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
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.
- Build a Shopify App with Node and React
- The Shopify App CLI: A Tool to Help You Build Faster
- Shopify Partner Session Webinar: How to Build Your First Shopify App
- Building a Public Shopify App with Ruby and Sinatra
- How to Build a Shopify App in One Week
- Online Course: Mastering Shopify Apps – Gavin Ballard
- Using Shopify App Bridge to Build Faster, More Functional Apps
- Introduction to App Extensions
- Shopify Developer Tools
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.
- Introducing API Versioning at Shopify
- Building a Public Shopify Application
- Supported Libraries
- Shopify's API Changelog
- Shopify’s Status Page (includes a graph of the average API response time)
- Bill for your App with the GraphQL Admin API
- Manage Webhooks with the Admin API
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.
- How to Authenticate Your Embedded App in the Shopify Admin
- Debug your App with Shopify App Bridge
- Research 101: How to Conduct Market Research for Your App
- NGROK – Secure Tunneling
- Postman (a tool for sending HTTP requests to Shopify API endpoints)
- Request Bin (to view webhooks)
- Making API calls with Paw
- Handling Shopify Webhooks Without a Server
- The Shopify GraphQL Learning Kit
- How to Build Multilingual Shopify Apps
- How to Build Point of Sale Apps Using Shopify App Bridge
- Order Editing: What This Means for Shopify App Developers
- How to Use Relative Pagination In Your Application
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.
- Trust and Security on Shopify’s Platform
- How to Rotate or Revoke API Credentials
- Built on Trust: Making Apps More Secure for Merchants
- Free SSL Certificates for Your Shopify App
- Web Security Fundamentals: What Every Developer Should Know
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.
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Finalizing and launching your Shopify app
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.
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.
- Polaris – Shopify’s Official Design System and UI Kit
- User Testing Your Shopify App: Public App Use Cases You Should Test
- Introducing New Updates to Polaris: More Ways to Build a Great App UI
- Shopify’s Liquid Cheat Sheet
- Helio (formerly known as Verify) is an app that helps you get feedback on your design work
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.
- Shopify App Submission Guidelines
- A Step-by-Step Guide on How we Optimized our App Listing in the Shopify App Store
- Guidelines and Resources for Getting Listed in the Shopify App Store
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.
- Getting Paid: An Overview of Shopify App Billing Cycles
- How to be Successful on the New Shopify App Store
- How to Get More App Downloads in the Shopify App Store
- How to Brand Your Shopify App to Earn More in the App Store
- Essential App Marketing: 11 Ways to Successfully Promote Your App
- Getting Started with Shopify App Store Ads
- How to Create Ads 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
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.
- How To Improve Your Shopify App’s Onboarding Flow
- Expert Advice on How to 10x App Support
- How to Build an Effective and Friendly App Support Process
- Customer Service Strategy: How to Build, Augment, and Scale Your Support Offering
- What App Developers Need to Know About GDPR
- Build and Improve Apps Using App Analytics
- 4 Ways to Provide Great Customer Service Immediately After Your App is Downloaded
- Replying to Reviews in the Shopify App Store
- How We Built Out Our Reporting Dashboard with Shopify Polaris
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's Changelog
- Shopify's Developer Changelog
- Shopify’s APIs and SDKs forum (Shopify Community)
- Shopify on Stack Overflow
- 5 Ways to Stay Informed as a Shopify App Developer
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.
Build apps for Shopify merchants
Whether you want to build apps for the Shopify App Store, offer custom app development services, or are looking for ways to grow your user base, the Shopify Partner Program will set you up for success. Join for free and access educational resources, developer preview environments, and recurring revenue share opportunities.Sign up