Merchants need to have full power over the look and feel of their website. No matter the channel, they must be able to deliver a unique user experience and tailor it for their customer base while creating a design that represents their brand. This growing business need for brands to deliver completely customized, dynamic, and creative buyer experiences across multiple channels also comes with increased developer demand for implementation flexibility.
Shopify is a commerce platform that scales with merchants at every stage, regardless of their maturity, technical resources, or complexity. Merchants can start with no code and get a full store up and running with just a few clicks. Then, they can tailor and scale their business through thousands of existing apps and themes from our ecosystem of partners and developers. Lastly, merchants can also bring the development expertise of their own teams or a partner to build unique experiences by taking a code-first approach.
The Storefront API is powering these unique shopping experiences that we call custom storefronts. In this article, we’ll cover some of the recent updates to the Storefront API, plus share a sneak peek of our vision in this space.
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Cart capabilities in the latest Storefront API version
Managing carts with the Storefront API wasn’t the smoothest experience in the past, as the only way to get real-time product availability, pricing, and discounts was to create or update a checkout, and it could present some challenges with your checkout throttle limit.
So we rebuilt the cart from the ground up for performance, reliability, and scale. It is powered by the same powerful primitives available at checkout, optimized to provide low-latency responses, and designed to scale without any storewide rate limits.
Now you can interact directly with carts using the Storefront API, allowing you to collect all of the contextual information about an order without creating a checkout until the customer is ready to pay. These carts are no longer tied to the checkout throttle, and instead, they respect the same throttle as every other request.
We first announced these improvements at Shopify Unite 2021, but needed input from the community before finalizing our approach to a cart endpoint. We want to thank our community for your continued support and partnership in making the product better, and would love to keep hearing from you in the future through the discussions in the Storefront API feedback GitHub repository. We’re continuing to refine not only the cart, but also other aspects of the Storefront API. You can stay informed by subscribing to the developer changelog for updates.
You might also like: Important Product Updates for Shopify Developers.
Product scheduled publishing: available now in beta
We recently shipped scheduled publishing for channels, allowing merchants to schedule products to be published at a date and time they can decide in advance. This feature is currently in private beta, and partners can get access from the Partner Dashboard.
With scheduled publishing, we are making it easier for merchants to set up product drops on their custom storefronts and other sales channels, while providing more consistent publishing capabilities across channels. On custom storefronts, the product will go live immediately at the specified date and time, without any intermediate review or validation process.
Schema updates for a simplified developer experience
Earlier this year, we announced at our Unite conference that we wanted to improve the developer experience of the Storefront API schema. With the 2021-10 Shopify API release, we took the first steps towards that goal by improving how individual resources are fetched, as well as introducing more consistency in field names and behaviors. You can learn more about these changes in our developer changelog.
We are also working on the following changes to the API that will be available early next year:
- No longer requiring Base64 encoding object IDs to match our other GraphQL APIs
- Cleaning up and removing previously deprecated fields
- Continuing to improve on field consistency and simplicity
You might also like: Shopify API Release October 2021.
Looking ahead: Hydrogen
The Storefront API is a powerful way of building these custom shopping experiences, and we want to make it as easy as possible for you to build with it. That’s why we are working on Hydrogen, our new web development framework optimized for commerce by Shopify.
Hydrogen will help accelerate your development process through pre-built React components, hooks, and utilities directly integrated with the Storefront API. All these pieces are built around Shopify data models for efficient data-fetching, saving you time and improving performance.
With Hydrogen, we will provide an opinionated set of development tools and workflow for a smooth developer experience that will help you get started quickly and get to market much faster.
Hydrogen will be available via a developer preview very soon, where you’ll be able to try it out and share your valuable feedback with us. Sign up now to receive updates on the upcoming developer preview and be amongst the first to get access and start building.
Learn more about the Storefront API and Hydrogen
The Storefront API allows you to build the innovative shopping experiences that customers all over the world want and expect. We’ve seen great examples from merchants at Shopify Commerce+ who are pushing the boundaries of innovation with custom storefronts, such as:
- Allbirds’ mobile app that lets customers try on shoes using augmented reality
- OffLimits’ animated characters and gamified checkout to make buying cereal fun
- ZSA’s advanced customization to personalize its ergonomic Moonlander keyboard
And very soon, we are making it easier than ever to get started with Hydrogen.
Learn more about the Storefront API and how you can continue to build custom storefronts:
- Sign up for updates on the upcoming Hydrogen developer preview.
- Register for the next edition of Partner Town Hall: it’s a Hydrogen takeover! Hear from the product and engineering team, submit your questions live, and see Hydrogen in action.
- Start building your custom storefronts with the Storefront API learning kit.
- Share your feedback on the Storefront API feedback GitHub repo.
How will you leverage the changes to the Storefront API? Let us know in the comments below.