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Digital experience platforms: the old versus the new

Published on

  • architecture
  • dxp
  • composable
  • webdev

Digital experience platforms (DXPs) and the more modern digital experience composition platforms (DXCPs) share the same goal of making it easier for business users to create visually dynamic, personalized digital experiences. A major contrast is that DXCPs orchestrate solutions and technologies from different vendors. On the other hand, even though DXPs call themselves composable, they lock brands into a single vendor and one way of doing things at the expense of other capabilities.

To help brands decide whether to switch from a DXP to a DXCP, we explain below their key differences. More details are available in this video created by Headless Creator.

DXCPs are far more cloud native

A major disadvantage of DXPs is that their foundation is a content management system (CMS), which contains integrated add-ons or bolted-on tools along with such platforms as a digital asset management (DAM) and a product information management (PIM) system. Consequently, developers must manually apply updates, manage the hosting, customize the platform, and scale up the hosting to accommodate traffic spikes, such as those that occur around busy shopping days like Black Friday in the U.S. and Europe. The alternative is to hire the vendor to do all that at an additional cost.

Conversely, DXCPs and the headless tools they manage are all hosted in the cloud and cloud native, which means that updates can not only occur automatically, but also scale elastically as demand rises and falls. Also, since DXCPs are tech agnostic and API-first, business users can work with multiple tools there. They can do that in DXPs, too, but only to a limited extent, let alone that in venturing outside that vendor’s proverbial walled garden, they give up features and capabilities.

DXCPs are more than a data aggregator

Uniform views DXCPs as a way for brands and their developers to select advanced, API-first vendors and loosely couple those vendors’ tools together. Furthermore, thanks to DXCPs’ tooling, business users can work across the many integrated tools in a holistic, unified workflow. 

Additionally:

  • DXCPs are more than a data aggregator. Even though effective tools are available for stitching APIs into a cohesive model for access and use by developers, those tools do not deftly manage experiences as DXCPs do. After all, API aggregators are meant for access by developers through code only, not for business users, whose expertise rests with a low- or no-code editing environment, in which DXCPs also specialize. 
  • DXCPs are different from a CMS because, unlike a CMS that requires that all content be routed through it for a tight coupling of technology, they keep content and data sources on a level playing field and maintain the loose coupling so that you can replace and add capabilities as necessary with no technology lock-in. 

In short, the entire focus of DXCPs is to accord teams freedom to collaborate smoothly, and for brands to switch tools without impacting the way other tools work and the overall web experience.

DXCP protects domain data

When building webpages or experiences, developers need two types of data:

  • Domain data, which is core material, such as product models, that defines your brand across channels. For an events website, this data contains the names of the event spaces provided by your company, the dates, and the procedure for registration.
  • Design data, which is volatile, channel-specific material, such as your site’s colors and the way in which you can edit the display of week-by-week information. For an events website, for example, you can change page design or spotlight a feature with volatile data.

In DXPs, both domain data and design data reside in the same CMS, potentially leading to a messy situation and a polluted content model. In DXCPs, the design data and domain data are separate, providing clean data workflows for innovation efforts and more system longevity.

Uniform DXCP readily facilitates transitioning from the old

The primary function of composable frameworks like DXCPs is to enable both developers and business users to work seamlessly together, doing what they do best by leveraging the headless solutions that support them best. Composability also unlocks the potential of creating state-of-the-art, future-forward web experiences.

Originally published at: https://uniform.dev/blogs/digital-experience-composition-dxc/difference-between-dxp-and-dxcp