One of the great things about AEMaaCS (AEM as a Cloud Service) has to be the fact that new features by Adobe can, for the most part, be rolled out fast and painlessly. One of my personal favorite features that has come in useful for many client requirements is the ability to store structured data in AEM Content Fragments. Structured Content Fragments were introduced in AEM 6.4 and allow an author to define a data schema, known as a Content Fragment Model, using a tool in the Touch UI and then create assets in the DAM that are based on one of these models to hold the desired data. This is part of Adobe's headless CMS initiative.
A simple usage of this feature might be if you want to store addresses of various retail stores for your business. You would first create a Content Fragment Model with the various text fields for Address 1, Address 2, City, State, etc., and then start creating Content Fragments in the DAM based on that model. I won't be going into the details of how you would do that in this article but there are multiple tutorials by Adobe.
AEM CF Extras
If you virtually attended the adaptTo() conference you might have caught my session on AEM CF Extras. This was a side project of mine that spawned from client work I started a couple of years back utilizing Content Fragments. Around the time of that presentation, however, we at Bounteous were having conversations with Adobe and sharing what we had done. In turn, we got to see a preview of what Adobe had been working on, including an official GraphQL for Content Fragments, similar to the one in AEM CF Extras but more production-ready. However, they did ask if we would contribute some of the custom fields we had created to the core codebase and we were happy to do so. More on that later.
So What's New?
Like I said before, with AEM as a Cloud Service, Adobe is updating the product so fast that the new features I am going to cover here might not be the newest when you read it. Also, it is important to point out that Adobe has made it clear that these new features are not "Cloud only" but rather "Cloud first."