By Clay Kohut, Senior Software Engineer

TLDR: Over the past year, Coinbase has invested in tooling to eliminate static content across our web frontend. This is the story of how we did it and why it’s important.

Coinbase Learn(ed)

The Coinbase educational portal, Coinbase Learn, launched in late 2020. Learn contains hundreds of beginner guides, practical tutorials, and market updates and is maintained by a dedicated team of content editors.

Our engineers explored various options for powering Learn. Ideally, we wanted a solution that would allow us to seamlessly integrate content into the Coinbase logged out experience.

Hosted options for blog-like content such as Medium provided too little flexibility.

The WordPress framework was too opinionated and directly tied to the UI.

We ended up opting for a headless CMS, specifically Contentful. Contentful is a content platform that delivers a headless approach to content as well as backend extensibility to integrate with our preferred tools and ways of working. Being “headless” means the CMS is UI agnostic — it separates the content from the experience, simply providing structured JSON to the frontend, which allows for us to totally control the frontend experience.

Integrating with Contentful was simply a matter of creating data structures representing different types of content (via the Contentful UI) and then mapping those data structures to React components (which handled actually rendering the data)

Our initial CMS architecture

Donning the Flightsuit

With Coinbase Learn under our belt and the Coinbase Direct Public…

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