabling them to adapt swiftly to changing market demands. This partnership with Hygraph enabled Telenor to conquer the curse of endless maintenance tasks associated with monolithic systems and unlocked a new era of digital innovation and scalability.
When you work with a monolith, you become a spec writer. We needed the abstraction layer (of a database) and a UI on top of it, which would have used a large amount of development resources inhouse.
Lars-Flemming ClausenSenior Engineer at Telenor

Curse: Content edits turned into ghost hunts

Monolithic CMSs are darkened tombs of rigid architectures. In Sleepy Hollow, Sandcore wasn’t able to adapt to the shifting winds of change. To Edward, they become a nightmare.

Just like Edward, many content editors lack a technical background at Sleepy Hollow. While Ichadev offered tremendous help, Edward felt tied. Ichadev might intentionally limit controls to prevent Edward from breaking the site. However, Edward was left too little power over the content, and he had to ask Ichadev’s help even for the smallest things.

Meanwhile, in the real world

The wire processing company Komax used Sitecore to manage their content on the website. While creating challenges on the technical side, content editors also found it difficult to work with.

Komax Marketing team found the user interface not intuitive enough to locate files, and it wasn't easy to onboard new editors. Formatting was not always consistent when text was copied, requiring HTML code to be edited. As a result, Komax had a limited number of team members proficient in using the CMS. Consequently, even basic tasks like video uploads had to be outsourced to their digital agency.
When the Marketing team wanted to upload a video, they had to send it to the oddEVEN agency. OddEVEN would upload it to a platform and send it back with an ID for insertion into the previous CMS. It was very time-consuming.
Natalie WieserDigital Services Product Owner at Komax

Reverse: Crafting tales with a composable CMS

Yet, as the curse tightens its grip on the editors of Sleepy Hollow. Hygrinx understood that content should flow freely, unburdened constraints. It offered structured content capabilities, an intuitive UI, and fine-grained content relations. With Hygrinx, content creators found themselves in a realm where they could weave their tales without restraint.

The modular components of Hygrinx allowed for a dynamic, ever-evolving canvas. Content editing became a joyful, collaborative process, where creativity knew no bounds. Hygrinx's flexible nature embraced the unique needs of each storyteller, empowering them to craft narratives that resonated deeply with their audience.

With Hygrinx, Edward and his team embarked on a journey of storytelling where every word, every image, and every idea found its rightful place. The once-daunting task of content maintenance became as enchanting as weaving tales by moonlight.

Meanwhile, in the real world

Biocentury, a prominent player in the life sciences sector, sought to streamline its content management and editing processes to stay ahead in the fast-paced industry. Hygraph stepped in as a trusted ally and introduced a game-changing solution.

Hygraph's headless CMS empowered Biocentury with structured content capabilities, allowing them to efficiently organize and manage their vast repository of scientific articles, reports, and data. This structured content approach not only simplified content management but also enabled Biocentury to create dynamic, data-rich narratives effortlessly.

Moreover, Hygraph's intuitive user interface transformed the content editing experience for Biocentury's teams. The user-friendly interface made it easy for editors and authors to collaborate seamlessly, ensuring content accuracy and relevance. With Hygraph, Biocentury overcame the content editing challenges that had previously hindered their agility and time-to-market, reinforcing their position as a leading source of critical insights in the life sciences sector.
My eyes lit up at how intuitive content modeling is. Hygraph gives unlimited possibilities of what we can connect and build.
David SmilingCTO at BioCentury

Curse: Captivated by the unyielding infrastructure

Once enchanted by the allure of monolithic CMS platforms, organizations soon found themselves ensnared by their unyielding infrastructure. These systems, initially embraced for their all-encompassing solutions, turned into a curse as their rigid architecture began to reveal its limitations.

Firstly, scalability became a significant challenge. Adapting to growth or incorporating new features felt like trying to move mountains within the confines of the monolith. Integrating external tools or applications proved equally arduous, hindering innovation and limiting the organization's ability to explore new horizons.

Furthermore, maintaining performance while making even minor changes became an uphill battle. The need for specialized developers familiar with the intricacies of the monolithic infrastructure led to resource strain and escalating costs. The curse of captivation by this inflexible framework left organizations yearning for a more adaptable and dynamic solution.

Meanwhile, in the real world

streaming services. Scaling to the massive number of subscribers it has now (ca. 150m in April 2019) was simply not imaginable.

By moving to a cloud-based headless architecture, Netflix could build data centers in minutes and keep up with its user growth rate. Moreover, the new approach allowed the company to create a few dozen independent developer teams that could work on different sets of microservices within different timelines. The productivity and flexibility of development were massively increased.

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Reverse: Scale beyond boundries with a headless stack

With Hygrinx's guidance, the people of Sleepy Hollow discovered the power of a composable CMS. They could now seamlessly integrate new features and tools into their digital realm without wrestling with the unyielding monolith. Hygrinx's enchanting spells allowed organizations to tailor their CMS infrastructure to their unique needs, making them nimble and ready for any challenge.

