Improving the Developer Experience
Recently, we launched the Shopify Summer ’23 Edition, which was full of updates for developers. This Edition marks an ongoing evolution of Shopify’s developer platform: we’re simultaneously improving the development experience for building apps and storefronts, and making more of Shopify extensible. For public app developers, we’re also making it easier than ever for your apps to get into the Shopify App Store and be discovered by merchants.
In this article, we unpack how.
The developer experience just got better
For app developers and storefront developers alike, we’re making big improvements to the developer experience so you can build faster and more efficiently.
From getting an app quickly spun up to deploying new versions, these improvements overhaul the process to getting your app live:
- Config as code: Use the
shopify.app.tomlfile in your app’s root directory to manage all of your app configurations, enabling a streamlined, CLI-first workflow for more easily defining, testing, and collaborating on app configurations. Create multiple configuration files and quickly switch between environments while building your app.
- App versioning and unified deployment: With app versions, you can now deploy your extensions together in a single package through the CLI, providing an end-to-end CI/CD workflow.
- Extension-only and organization-level custom apps: Build custom apps that use extensions, and have them hosted on Shopify, eliminating the need for other hosting providers.
- Get started more easily: Easily create a development store with a robust set of commerce data when you sign up for a Shopify Partner account. Take advantage of improvements to the dev docs for better learning, including a two-column layout in our structured tutorials to make onboarding more intuitive.
The DX improvements we’re making aren’t limited to app development. With the latest releases to our headless development solutions, you can build custom storefronts faster with optimized workflows and improved tooling:
- Build faster with the CLI: Scaffold a full purchase journey in minutes, add your favorite styling library, configure language and currency settings, and error-proof your build with enhanced type safety support including built-in GraphQL codegen.
- Remix-optimized workflows: Everything in Hydrogen from the cart, to product forms, to pagination is now designed to leverage the full power of Remix for even better performance, SEO, and UX.
- Removal of rate limits on the Storefront API: Storefront API now serves all legitimate requests from both private and public clients without rate limits, so your store is never throttled and always protected against bot activity.
- Customer Account API: Now available in developer preview, this new API can be accessed through the Hydrogen and Headless channels, providing developers with early access to authenticated buy-scoped data and new passwordless login for headless stores.
Customizing backend logic
Shopify Functions is our platform for building unique customizations that execute on Shopify’s global infrastructure. We’re introducing a better developer experience here, too:
- More Functions APIs: Nine APIs are now available, with more rolling out in the coming months:
- Delivery Customization
- Order Discount
- Product Discount
- Payment Customization
- Cart Transform
- Cart and Checkout Validation
- Fulfillment Constraints
- Order Routing Location Rule (developer preview)
- Shipping Discount Function (developer preview)
- Versioning and rolling back: Functions can now be versioned and rolled back with your app, and can be developed and debugged faster by using the
shopify app devcommand to run functions in your local development environment.
- App-owned metafields: Create and manage metafields that are specific and isolated to your app.
- Cart data fields: More cart data fields are now available for building custom functionality like dynamic pricing.
Automating with Shopify Flow
Shopify Flow is an app and platform that allows merchants to customize their store through automation. Now we’re giving developers new ways to work with Shopify Flow:
- Build, manage, and deploy Shopify Flow extensions from the CLI: You can now set up Flow actions and triggers from your app’s configuration files and manage their deployment via the CLI, instead of manually setting them up from the Partner Dashboard.
- Shopify Flow return data: You can now build Flow actions that return data during execution for use in subsequent steps as input variables. Chain data together to create lookup tasks, exception handling workflows, and other powerful automations.
These improvements across the developer experience mean there’s never been a better time to build commerce apps and custom shopping experiences.
You can now build on more areas across Shopify
Among the biggest updates at the Summer ’23 Edition are the updates we’re making to expand the ways developers can customize and extend Shopify to build unique commerce experiences and manage business operations. These include:
- Updates to checkout extensibility: We’re launching 17 new APIs and updates to checkout extensibility, including the ability for apps to offer customized delivery options and perform address validation, custom apps to inject server-side validation logic into the cart and checkout, and the ability to preview the one-page checkout, thank you page, and new customer account page directly in the checkout editor.
- Introducing admin UI extensions: You can now integrate your apps with the Shopify admin to create seamless workflows for merchants. Make key app features accessible from a modal directly in the admin, so merchants don’t need to switch contexts or wait for your app to load, and display data and provide functionality within cards on specific admin pages.
- New APIs: New APIs expand the ways you can customize Shopify for more audiences and geographies, including building for B2B with the Catalogs, Order, and Draft Order APIs, creating custom product bundle offerings with the Cart Transform Function, and tailoring stores for international shoppers with Shopify Markets.
- POS UI extensions: New POS UI extensions allow you to build app extensions that seamlessly integrate with Shopify POS to customize and enhance in-person retail.
These updates provide developers with more tools to build great experiences for both shoppers and merchants, around the world, at every step of their journeys.
It’s easier to get your app discovered
The Shopify platform supports millions of merchants building their businesses, from entrepreneurs just getting started to global enterprise brands. Those merchants rely on apps to customize Shopify to their unique needs. That user base presents an unparalleled opportunity for developers to build solutions for merchants in infinite niches, and share those solutions using the Shopify App Store.
To support developers building apps for the app store, we’re introducing a number of improvements to help your app get discovered by the right merchants at the right time. These improvements include:
- Built for Shopify: Built for Shopify is now available to merchants, meaning that high quality apps are now easy to spot with special badging and promotional placements. We have also updated our App Design Guidelines for clarified guidance on the trickiest parts of app design.
- Simpler submission process: We removed lower value requirements so it’s easier for your app to get approved.
- Improved reviews: We improved review rankings and added AI-powered review summaries to make it easier for merchants to make decisions.
- Updated search results: Rankings now use merchant behavior so you can get higher quality installs.
- Enhancements to ads: Ads in the App Store can now be geotargeted to users in the appropriate regions.
We’re making these updates to the Shopify App Store to make it easier for you to connect with the millions of merchants building on Shopify, and grow a successful business building commerce apps.
There are endless opportunities for building on Shopify
The developer updates rounded up in the Shopify Summer ’23 Edition encompass the whole development process: from developer experience updates that make building on Shopify faster and more intuitive, to more opportunities to build on the Shopify platform, to better ways of having your public app discovered in the Shopify App Store. The opportunity for developers on Shopify is massive.
Check out all of the developer updates at the Summer ’23 Edition, and imagine the possibilities for your business.