DatoCMS Glossary

A comprehensive guide to terms and terminology related to DatoCMS and Headless CMS that you may encounter when using our product, reading our docs, or getting started with headless content management
A
AMP

AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, a technology that creates stripped-down versions of web pages to load blazingly fast on mobile devices. It's all about speed and optimizing for mobile browsing, ensuring users get information swiftly and smoothly.

API

API, short for Application Programming Interface, allows different software applications to communicate and interact with each other. It's a set of rules and protocols that enables one piece of software to access and use the services or data provided by another, making it possible for apps, websites, or systems to work together seamlessly. It's the behind-the-scenes magic that helps diverse technologies play nice and collaborate effectively.

API Tokens

API tokens are like VIP passes granting users or services access to interact with an API. They're unique keys or strings of characters that serve as authentication—think of them as digital IDs. It's a secure way to verify their identity and permissions, allowing them to make requests and receive responses from the API without compromising sensitive information that they shouldn't have access to.

Asset

An asset is a file within DatoCMS - this can include images, audio files, videos, and other documents. Dato's Media Area is where you interact with your assets to add, organize, localize, and manage them. DatoCMS also offers an inbuilt image editor and asset metadata manager to make it easier for content editors to work with assets.

Audit Logs

Audit logs keep track of every action and event happening within DatoCMS. They capture a chronological record of all actions within a project, helping to track changes, identify issues, and ensure security by providing a trail of actions taken by users or processes.

B
Blocks

Blocks are unique to DatoCMS, allowing to define complex and repeatable structures that can be embedded inside records. Blocks can be embedded into Structured Text and Modular Content fields to create highly customized and dynamic layouts.

Build Triggers

Build triggers are action starters in the world of continuous integration and deployment. They're events or conditions that kick off the process of building, testing, and deploying software or websites. DatoCMS natively offers integrations to set up deploy triggers to Netlify, Vercel, Travis CI, GitlabCI, and CircleCI.

C
CDA Playground

The Content Delivery API playground is where you can test your queries against DatoCMS's GraphQPI API before moving them into your repo. With inbuilt docs and a GraphQL explorer for all your content records, the CDA playground ensures that your queries are interacting with the right content in a sandbox environment before you query your project on production.

CDN

A CDN, or Content Delivery Network is a global network of serversto store and deliver web content like images, videos, and web pages from multiple locations worldwide. When you access a website using a CDN, it serves you data from the server closest to your location. This speed boost reduces load times and ensures a smoother browsing experience for users across the globe.

CMS

A CMS, or Content Management System, is the control center for your content for websites, eCommerce stores, knowledge bases, and other digital platforms. It's a software that allows creating, editing, organizing, and publishing digital content.

Collaboration

DatoCMS's collaboration tools let manage teamwork and ensure that no data is lost when switching between users. With features like Content Stages, Presence Indicators, Record Locking, Workflows, and more, DatoCMS encourages teams to work together without losing time and effort on manual back-and-forth on creating content.

Composable

"Composable" software is a growing approach to companies building their ideal tech stacks using modular APIs and microservies rather than buying all-in-one suites. Related to the MACH (Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless) approach, going composable allows companies to work with software that's flexible, scalable, and efficient to their particular business needs.

Content Delivery API

The Content Delivery API, or CDA, is used to retrieve content from your DatoCMS projects and deliver it to your web or mobile projects. Our CDA is written in GraphQL, and all content is served via a robust CDN with multiple datacenters around the world to ensure minimal latency.

Content Management API

The Content Management API, or CMA, is used to manage the content of your DatoCMS projects. This includes creating, updating, deleting, and fetching content of your projects, featuring 40+ resources and 150+ endpoints.

Content Modeling

Content modeling is the process of designing the skeleton for your website's content. It involves defining the various content types, their attributes, relationships, and how they'll be organized.

D
DXP

A DXP, or a Digital Experience Platform, is a category of software aiming to tackle the primary goal of perfecting the customer experience, or CX. DXPs can be a full suite, or a composable stack of complementary APIs brought together to create a modular DXP.

E
Environments

Environments are like different playgrounds for testing and deploying changes to the schema within the CMS. The primary environment is for editors to author records. Ideally, developers should not make changes to its schema directly, but fork it, test the changes on sandbox environments, and then merge the changes via migration scripts.

