Shopify App Development: A Comprehensive Guide 101

on Marketing, Marketing Analytics, Shopify • October 29th, 2021 • Write for Hevo

Shopify App Development FI

Running an online E-Commerce store differs totally from a personal blog. An E-Commerce store has a wide range of functionalities, and there’s much more to oversee. Merchants have to track many variables from Secure Checkouts, Inventory Management, Email Marketing, Shipments, and Speed Optimization. Shopify App Store has thousands of Apps that help merchants to extend the functionality of their online store. From adding customer reviews, improving email marketing, publishing your products to Facebook, or getting in-depth analytics, there’s an App for every small requirement. 

If you’re just getting started with the Shopify App Development Ecosystem and want to develop Shopify Apps, then this guide is for you. It’ll cover the benefits of the Shopify App ecosystem, Shopify App development types, and steps to building and maintaining Shopify Apps. 

Table of Contents

Prerequisites

Understanding of Plugins

What is Shopify?

Shopify App Development- Shopify logo
Image Source 

Shopify is an E-Commerce solution designed to let people set up an online store to sell their goods. Users can organize products, accept credit card payments, customize a storefront, and analyze sales stats. It was founded in 2004 and initially based on software that its founders wrote for their online snowboard store. The company used the open-source web application framework, Ruby on Rails, to build the snowboard store. In 2009 Shopify launched an API platform, allowing developers to create and sell applications in the Shopify App Store for Shopify merchants.

Whether you’re a start-up or have extensive sales channels, Shopify has features and plans for you. It provides a wide range of features to help merchants sell products online and in-person, and it maintains over 99% of uptime.

  • Quick and easy to set up and use: With Shopify, users can quickly launch online stores without the fuss over servers and development costs. They have a clean and easy-to-use user interface where all the features are logically structured. Shopify also has extensive documentation and video guides.
  • No tech worries: Shopify provides software, hosting, and integrations with Third-Party apps for customers to set up and run their online stores. Not only does Shopify make it easier to design online stores, but it is also faster and more secure, accommodating traffic spikes your store might receive. 
  • Secure and reliable: E-Commerce stores deal with massive data and sensitive customer information like personal information and credit card details. Shopify stores are trustworthy, and they ensure the website is fast, secure, and always online. 
  • 24/7 customer support: Shopify’s customer support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, via phone, email, or webchat. Their response time is quick, meaning your business is never on its own. 
  • Mobile responsive themes: It has become essential, not optional, to have a mobile-optimized site. All Shopify’s themes are mobile-responsive, and the platform includes a free built-in mobile commerce shopping cart.

What is Shopify App Store?

In Shopify, apps function as plugins to extend a store’s functionalities and help in improving customer experience. There are thousands of apps available in the Shopify app store. Merchants can select Shopify apps to integrate with their online store, and their website will be up and ready hassle-free. Users can find Shopify apps in all sorts of categories from marketing, store management, customer experience, shipping and delivery, fulfillment, and a lot more. Apps are also categorized as collections like launching a new store, getting your first sale, growing your business, compatible with Shopify POS, trending apps, new and noteworthy, made by Shopify, sales channel, and much more. 

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  • Connectors: Hevo supports 100+ Integrations to SaaS platforms like Shopify, files, Databases, analytics, and BI tools. It supports various destinations including Google BigQuery, Amazon Redshift, Snowflake Data Warehouses; Amazon S3 Data Lakes; and MySQL, SQL Server, TokuDB, DynamoDB, PostgreSQL Databases to name a few.  
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  • 100% Complete & Accurate Data Transfer: Hevo’s robust infrastructure ensures reliable data transfer with zero data loss.
  • Scalable Infrastructure: Hevo has in-built integrations for 100+ sources (including 40+ free sources) such as Shopify, that can help you scale your data infrastructure as required.
  • 24/7 Live Support: The Hevo Team is available round the clock to extend exceptional support to you through chat, email, and support calls.
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Shopify App Development Ecosystem

Benefits of Shopify App Development

  • Apps can easily access the E-Commerce store’s data for better insights.
  • Users can store purchase data through Shopify apps and get detailed analytics on the end-to-end sales process.
  • Apps generate statistics for targeted and personalized marketing, which helps to optimize and improve sales revenue.
  • Most Shopify Apps are scalable, providing opportunities to add more features and functionalities to the website. There are apps for everything from enhancing the shopping experience, accepting payments to aiding backend functions.
  • Shopify Apps allow easy customization since custom Shopify App Development gets more room to maneuver and provide solutions tailored to every merchant’s requirements. 
  • Many Shopify apps can easily integrate with social media seamlessly. It helps enhance the brand image, improve customers’ reach, and share experiences through a few clicks of a button.
  • Apps provide various marketing and advertising options for your business. As a result, merchants can segment their customers and provide personalized recommendations and marketing.