Sleepy Hollow's web presence flourished as the curse of infrastructure woes was lifted. Hygrinx's magic enabled the kingdom to scale beyond boundaries, accommodating growth, and enhancing performance. The headless stack became a symbol of endless possibilities, freeing Ichadev and his team from the chains of rigidity and ushering in a new era of digital prosperity.

Meanwhile, in the real world

As Gennev embarked on a journey to modernize their content management system, they sought a solution that could not only keep up with their growth but also provide the flexibility they desired. They transitioned from a monolithic Sitecore CMS to Hygraph, a headless CMS. Hygraph's API-first, technology-agnostic approach allowed Gennev to build a best-of-breed tech stack that suited their preferred workflows.

With Hygraph, Gennev's content team gained the agility they desired. They could make changes to content, implement A/B testing, and run campaigns independently without developer involvement. This acceleration of content production not only reduced bounce rates but also positioned Gennev for scalable growth in the future, making Hygraph an invaluable partner in their journey toward scale and flexibility.
Hygraph was in many ways technology agnostic and it was something we really needed [...] We have not run into any limitations that would make us concerned about scaling further with Hygraph. It has been an incredibly stable and reliable platform.
Sarah RamsayVP of Technology at Gennev

Curse: When innovation finds no breathing room

As the webmaster, Ichadev often needed to help Edward with technical requests. Ichadev and his team ended up having little time left to focus on developing product for Sleepy Hollow. With the backend tightly coupled to the frontend, Edward found all kinds of hiccups.

Sandcore require version updates that incur extra effort and cost. Eventually, Ichadev was forced to decide whether they need to update the soon out-of-date solution or start over. Websites are complex with many moving parts. Sometimes they are old skeletons that are destined for the graveyard.

Meanwhile, in the real world

DTM, like many forward-thinking companies, recognized the need to embrace innovation to stay competitive in their industry. They turned to Hygraph as their trusted partner in this endeavor. Hygraph's API-first, technology-agnostic solution allowed DTM to build a tech stack that aligned perfectly with their innovative goals. It provided the flexibility needed to experiment with emerging technologies and integrate them seamlessly into their workflows.

With Hygraph's support, DTM transitioned smoothly to GraphQL content APIs, taking advantage of the performance benefits this technology offered. The Hygraph support team and the wider GraphQL community provided valuable assistance during this transition. As a result, DTM's development team experienced a significant performance boost, enabling them to innovate faster and deliver cutting-edge solutions to their audience. Hygraph became a catalyst for innovation, helping DTM stay at the forefront of their industry.
In the marketing world you have to move quickly and progress rather than taking things as the status quo.
Marvin WeilandDigital Product Owner and Marketing Manager at DTM

Reverse: Untangling backend from the frontend

But salvation beckons from the twilight abyss. Hygrinx offers a portal where editors revel in their newfound freedom, while developers are unshackled from the chains of mundane requests. The town’s innovation rekindles, its digital destiny unfurling like a phoenix from the ashes.

Meanwhile, in the real world

With the monolithic CMS in place, Samsung faced the common challenge of their development team being constantly occupied with helping editors and content managers make updates and changes to their website. This drained valuable developer resources and hindered innovation. Hygraph came to the rescue with its intuitive and flexible headless CMS.

By implementing Hygraph, Samsung liberated its developers from the day-to-day tasks of assisting content editors. The intuitive user interface and no-code schema builder allowed content teams to take control of their content without needing constant developer support. This newfound autonomy significantly reduced the workload on developers, enabling them to focus on innovation and tackling more complex challenges.
Hygraph’s out of box support for GraphQL allows our frontend developers to concentrate on building features without involving backend developers for API adjustments. They can swiftly build and test queries inside Hygraph intuitive UI which allows us to flexibly shape the content models and test the outcome almost immediately in the frontend.
Andre LangHead Of Development at Samsung

#The dawn of digital prosperity: Sleepy Hollow’s triumph with Hygrinx

Now, Sleepy Hollow can rest assured. With the headless CMS, Hygrinx, Ichadev and Edward can perform their tasks with newfound efficiency and freedom. The curse of the monolith has been lifted, and the town's digital destiny shines bright. Sleepy Hollow embarks on a new era, where innovation and creativity know no bounds, thanks to the magic of Hygrinx.


Editor's Note

This is it for this year’s Halloween Special. Did you enjoy reading it? If you haven’t got enough, or you want to talk about your own monolithic CMS horror stories to tell, reach out to our team of experts!

Blog Author

Jing Li

Jing Li

Jing is the Content Marketing Manager at Hygraph. Besides telling compelling stories, Jing enjoys dining out and catching occasional waves on the ocean.

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