F
Field Type

Each content model consists of multiple field types - within DatoCMS the fields available are Single-line strings, Multiple-paragraph text, Modular content, Structured text, Asset galleries, Single assets, Videos, Date and DateTime, Integers, Booleans, Geolocations, Colors, SEO meta tags, Slugs, Links (relations), and JSON.

Field Validation

Validations are a strong tool to enforce content structure and integrity by enforcing certain restrictions on what content can be created. This can be something as simple as ensuing entries are localized, to something more complex like having a rule for content entries to match a specific regex pattern. Each field type in DatoCMS offers varied applicable validations.

G
GraphQL

GraphQL is a modern query language and a runtime for APIs, widely seen as a successor to REST APIs. It's built around the concept of "getting exactly what you asked for", without any under fetching or over fetching of data. GraphQL also makes it easier to aggregate data from multiple sources, allowing you to source from multiple locations within a single query, rather than fiddling with several endpoints.

H
Headless CMS

A headless CMS is a backend-only CMS that provides an API to make content accessible to any platform or digital channel. Unlike a traditional CMS such as WordPress or Drupal, a headless CMS does not dictate where or how content is shown - but rather requires teams to build their own custom frontend (or presentation layers) using their preferred frameworks like React, Angular, and Vue.

History Retention

DatoCMS retains all content history changes for a specific amount of time, to refer back to as required when making changes or reverting content to a previous state. The content retention period is defined by which plan you're on.

I
i10n

i10n is shorthand for Localization. It's all about making your software or content accessible and adaptable to different languages and regions. It involves designing your system to easily accommodate different languages, date formats, currencies, and cultural preferences without altering the core functionality.

Images API

The Images API within DatoCMS is built upon Imgix, providing a best-in-class API for image processing along with a global image CDN. The Images API allows for powerful features out of the box, such as asset localization, image editing, watermarketing, and image optimization.

J
Jamstack

Coined by Netlify, Jamstack is a modern approach for building websites or web apps. It stands for JavaScript, APIs, and Markup. Instead of relying on traditional server-side rendering, it pre-builds the website and serves it through a CDN as flattened HTML. This approach boosts speed, security, and scalability by separating the front-end presentation from the back-end.

L
Links

Links, also referred to as Relations or References, are bi-directional links between multiple content records and types. A common use case could be seeing which blog posts are related to a single author, or which landing pages match a certain category.

M
MACH

MACH stands for Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless—a set of principles shaping modern digital architectures. As a modern approach to composable enterprise software strategy based on smaller solutions that seamlessly integrate with one another, it is a base for a modern enterprise approach to keep their stack pluggable, scalable, and replaceable.

Maintenance Mode

Activating maintenance mode in DatoCMS means making the primary environment read-only. This is particualrly useful when larger changes need to be made to the primary environment (schema migrations from sandbox environments, etc.), in order to ensure no content changes or updates are done to the CMS project until the operation is complete.

Media Area

The Media Area is where you interact with all your files and assets in DatoCMS. DatoCMS accepts all formats for images, videos, audio, and documents, making it simpler to manage all your content from a single place. Aside from Digital Asset Management (DAM), DatoCMS also allows plugins into the media area such as Unsplash for stock images, or Dall-E for AI image generation.

Migrations

DatoCMS allows you to programmatically add models and records using migrations, either via writing scripts manually, or by having the DatoCMS CLI automatically generate migrations for you.

Modular Content

Modular content fields are used to define dynamic areas for customized page layouts, rather than restricting content editors to use rigid templates. For example, when building a blog post, the content editor can add blocks such as CTAs, quotes, or videos into the article depending on which blocks are accepted into the article field.

O
Organization

Projects on DatoCMS can be tied to an organization. Particularly useful for teams or agencies handling multiple projects or clients, an organization allows for better visibility and shared ownership between DatoCMS projects. Similar to personal accounts, organizations can also upgrade to paid plans and manage billing information.

P
Per-locale Publishing

Per-locale publishing involves releasing or making content available based on specific regions or languages. Content is published or displayed selectively, targeting particular locales or language groups. This approach ensures that the right content reaches the right users in their preferred language or region, without making unnecessary changes to all content unintentionally.

