DTC Guides
Shopify Development Terms For Beginners
Rebekah
|
September 12, 2022

Becoming a Shopify developer can be an excellent way to unlock incredible opportunities building themes, apps, and websites for ecommerce clients. Shopify represents one of the most flexible and popular tools for website building in the digital age, but not every business leader has the time to fully master all the features and capabilities of the Shopify ecosystem. 

As a Shopify developer, you can build an expert knowledge of the Shopify landscape, and use it to deliver incredible outcomes for your clients. 

However, first, you’ll need to learn a handful of crucial terms likely to make an impact on your career. Here are just some of the key Shopify development terms you’ll need to know to thrive in your space.

Theme

Probably one of the most common terms you’ll use and see as a Shopify developer, a theme is the files used to control the look and performance of a Shopify store. From a technical standpoint, these themes usually combine Liquid (Shopify’s language), with JavaScript, CSS, HTML, and other image files for the “front end” of the website. 

Version Control

Most Shopify developers will create a multitude of different variations of ecommerce websites, themes, and apps over time, following feedback from clients. Although you can use themes to control your source code, you’ll be better-off storing your code base in a remote versioning environment, like Git or GitHub. 

Version control via repositories helps to ensure code stays organized, while reducing the risk of lost work, and providing an extensive insight into your code. If anything goes wrong, you can then easily switch back to an alternative version.

Responsive design 

Responsive design isn’t just a trend in the Shopify landscape today, it’s an essential tool in any developer’s kit. Essentially, this term refers to methods of building fluid layouts which shrink and grow as a user accesses a website on different devices. 

Responsive designs are essential in the modern world, as more customers are accessing websites and ecommerce stores from smartphones. 

Shopify Theme Gem

The Shopify development landscape is hosted in the cloud, so you can’t simply fire up a local instance of your software and do work locally. Instead, you’ll need to upload theme files and see what your designs look like online. 

The Shopify Theme gem is a tool which allows users to actively track a directory and upload files to your theme as saved files as you go. There’s even a GUI version which accomplishes the same thing, or you can simply use the terminal route. The Theme Kit is very similar to the Theme gem.

Liquid

Liquid is one of the most important terms you’ll need to understand as a Shopify developer. This template language is one of the primary programming tools you’ll use to create themes and Shopify experiences for your clients. 

Liquid has syntax, just like a traditional programming language, as well as logic, loops, and output. The solution also interacts with web-centric languages like PHP. However, the solution is built specifically for the Shopify environment. 

Snippets

Liquid Snippets are tools for breaking up the logic in your Shopify creation into a range of separate files. Many developers believe it’s better to have a multitude of snippet files, rather than a single markup that can be difficult to understand. 

Snippets can organize your content logically, so it’s easier to follow the markup and minimize repetition. You can use snippets whenever you want to reuse sections of markup in multiple files too, which can save some significant time. 

Shopify Ajax

Shopify Ajax is an API solution which can be used in the Shopify environment to implement actions like adding items to a cart or displaying selected products on a page without asking the buyer to refresh the page. There are a number of endpoints included in the Ajax API, including “update cart”. The use of the Ajax API can significantly improve customer experience.

Shopify Flow

Flow from Shopify is a no-code ecommerce automation tools to help minimize manual tasks for both merchants and developers. The simple drag-and-drop interface allows users to quickly and conveniently build workflow automations which reduce the need for repetitive tasks.

Flow’s logic is built on triggers, conditions, and actions, which work together to ensure certain actions are completed without human input. 

JavaScript

Although Liquid is one of the main programming languages you’ll use when working as a Shopify developer, it’s not the only language you should be aware of. JavaScript is a powerful tool for the Shopify landscape, allowing for the programmatic manipulation of browser windows. 

JavaScript allows developers to achieve common effects, like creating modal windows and dropdown menus, and performing complex operations, like making server requests without a page refresh.

Collections

Collections are an essential part of building an effective Shopify store or theme. Collections refer to how you group your products, and they’re often used to categorize items into certain segments, so it’s easier for shoppers to find what they need.

