DPG Media, one of the largest media companies in the Benelux region, owns and manages over 35 independent news media brands in Belgium and the Netherlands. With the rise of digital media and need for highly performant stacks across their various brands, DPG Media looked to our partners at DotControl to Implement various eCommerce instances and digital upgrades across their 35 brands.
Initially, the project was built on a monolith architecture; however, as the sites continued to grow, it became clear that the projects were not as scalable as they had been in the past. Because of this, the DotControl team began to evaluate other approaches to building scalable eCommerce sites for multiple brands under the DPG Media umbrella.
The DotControl team began to search for an implementation that would enable them to include elements of a modern, modular, approach using MACH principles. The team hoped to adopt a stack that would scale with them for years to come and be flexible enough to adapt as their needs changed over time. With a microservice-led architecture, DotControl knew that their stack could include all of the functionality they needed without the extra weight of systems that were not relevant to their use case.
After evaluating several headless systems to serve as their core for marketing content, it was clear that the team needed a system that enabled more flexible content modeling, a powerful GraphQL driven API, efficient workflows, multi-brand project management, and strong customer support.
In order to build the final applications with Next.JS, the team needed a federated content stack that enabled flexibility while ensuring the data was always up to date. After initial testing, it became clear that Hygraph would be a good fit for their new MACH-led architecture. From then on, DotControl began migrating the content of the 35 brands to the new architecture. The massive content migration to the new architecture took around 3-4 months. Their new approach has Hygraph working hand in hand with a headless commerce solution giving content teams more flexibility and control on their content.
The DotControl and DPG Media team chose Hygraph for the following reasons.
DPG Media manages the sites of over 35 individual brands. While many of the sites had similar basic requirements, each brand has specific needs and components to bring about their individual experiences. With Hygraph, DotControl was able to create a foundation that could be duplicated and adapted to meet the needs of each individual brand.
The DotControl team had previous experience with GraphQL and wanted to adopt the technology more broadly in their stack. Hygraph’s GraphQL APIs improve the developer experience, and when paired with the powerful API Playground, the DotControl team could quickly model content and create a MACH compliant architecture.
GraphQL Union Types
GraphQL Union Types enable the Content team to customize the structure of their landing pages without requiring the Development team to model new pages. This gives the Content teams more flexibility to work independently and efficiently while still creating pages that work seamlessly. GraphQL Union Types hit the sweet spot of providing flexibility without complicating the workflow and make it easy for anyone in the Content team to feel empowered to publish new content without fear of breaking other elements of the site.
With the previous Monolith implementation, the Content team relied on the Development team to publish new changes to the content – whereas now they work in parallel using agile methodologies. The Development team creates a flexible content model structure and from there the Content team has full control over the final outcome of the pages. What used to take weeks to model a new content page can now be done in a single day with the page going live soon after.
Being a federated content platform, Hygraph easily integrates with external systems. The DotControl team was able to set up the syncing mechanism between Hygraph and the existing DotControl PIM quickly and seamlessly. As the project continues to grow, DotControl knows that bringing in external data to Hygraph is straightforward and manageable.
The Current Setup
DotControl built the DPG Media project with a fully MACH-compliant architecture. The project uses a custom headless eCommerce platform to handle the eCommerce functionality and Next.js as the frontend framework. Services like Algolia provide additional functionality and contribute to building an intuitive user experience. By focusing on best-of-breed services, the team built a project that was scalable for the future without compromising on performance.
Results and Benefits
- Onboarding of both the Development and Content teams was very easy and straightforward with it only taking about a day to feel comfortable with the new system.
- Data Synchronization mechanism between Hygraph and the custom headless commerce platform meant that content was always up to date
- API Playground made it easy for the development team to work quickly and contributes to an overall better Developer Experience
- More efficient workflows for the Content team who now has full control over the Marketing content and is empowered to create more marketing campaigns
- Creating new content pages and deploying them can all be done in a matter of a few days.
- Hygraph strikes the balance of enabling the teams to reuse elements of their backend stacks and have consistency across the tooling while allowing individual brands to scale at their own pace