Shopify App Development Types

  • Public apps: are available to various merchants and can be listed in the Shopify App Store. There are two types: listed and unlisted. Merchants can install listed apps from the Shopify App Store. However, unlisted apps don’t appear in the categories or search results of the Shopify App Store. Instead, you can install them from the developer’s website or the application’s respective store. 
  • Custom apps: are made for a specific merchant and cannot be listed in the Shopify App Store. They are great for adding features to your Shopify admin or extending the online store to other platforms. An external app developer doesn’t require API access to your store or access to your Shopify admin to build custom apps.
  • Private apps: are by developers for merchants with specific requirements that aren’t met by custom apps. Unlike the other two, users create Private apps in Merchant Admit. Private apps aren’t listed on the Shopify App Store, and they are only available for your store. The external app developer will need API and Shopify Admin access. 
  • Draft apps: are used by Shopify Partners for testing purposes during development. They can only be installed on development stores, which disables store transfer permanently. 

Shopify App Development Process

Apps must seamlessly integrate with merchants’ online stores while improving the user experience and user interface. The design principles will represent the developer’s brand, and happier customers will lead to higher retention rates. 

1) Polaris

Polaris is an open-source design system used by both internal and external developers to build and design Shopify Apps. Polaris adheres to web accessibility standards, and developers can use it regardless of whether the app operates inside or outside the Shopify Admin. With Polaris, developers don’t have to build custom UI elements. All of its components are flexible, pre-built, and easy to implement. The list of components includes typography, illustrations, icons, spacing, colors, and interaction states

2) Tools and Resources

Shopify is language agnostic, implying that users can choose familiar programming languages and frameworks for developing apps. There are various tools, resources, and documentation available for users to start building their first app. 

Prerequisites before you start building:

  • A Shopify Partner account, development store, and an ngrok account.
  • Access to the computer’s command line and text editor.
  • Efficient in any backend programming language, such as Node.JS, Java, PHP, Ruby on Rails, or Python.
  • Use the npm package manager to install the software.

Users can also use the Shopify App CLI tool to speed up the development process and Shopify GraphQL App Installer to identify and manage the Shopify GraphQL Admin APIs. 

3) Steps for Shopify App Development

Following are the steps for Shopify App Development:

Developers will have to ensure the safety of their apps and the data. You can use OWASP Top 10 list to check vulnerabilities and risks on your app before launch. The next important step is to have security checks and maintenance on your Shopify App regularly.  

Post-launch, developers have to perform the following tasks:

  • Managing open ports
  • Cross-site scripting
  • SQL injection
  • Insecure direct object references (IDOR)
  • Cookies
  • Review access permissions for Cloud-based storage
  • Review your DNS records regularly
  • Verify and validate requests

4) Submission and Review Process

After you’ve tested your Shopify App and ensured that it’s production-ready, you can submit it for approval. After submitting, the Shopify App Review team will ensure that the app meets its standards. Reviewers will ensure that your App’s Core Functionality, Authentication, and Billing API are functioning correctly. Reviewers will scan your app listing to ensure that all required fields are filled incorrectly. The review process takes 6-8 business days where your App will move through various stages. During the review, users are kept informed about what stage their app is at. 

Conclusion

Shopify offers excellent functionality and high uptime guarantee. Merchants can add to Shopify’s versatility by utilizing the various app integrations available in the Shopify marketplace. Shopify apps unlock new functionalities, improving optimization for a better customer experience. In case you want to export data from a source of your choice such as Shopify into your desired Database/destination then Hevo Data is the right choice for you! 

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Hevo Data provides its users with a simpler platform for integrating data from 100+ sources such as Shopify for Analysis. It is a No-code Data Pipeline that can help you combine data from multiple sources. You can use it to transfer data from multiple data sources into your Data Warehouse, Database, or a destination of your choice. It helps transfer data from Shopify to a destination of your choice for free. It provides you with a consistent and reliable solution to managing data in real-time, ensuring that you always have Analysis-ready data in your desired destination.

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Share your experience of learning about the Shopify App Development! Let us know in the comments section below!

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