John Faber Managing Partner Follow
October 24, 2022

CSUB’s New Next.js Site Launches a New Era in Headless Performance

California State University Bakersfield has an extensive continuing education program known as CSUB Extended Education. They’ve had a D8 site that’s been in need of both a design refresh and a technical upgrade. They’re also a client that’s keen on being an innovator in the education space and were interested in decoupling their site because of the potential performance benefits it could offer, but also attentive to issues that had been reported by other organizations such as cost, complexity and gaps in full featured content editing.

Investing in Solving a Problem: Next Drupal

CSUB turned to Chapter Three to guide them on next steps. As it happened, we had made a decision to invest in creating the premier decoupled Drupal solution, Next-Drupal. We discussed a challenge with our partners at Vercel, Acquia, Platform.SH and Pantheon: how to meld our Next-Drupal build without having to rely on two separate hosting providers (backend and frontend). So we answered that by creating a Next.js Drupal installation that can launch seamlessly on their platforms and scale for enterprise clients. Chapter Three assisted in the builds for each of these hosting platforms, integrating backend and frontend in one implementation. This wasn’t just an exercise for the abstract: over 60% of Drupal sites are still on Drupal 7, with many clients not sure if they’re going to continue on the platform. This has caused enough concern that the D10 launch date has been pushed back considerably so everyone has more time to smooth any transition, build an easier to maintain decoupled Drupal infrastructure, and make the move off D7 much easier.

At the same time, CSUB was exploring options and wanted to be a leader in the education space. We convinced them to take the plunge, innovate with us, and become the first client to launch on this new platform: Next Drupal (in this case Acquia), built by Chapter Three. Taking advantage of node and LAMP server solutions, we’ve found an approach that provides a single, seamless solution for hosting headless Drupal. 

Our team built the new installation and helped test it on the Acquia platform, provided content strategy and updated designs and launched a beautiful, fast and secure new site for CSUB’s Extended Education programs.

Creating content with slices
Creating content with slices


Three Pillars of Success: Editorial, Development, and Performance

For CSUB, Acquia and Chapter Three, the success of this Next Drupal installation profile was the shared interest in the three pillars that are the foundation of a rock solid project:

  1. Editorial Experience - Unlike other solutions, our Next Drupal installation for Acquia incorporates a fully featured content editor experience with automatic preview, allowing editors to see realtime preview and publication without having to rebuild the entire site every time a small editorial change has to happen. Live preview in headless solutions has been a constant pain point; it is no longer.
    Preview updated instantly
    Real-time preview updates
  2. Developer Experience - The coding experience is smart, intuitive and allows for developers to build websites using a modern stack they know and love. Built on top of React and Next.js, Next-Drupal provides a seamless integration between the frontend and the Drupal CMS.
  3. Performance - Blindingly fast speed with the absolute security of separating code from the interface. There is nothing for hackers to exploit via browsers and there is incredible speed in how fast pages render.
Updating menus
Edit menus with instant updates



Chapter Three has invested in Next Drupal for the Enterprise via Acquia, Vercel, Platform.SH and Pantheon. We’re excited to announce CSUB Extended Education as the first enterprise partner on Acquia with several more in development and launching in the near future. Stay tuned for more updates and get in touch with John to talk about your decoupled project and a demo of Next-Drupal by Chapter Three.