Earlier this year, Shopify announced one of their most significant updates to the app to date. Shopify Online Store 2.0
With this store promising to open up massive opportunities for developers to build themes and apps for Shopify merchants, we sat down with our development team (virtually) to look at the new tools and features and understand what this new update means for our team.
Customisable Online Store
One of the new features of Shopify’s online store 2.0 will allow your Shopify store to be fully customisable. Merchants will now be able to rearrange content with sections and blocks.
This means that you don’t need to learn how to code. This new update will allow merchants to have more creative flexibility to their online store’s design. Also, with no knowledge in coding, this will enable merchants to get started easily and quickly.
A New Dawn
Along with the latest launch, Shopify also announced that they would replace Debut, the current default theme, with their brand new theme called Dawn. Dawn was designed with speed in mind, and as a result, Dawn is expected to be 35% faster than Debut.
The customisable feature and many more will allow developers more freedom to create new theme designs more efficiently.
These new features will ensure every merchant's store can thrive on Shopify, regardless of their size, technical expertise, complexity, or scale.
Modularity and Sections
The ability to create and use global sections across all templates is a feature our developers have been waiting for. Our developers all agreed that this update, in particular, would be a massive benefit. Currently, sections are only available for use on the homepage, but with Shopify 2.0, adding these globally means there will be no reason to duplicate sections and allow for more streamlined development.
Our Development team is looking forward to saying bye to creating fiddly blocks that act as sections and hello to organised sections that can be reused everywhere on the site in a modular form.
However, sections are still connected to the template rather than the page, in the event that we wanted to display a custom section on the collection page based on the collection handle, we would have to create separate templates for each collection or create a section that can handle multiple blocks and display information based on the chosen collection.
Improvements to Metafields
The inclusion of meta fields will allow our developers to provide a much more customised experience when populating the back end of products. Metafields being directly available in Shopify means we no longer require the use of apps (at least for products and variants). Users can create a definition of the metafield and use it within the product section in the admin panel. As developers, that also makes our lives easier as we can stop relying on tags for functionalities.
Metafields have been revamped in three key ways:
- More flexibility: Metafields now have a more flexible type of system that will grow over time to become more tailored to commerce data.
- Standard metafields: we’re introducing standard metafields, making it much simpler for custom themes to work out of the box on stores across different market verticals.
- Presentation hints: you will now be able to add presentation hints to metafields, allowing Storefront API and Liquid users to render merchant data in the way the merchant intended, with far less custom code.
On the other hand, although Shopify enabled metafields for the product, they are still not pulled with their APIs. That makes them unusable for a lot of apps or headless page solutions.
For example: if we would like to use filtering with metafields, we would have to pull the product first and then pull its metafields to display all the information necessary.
Shopify Developer Tools
Online Store 2.0 introduces a whole new way for developers to build apps and themes for Shopify merchants. A suite of new developer tools that seamlessly integrate into Shopify and assist the process of developing, testing, and deploying themes.
With the introduction of the Shopify GitHub integration, an updated Shopify CLI tool, and Theme Check, our developers expect a more robust theme development with version control. A better-sandboxed environment to develop themes locally and streamlined development with a real-time linter tuned for Shopify themes.
Shopify Github Integration
The launch of a new integration with GitHub is something our developers all agreed that Github integration would be an immense game changer for the team.
There will no longer be a need to duplicate the theme in preparation for the launch. We will also be able to pull our client’s live settings into our repositories which will save time and improve the efficiency of our development process.
Theme Check is a language server for Liquid and JSON that scans themes for errors and highlights Shopify theme and Liquid best practices. This tool can integrate with text editors such as Visual Studio Code, and identifies issues within your theme code, including Liquid syntax errors, missing templates, and performance issues.
There have been significant changes made to the existing Shopify CLI tool. Developers have been using the CLI to quickly generate Node.js and Ruby on Rails apps and app extensions, but Shopify has now widened the tool’s scope to include themes.
The Shopify CLI accelerates your theme development because it can now:
- Safely develop, preview, and test changes to themes inside of development themes
- Hot-reload CSS and Liquid section changes as you’re developing thanks to the new dev server
- Initialise a new theme project using our new theme, Dawn, as a starting point
- Push and publish themes from the command line
- Run Theme Check on your theme
- Populate test data for your theme, including products, customers, and draft orders
While there are still some bugs with specific integrations and Shopify will still be ironing out some issues, our team is looking forward to testing and working with all the new features and possibilities that Shopify’s Online Store 2.0 has to offer.
If you’re interested in exploring Shopify 2.0 and how it could help your Shopify store, why not get in touch? Our team will be happy to provide you with their thoughts and advice on how Shopify 2.0 could fit into your growth plans.
Click here to contact us today.