Decorative double Helix

What is AEM Edge Delivery Services/Helix/AEM Franklin/Next Gen Composability?

Adobe has recently been pushing an exciting new extension to AEM’s functionality called AEM Edge Delivery Service. You may have heard about it and wanted to know more about what it is and how it works, but struggled to find anything substantial about it. If you’re in this position, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll give you a short overview of what Edge Deliver Services is, its pros and cons, and how to get started with developing it.

What’s in a Name?

This product has variously been called “Project Helix”, “Adobe Franklin”, “AEM’s Next-Gen Composability Features” and now (somewhat officially) is AEM Edge Delivery Service.

Part of the reason that finding good information about AEM Edge Delivery Services is difficult is that it’s a product that’s had so many different names over its short lifetime. Originally this product was called Project Helix, named after the structure of DNA. This “Helix” name is still used in much of Adobe’s documentation and supplementary products related to the core product. For instance, the site used for checking if the product is online and functioning is, and preview sites created with Edge Delivery Services are hosted on .hlx urls. In early 2023, Adobe introduced AEM Franklin, what they describe as an “evolution” of Project Helix, expanding on the functionality of the original project and integrating it with AEM. Franklin was named after Rosalind Franklin, one of the discoverers of the helix structure of DNA. This move was billed and advertised in Adobe’s conferences as “Adobe Next-Gen Composability,” which is why information related to Franklin is occasionally labeled as Next Gen Composability. In October 2023, after several years of development, Adobe rolled AEM Franklin into AEM’s functionality and named it AEM Edge Delivery Services. The best way to think about this is that the product that used to be called Project Helix or AEM Franklin is now incorporated into AEM as AEM Edge Delivery Services, and serves as Adobe’s next-gen composability solution.

What Does It Do?

AEM Edge Delivery Services is Adobe’s newest way of developing webpages. At its core, EDS is a low-to-no code solution for getting web content up and online quickly and painlessly. Once a website is set up, authoring and publishing content is as simple as typing in a Google doc. EDG uses CSS and Javascript to parse Google Docs pages and generate the necessary HTML to display them on the internet as web pages. It accomplishes this by using “blocks,” chunks of Javascript and CSS that interpret elements of a Google Doc like tables and uses them to build the webpage. In addition to the Google suite of productivity tools, EDS has support for Sharepoint and the Microsoft Office suite as well. This means that if you can use products like Google Docs and Microsoft Word, you can develop in AEM.


One of the biggest advantages of AEM Edge Delivery Services is the simplicity of development. Making a new page on your website is as easy as creating a new file in a Google documents folder, and even more complex web development tasks can be accomplished with minimal CSS and Javascript knowledge. This makes training new developers on AEM Edge Deliver Services extremely fast and simple. There’s also great tools for customizing and expanding the functionality of your EDS website. Every EDS project is open source on GitHub, allowing for easy collaboration and code sharing, and the content-end representation of blocks can be seen using the AEM helper extension. AEM also provides and highlights many blocks on top of the base collection of tools through their block collection. Getting content created and online is an efficient and speedy process, and EDS webpages do incredibly well on site performance metrics, routinely hitting a 100 Lighthouse score.


As of right now, AEM Edge Delivery Services' simplicity is both its biggest strength and weakness. While creating content within the existing formatting and framework of the provided AEM template project is extremely straightforward, anything outside of that framework presents challenges. Basic web tools, such as tables and dynamic feeds, do not come out-of-box with EDS. While it’s easy to see how other EDS sites approach implementing those tools, most custom blocks are not typically plug-and-play. This means that tools outside the scope of what's provided/highlighted by AEM often need to be built bespoke. There also isn’t as large a community surrounding EDS as there is surrounding AEM proper, or other web development products, making it difficult to find information regarding corner cases.


Overall, AEM Edge Delivery Services is a useful product with a compelling advantage over existing CMS systems in certain use cases. In its current state, it’s best for small scale projects, such as a newsletter or blog. In fact, the blog you’re reading this article on right now is currently running on AEM Edge Delivery Services! If you’re interested in getting started on development with AEM Edge Delivery Services, check out the official getting started tutorial here, and once you’ve completed that check out our supplementary article on how to add a new page to a EDS website here.

About The Author

Drew Oliver Cummings
AEM Developer at Arbory Digital

Writer and software developer with experience in technical writing, Python development, and AEM.

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