The Essential List of Resources for Shopify App Development

The Essential List of Resources for Shopify App Development

Editor’s note: This list of resources was first published in 2017. We’ve updated it for 2020 in response to our development community asking for a revised list of resources for Shopify App Development for both beginners and experts.

Part of the excitement of being a Shopify app developer is that there’s always a new merchant need springing up, new APIs to test out, and new tools to build with. Along with this wealth of possibilities, there’s also an abundance of resources to guide you along your app building journey.

So, we’ve compiled and curated the essential list of resources for Shopify app development. Whether you’re building a Shopify app for the first time, or you’re an experienced developer looking to grow your business, there are guides, blog posts, webinars, and documentation that can help you along the way.

Below is a list of recommended resources, starting with the basics of building Shopify apps, programming language toolkits and tutorials, how-tos about launching your app, articles from developers who have learned from their own experiences building their first Shopify app, as well as posts on supporting the merchants who will become your users. We’ve organized this list beginning with the start of your app development process, all the way to building up your app business.

Getting started with Shopify app development

The Essential List of Resources for Shopify App Development: laptop front view

Maybe this is your first Shopify app, or first app ever. If you’re a seasoned Shopify app developer, maybe this time you’re looking for hacks to simplify and streamline your app development process. Whatever the case may be, here are the resources we recommend you check out.

Shopify app building tutorials

So many developers have found success by building and launching a Shopify app that meets the specific needs of merchants operating in a variety of niches. Regardless of the programming language in which you choose to build, there are always ways to improve and master the app building process.

To help your app development go as smooth as possible, there are webinars, guides, and newsletters from trusted Shopify Experts to help walk you through every step of the way.

Getting started with APIs

Whether you’re making your first API call, or you’re an API expert who just wants to keep on top of changes and check responses times, check out these resources.

You might also like: 8 Merchant-Driven Ideas For Your Next Shopify App.

Development and testing

When interacting with an API, it’s crucial to ensure you’ve set up your API calls correctly and that your webhooks are fully functional for different traffic volumes. Check out some of our recommended tools for testing.

If you’re a front end developer working with Visual Studio Code, it helps to have a handy list of the best Visual Studio Code extensions. Or, if you prefer working with Atom, you can extend its functionality by exploring these Atom packages.

Encryption and security

Secure sockets layer, or SSL, is a requirement for all Shopify apps and therefore encryption is a mandatory step. Let’s Encrypt issued its billionth security certificate earlier in 2020 and is an excellent resource to help you secure your app and your users’ privacy.

Shopify has also introduced measures to make Shopify public apps more secure for merchants by ensuring that all new apps are reviewed and held to the same Shopify standard. This makes apps more secure for merchants while building trust in the developers who created them.

Finalizing and launching your Shopify app

The Essential List of Resources for Shopify App Development: finalizing and launching

Now, you’ve gotten the basics down (or have refreshed your memory and learned some new tips along the way). Your next steps in the app development process take you from hosting and front end development, to submitting your app to the Shopify App Store and launching it to your users.

App hosting

You know what you want to build and how you want to build it, you’re going to need a place to host it. Here are some great options to choose from.

Front end development

After the backend is built, it’s time to make sure that the front end of your app provides a great merchant experience. Even if you’re not an experienced front end developer, there are plenty of stylesheets, frameworks, and cheat sheets to assist with your build.

Check out our list of favorite Sublime text plugins for even more tools.

Submitting your app to the Shopify App Store

Think your app is just about ready to submit to the Shopify App Store? Great! In our submission documentation, we guide you through everything you need to know to get your app prepared and submitted.

Getting your app listed in collections within the Shopify App Store depends on the merchant niche your app supports. As merchants grow their businesses, their needs become more complex—particularly when they become Shopify Plus merchants. If your app fits the needs of those merchants, consider also applying to the Shopify Plus Certified App Program.

Launching and marketing your Shopify app

You’ve built your app, tested it, submitted it, and now it’s been listed in the Shopify App Store. Congratulations! It may seem like you’ve reached the finish line, but you haven’t reached the podium until you’ve attracted and retained happy users. Learn everything from the basics of marketing your app to getting paid to discovering how to get more app downloads in the Shopify App Store.

You might also like: Ads on the Shopify App Store: A New Channel for App Growth.

Helping your app succeed beyond launch

The Essential List of Resources for Shopify App Development: woman at computer

By now you’ve built, launched, listed, and marketed your new Shopify app, and you likely have quite a few happy merchants as users. Now, you can get even more creative when it comes to helping it succeed over the long term. Remember to keep your app users top of mind as you update and iterate your existing app, and start to build your next one.

Customer service and analytics

Keep your users happy by laying out an intuitive onboarding flow, maintaining a strategy for merchant support, and leveraging tools that help you stay proactive when it comes to understanding your audience and their possible pain points.

Shopify updates and connecting with other app developers

At this point, you’ll want to stay on top of any Shopify updates that will allow you to improve your app—or maybe you’re ready to develop some more. The resources below will help you stay in the know on Shopify updates, and will also help you connect with Shopify’s app development network.

Shopify app development: Always a work in progress

The stages of building a Shopify app are pretty straightforward, but they’re always a work in progress. There will always be areas where you can improve your development process. Shopify is regularly building and updating our own tools, platforms, forums, and frameworks to help you build faster and more successfully. That way both you, and the merchants who rely on your apps, are able to build, scale, and grow. 

What’s your next step when it comes to the app development process? Any resources you want to see? Let us know in the comments section below.


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