Contenta, Reservoir and the Bigger Drupal Community

Contenta provides you with examples of how to build your decoupled application with a Drupal back-end. In fact it provides you with examples end to end, from the JSON API server to the React application (and others).

Once you have explored the capabilities of decoupled Drupal, you can revert Contenta to a clean state. That will give you a clean Drupal installation with the modules necessary to start building your content model and your API. When you do that there is no example content or configuration left. Everything is reverted back to clean.

In summary, Contenta serves you both as inspiration, to build your project following the best practices we provide in the demo project, and as a starting point to build your project from scratch.

We summarize this in the following six stages.

The Six Stages of Contenta

Is collaboration possible?

A while after Contenta CMS started, Acquia released Reservoir. In their blogpost they clarified that the project had been in the making for a long time. Longer than Contenta.

We are sad that Acquia released their own distribution to solve the same problem. But we are happy that the community has started to collaborate towards this goal. Future is still open. We continue believing in the full mission of contenta.

After several meetings between both API-First initiative coordinators Wim (Reservoir) and Mateu (Contenta), the Contenta and Reservoir teams came to an understanding of how the two projects compare. More importantly a collaboration model was devised.

Suffice to say that the Contenta team would have liked that there wasn’t a split that had to be merged afterwards. However it is highly important to note that while the Reservoir team was working on it they provided many patches and helpful discussions to the entire ecosystem (Drupal core, JSON API, Schemata …). The Reservoir team involved in the weekly API-First meetings have been doing things the open source way, thank you!

Which one should I use

After some debate and discussions the Contenta team and the Reservoir team arrived to the conclusion that Contenta is a superset of Reservoir. Reservoir does not attempt to have the examples of real life problems and how to solve them in the front-ends and the back-end. Reservoir does not include the Knowledge Hub that Contenta includes. In fact Reservoir is only an alternative to Contenta in (the critical) Stage 5.

It all comes down to what each consider baseline decoupled Drupal. Reservoir’s approach is to give you a minimalistic set of features. For the Contenta team this minimum includes more things. Things like a media library, helper modules for front-end performance, tools to customize your API, etc.

In fact Reservoir only supports Nodes, Files and Users. Contenta supports all the entity types Drupal offers (Comments, Media, Paragraphs, Redirects, …). The Contenta’s community feels that in real projects you will always need more than those three entity types. The Reservoir team in Acquia feels that the vast majority of the time you will not need anything else. This is the fundamental difference between the projects as Stage 5.


Contenta’s Recommendation

We [Contenta] are doing things this way because we believe it’s the best approach. Understandably we believe that Contenta is the best solution for the vast majority of scenarios. However, we acknowledge that Reservoir can be a more suited solution for some.

Once you’ve gone through the stages 1 to 4, decide which project takes it from here. If you are absolutely certain that you will not need taxonomy terms, comments, media, etc. now or some time in the future, then Reservoir is the way to go. In all the other scenarios we recommend Contenta.

Reservoir’s focus is on simplicity. The Contenta team favors being ready with the features that will solve your problems. We’ve had those problems in the past.