SYGNAL UNIVERSITY

Integrating with Webflow

Work-in-Progress

Intermediate

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Integrating with Webflow, what are the options?

  • How can I add functionality to my Webflow sites?
  • How can I connect my Webflow CMS to outside systems?
  • How can I respond to user actions like a form submit?
  • Can I build intelligent, code-rich components?
  • What kind of secure business logic can I develop?
  • What else can I do?

This is a rough collection of notes, in an effort to answer my integration questions.

But there are so many.

Personal Evaluation

Today, the word integration applies rather loosely in the Webflow universe. Connection points are primarily peripheral to the live site.

  • You can integrate directly to the data through Webflow's CMS API
  • You can NOT integrate directly with the UX, through intelligent, dynamic, code-rich components.
  • You can NOT integrate with the server-side architecture, to support any form of back-end business logic processing

You can think of this as;

  • STRONG data integration
  • WEAK ux integration
  • NON-EXISTENT server-side intelligence

Why UX Integration Matters

Unlike most web design platforms ( Wordpress, Joomla, Squarespace, Wix ) you cannot build intelligent code-rich components and drop them into a Webflow project from the designer.

This is why you don't see a plug-ins library for things like photo galleries, etc. in Webflow.

In part, the challenge there is understandable since Webflow's

There's no opportunity for server-side code operation, which means that even basic things like doing a more advanced

Why Server-Side Integration Matters

On the web, the client side system is always limited;

  • It's insecure, unprotected, and easily breached
  • It's slow, both because it's usually a phone or a PC ( rather than a cloud server ), and because it's running remotely over a network
  • It cannot have direct access to the database
  • Users are disconnected from each other

This means that most of the interesting things an application could do- secure logins, credit card payments, secure database connections, complex calculations, collaboration and community, are far more difficult and fragile to build into a Webflow site.

2022 Keynote Update

See the 2022 Keynote.

However, there are some exciting things in the 2022 keynote which indicate that the Webflow team may be thinking in that direction.

  • The introduction of components, which is an effort to create design, functionality and customizability in and encapsulated form.
  • DevLink, which is currently about creating a smooth design channel from the Webflow designer into React programming environments.

DevLink looks promising, because if Webflow is looking to integrate more closely into the React dev community, I'm hopeful that the channel will open up in the other direction as well.

Hopefully, Webflow is looking at the longer-term possibility of making React components importable into the Webflow platform, to create a more unified, capable system.

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