Shopify Web Development | 17 Min Read
Posted on: Saturday February 27, 2021Reading Time: 17 minutes
In the past few years, expectations from app development have changed a lot. Clients often come up with bizarre requirements and challenging deadlines. However, it won’t be fair to consider all of them a fantasy. It’s possible that the out-of-the-box idea brings them great value. Moreover, there are organizations that have a different way of working. Instead of ignoring requests like these, you can prove your versatility as a Shopify app development company. Maybe building a custom Shopify app isn’t as hard as you assume.
Mixing, Matching, Finding A Perfect Solution
Understanding your client’s requirements becomes important to find them a perfect solution. Mostly, clients want a custom app because they’re done trying dozens of apps on the app store, changing their themes, codes etc., but nothing seemed to work. They might want something beyond the theme’s capabilities, while the app store offers a generic solution. If not this, then theta possibly lacked the skills to get going towards their goals.
Catching Up With Better Alternatives
As app developers, you could be pulling yourself back, being stuck in your comfort zone. If you spend all your time developing Shopify themes only, that would be the only solution you could present before the clients. Since you have attained specialized knowledge, you shouldn’t keep yourself from trying things differently.
Whether you’re a front-end developer or backend developer, it’s always suggestible to move past your boundaries. As a general response, you may use a well-worn tool to fix problems for your client, but meanwhile, you may be ignoring an even better tool.
It’s Not A Cakewalk
The question is, when did custom app development become so easy? Probably you need an entire team of Shopify experts to make it work. We come across so many examples where people spend months and years to make their app idea a success. But we also know solo app developers who launched something amazing within a few nights and weekends.
How Do They Do It?
Understanding the process for building a public app will clarify many things for you, even when you work on a private app. Here we are not talking about rehabbing a working code base but building a Shopify app from scratch. However, we assume that you have basic knowledge about Shopify’s APIs. From authentication and payments to the app’s UI, we aim at completing everything within a week.
Always First: Planning
Now that the deadline is near, many may think of jumping right into development. That’s not so smart of you since it would increase your risks, chances of getting lost, being stuck; simply, it would leave you all muddled-up. Prepare a software development roadmap without wasting any time. Answer the following questions:
1. Determining The Purpose Of The App
The purpose of an app you’re about to build has a major role to play in the entire process. If you are making it for a client, it is pretty easy to seek an answer. There is likely to be a set of underlying questions which need an answer. Gather notes, research and make the purpose easy to understand. It will impact the next step, where you decide the necessary features for your app. If it is a public app, make sure you have done the necessary market research.
2. List Down The Features
Once the app’s purpose is clear, make a list of features you want in your app. Jot down everything that comes to your mind. Later, evaluate and prepare a filtered, final list of features. Compare the list of features with your app purpose and cut off the clutter. Remember, it won’t be perfect the first time.
3. The Timeline
Now, summarize every feature and create a rough estimate for it. Each estimate should also reflect the doubts and challenges before you in finishing the task within the set timeline. Creating a clear timeline will prove to be helpful and save time. Further, make sure you hit deadlines.
4. Gather Tools And Resources
While you have to work within a constrained timeline, writing fresh codes would make it “impossible”. You can seek help from some off-the-shelf tools and libraries. Shopify offers many great integration libraries that could come to use. Collecting some necessary tools and resources as early as in the planning process will save you a lot of time and work.
The Most Important: Development
If you are a Shopify app development company, you can share tasks and keep things right on track. However, there’s nothing to worry even if you’re a solo developer. You can still make it work.
1. Authentication Setup
Integrating with Shopify’s authorization and authentication system is the first thing you need to do. While the Shopify app library is helpful enough, you would still need to do away with some configuration and testing. There two ways of authentication and authorization with Shopify:
All public app store apps use OAuth, which offers a secure and safe way of authorization with Shopify without giving the username or password to the store. On the contrary, all stores can create private apps with API key and password. These are used as username and password to access the entire store they come from.
This step could be difficult to get through, but don’t give up. If you get stuck somewhere, seek help from various forums.
2. Reconsider Creating A Private App
If you’re creating an app for a client, you may be tempted to build a private app since it will be authenticated right away, and you don’t have to do the OAuth part. While this setup is easy, it will limit your app in many ways. Here are some reasons to reconsider developing a private app:
It would be great to create an unlisted app using OAuth, just like any other public app. This way, your client can install the app just like any other. You may check the shop URL for security purposes. If it’s not your client’s URL, then you can decline the request.
3. Working With OAuth
You need to get the scopes right when you are using OAuth. That’s what Shopify considers to let you access specific APIs. If you don’t pick the right scopes, you may have to deal with issues later on while accessing them. Once this is done, you can switch to other features of the app.
4. Do You Really Need User Accounts?
When it comes to limiting access to the app, we look forward to introducing user accounts. Well, if you use OAuth, you might not need them. OAuth already prevents any unauthorized users from using the app. In order to access the app, the store users need to access the Shopify Admin, which implies they have valid accounts in Shopify. Unless you are concerned about who installs your app from the store, there’s no need for user accounts. If you’re cutting off this feature, you save a lot of time.
5. Integrating With The API
You may give a thought to simplifying the snippet install. One option is to ask the merchant to log into the app and find their account ID and simply copy. While it would make your job a lot simple, many things could go wrong. Also, it isn’t a great idea to let a merchant log into a site and copy data manually. Rather than taking the shortcut, we suggest you stick to your plan.
6. Dealing With New APIs
Integrating OAuth and Shopify could be a technical challenge considering the deadline. However, Shopify’s library for OAuth allows configuration to multiple OAuth users. But you should carefully track them for issues. There are times when you cannot download existing libraries and use them. In case you need to write them, you would need enough time. But you should not let your problems overpower the situation; you should try to solve the problem one way or the other.
7. Risk Management
There are always some risks involved while you proceed towards testing and finalizing everything. However, you need to find a better way of dealing with it. You should always keep the following in mind:
Certainly, you can finish up development and testing within a week. You may need a few more hours to take it to the app store. Therefore, when you come across clients who want to hire Shopify app developer with such expectations, make sure you plunge in and challenge yourself.
While it’s never too late to practice a new skill, you should make sure that in the end, the app should meet its purpose and bring value to your client or merchant. This guide would help you plan and build a Shopify app within timeline constraints.