Optimizely Graph is a web service (SaaS) product that consists of a centralised API endpoint that can be used to fetch content and/or data synchronised from other Optimizely products and even external sources. The service is called Graph due to the API being powered by GraphQL — a widely adopted querying language originally developed by Facebook.
The Optimizely Content Management System (CMS) already has an integration with the service and can automatically synchronise content. A similar integration for the Content Marketing Platform (CMP) is currently on the roadmap.
When a change is made to content in the CMS, the change is automatically sent to Graph and becomes available in the API in a matter of seconds. It’s also very easy to add a new field or content type and it does not require a developer to do so. All it takes is a few clicks in the admin section of the CMS — as is to be expected from a capable headless CMS.
Multi-channel content delivery
One of the main benefits of using a headless (aka de-coupled) content strategy is that it provides excellent support for multi-channel content distribution. Any content stored in the CMS can reliably be distributed to multiple websites, mobile apps, or even the display screen on a fridge — to add some perspective to the scope.
Graph extensively supports this approach by using GraphQL to provide powerful search and filtering capabilities. The client application is able to specify exactly what content it needs, which makes the process of consuming content a lot more efficient and therefore faster.
Consider a complex content model that contains over a hundred fields, why bother with all the fields when an application may only be interested in only a hand full of them? That’s what sets the GraphQL-powered API apart from the rest.
Search using artificial intelligence
Optimizely Graph supports ranked keyword matching, a search technique that involves matching the user’s query to exact keyword occurrences in the content. It’s a commonly used technique that does not take the context of the user query into consideration.
Optimizely has therefore taken the next step by adding the ability to capture the intent of the user query with artificial intelligence (AI) language models. The technique is called semantic search, or neural search. It uses pre-trained language model to “connect the dots” between what the user is searching for and what other keywords are relevant.
For example, if a user searches for “california governor”, then the returned results can contain “Arnold Schwarzenegger” rather than requiring an exact match to the search query. The language model has determined that the keywords can be used synonymously, and the search will therefore produce more accurate results.
That’s a very simple example of what the search is capable of, but that’s kind of the point, your applications will be able to support complex search techniques that are made easy and accessible by Optimizely Graph. It’s entirely SaaS managed and continuously improved by Optimizely, which brings me to the next point: what about 3rd party integrations?
Synchronise data from external sources
The CMS is often used to be a hub that brings together content and data from various sources. The reason behind that is usually a need to display additional information on the website from different sources. The CMS is responsible for content delivery, and generally the favorable approach is to import data into the CMS instead of relying on various APIs in real-time to display data on the website (or any other application for that matter).
The strategy of centralising content and enriching it with additional data has now become a lot more efficient with the introduction of Optimizely Graph. External sources can efficiently synchronise data to the service without first having to integrate with the CMS. Graph is technically a standalone superspeed content delivery API that can accept content from any sources and comes with plug-and-play integrations for the Optimizely CMS and CMP. I expect that there will be a lot more integrations in the future!
Optimizely Graph is now available to customers with Optimizely DXP and CMS. There are plans to make it available to any customers, so be sure to reach out to Optimizely regardless of what products you are currently using.
There are a lot more technical features in Graph that I didn't cover. If you are looking for some technical answers, the official Optimizely documentation has everything you should need and more. There are also a lot of languages and frameworks available for GraphQL to support interacting with Optimizely Graph.
If you have any questions or would like to know more about our experience with Optimizely Graph or content delivery in general, feel free to reach out via our contact form.
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