Plugins

Plugins allow you to easily expand and customize the capabilities of DatoCMS. With popular plugins for services like SEO readability, cloud deployments, computed fields, Shopify products, and more, plugins are React applications communicating with your DatoCMS project to enable custom functionalities and workflows, as well as to interact with external APIs without leaving your project.

Project Starter

A project starter is an out-of-the-box DatoCMS project built with a complete CMS configuration, corresponding frontend, and integrations to popular deployment platforms like Netlify and Vercel. They help users rapidly set up common projects (like blogs or websites) and get familiar with best practices when working with a Headless CMS.

R
Real-time Updates API

The Real-time Updates API (sometimes refered to as a Subscriptons API) allows client to listen for content changes via a stable connection to stream events as they occur. This is particularly useful for real-time content refreshing for use-cases like live sports updates or stock prices, when new content needs to appear without a user having to refresh the page.

Record

A record is any content entry you make within your DatoCMS project based on your content models and schema - think of it as a table row in a database. This can include anything from a blog post, to a landing page or a hosted video.

Record Info

Record information are system records for each content entry within a DatoCMS project that can be queried via the CDA - this includes metadata such as the Record ID, publishing status, timestamps for creation, and information on publishing.

Roles and Permissions

Each user and API Token can be assigned specific roles within DatoCMS, with a custom and pre-defined set of permissions they're allowed to perform. These can range anywhere from being able to create content in a specific locale, moving content between a specific stage, or reading content from a specific environment.

S
Scheduled Publishing

Scheduled publishing is a feature in DatoCMS that allows you to plan when content goes live (or unpublished) on your website or platform. Instead of immediately publishing, you can schedule articles, updates, or posts to appear at a specified date and time. It's a handy tool for content creators and marketers, ensuring timely and organized releases without manual intervention.

Schema

Schema refers to the structure that defines the organization and format of content within DatoCMS or any other CMS. It's like the framework that outlines how data should be arranged (content records under content models), including the types of data (fields), their relationships, and constraints.

Single-instance Models

Many website use-cases call for single-use templates or content types, such as homepages, about-us pages, or navigations. Single-instance models are useful for content that isn't meant to be duplicated or exist across multiple places. When creating a new model, simply select `Single Instance` within DatoCMS to enable this for content editors.

Site Search

DatoCMS offers an in-built approach to implementing Site Search results to your website visitors. With minimal configuration needed, new content is crawled and fetched with every new deploy. This can be an ideal approach for most websites, however for advanced search use-cases, DatoCMS offers plugins and integrations to popular services like Algolia and Cludo.

SSO

Single Sign-On, or SSO, is a user authentication process that allows individuals to access multiple applications or systems with just one set of login credentials, using common SSO services like Okta and OneLogin. SSO is currently an enterprise feature on DatoCMS.

Structured Text

Structured text in DatoCMS is a field type that allows content editors to create rich content entries with a powerful editor allowing for `/` slash commands to embed other blocks like images, galleries, and embeds. The content is stored in a semantic JSON format, making it simple to query.

T
Tree-like Models

Tree-like models enable for common use cases where content needs to exist in a hierarchial structure. Common use-cases for this include examples like eCommerce categories, taxonomies, and product navigation, allowing content creators to manage content in a tree-like data structure. DatoCMS lets you create these by enabling `Records can be organized in a tree` for content editors.

V
Video API

DatoCMS's Video API, powered by Mux, provides powerful features such as adaptive bitrate, global caching, and thumbnails, ensuring videos are loaded and streamed exceptionally quickly with the right format for each device, on any player.

Visual Editing

Visual editing is a feature supported on deployments to Vercel, using Vercel's site previews. Content on your frontend previews corresponding to text, structured text, or the `alt` field of any asset fields within a DatoCMS project get a `Open in DatoCMS` link, allowing content editors to quickly made changes to content without needing to know where to navigate to.

W
Webhooks

Webhooks deliver real-time notifications or data to other applications or systems whenever a predefined event occurs. Instead of constantly asking for updates, webhooks wait for triggers, such as a new order or a form submission, and then immediately send that data to a predefined URL or endpoint. They're a way for different systems to communicate efficiently, facilitating timely actions based on events.