For instance, on a clothing store, you would use collections to separate lists of shoes, jeans, and tops into different segments for your customers.

Tag

A tag is another solution commonly used when adding products to an ecommerce website. It allows developers to assign options to products with a specific tag set. This can help to keep products organized at a higher level. For instance, you could tag a pair of shoes with the terms “red”, or “boots”. 

Variants

Variants are simply different types of the same product in a Shopify ecommerce website. For instance, the various sizes of clothing items sold on a clothing store might have different sizes and colors. Each color or size would be a variant. There are tools which allow you to update your store pages automatically when one variant of a product is sold out. 

Line Item Property

Line item properties gather further valuable customization information about the item your customer wants to purchase. A monogram would be gathered from a customer via a line item property, which can also be automated using certain templates. 

Payment gateway

A payment gateway is essentially a cash register for the digital world, connecting websites to credit card carriers so that it’s possible to complete credit and debit card transactions in real-time. You’ll need to add a payment gateway to all Shopify ecommerce websites. It’s possible to use Shopify’s own payment gateway, or a third-party solution. 

User Interface

The term user interface, or “UI” refers to the way you accomplish specific tasks within an application, website, device, or another computing system. This could include adding buttons, icons, feeds, or menus into the front-end of the website, so your users can more effectively interact with the Shopify creation. UI is important to improving customer experience, and conversion rates.

User Experience

User Experience, or UX highlights how a person feels when they’re interacting with something you’ve built for Shopify, whether it’s an app, theme, or website. Clients will always prioritize working with developers who can deliver a great user experience to end customers. The better the user experience, the more likely the company is to earn great conversions.

Getting to Know the Shopify Landscape

As the number of Shopify features and capabilities available for store owners and developers continues to expand, there are endless terms users will need to grow familiar with. Staying one step ahead of the competition with your understanding of the Shopify space will ensure you can delight your customers, and stand out as a Shopify Expert. 

7,93
15,86
23,8
31,73
39,66
47,6
55,53
63,46
71,4

Becoming a Shopify developer can be an excellent way to unlock incredible opportunities building themes, apps, and websites for ecommerce clients. Shopify represents one of the most flexible and popular tools for website building in the digital age, but not every business leader has the time to fully master all the features and capabilities of the Shopify ecosystem. 

As a Shopify developer, you can build an expert knowledge of the Shopify landscape, and use it to deliver incredible outcomes for your clients. 

However, first, you’ll need to learn a handful of crucial terms likely to make an impact on your career. Here are just some of the key Shopify development terms you’ll need to know to thrive in your space.

Theme

Probably one of the most common terms you’ll use and see as a Shopify developer, a theme is the files used to control the look and performance of a Shopify store. From a technical standpoint, these themes usually combine Liquid (Shopify’s language), with JavaScript, CSS, HTML, and other image files for the “front end” of the website. 

Version Control

Most Shopify developers will create a multitude of different variations of ecommerce websites, themes, and apps over time, following feedback from clients. Although you can use themes to control your source code, you’ll be better-off storing your code base in a remote versioning environment, like Git or GitHub. 

Version control via repositories helps to ensure code stays organized, while reducing the risk of lost work, and providing an extensive insight into your code. If anything goes wrong, you can then easily switch back to an alternative version.

Responsive design 

Responsive design isn’t just a trend in the Shopify landscape today, it’s an essential tool in any developer’s kit. Essentially, this term refers to methods of building fluid layouts which shrink and grow as a user accesses a website on different devices. 

Responsive designs are essential in the modern world, as more customers are accessing websites and ecommerce stores from smartphones. 

Shopify Theme Gem

The Shopify development landscape is hosted in the cloud, so you can’t simply fire up a local instance of your software and do work locally. Instead, you’ll need to upload theme files and see what your designs look like online. 

The Shopify Theme gem is a tool which allows users to actively track a directory and upload files to your theme as saved files as you go. There’s even a GUI version which accomplishes the same thing, or you can simply use the terminal route. The Theme Kit is very similar to the Theme gem.

Liquid

Liquid is one of the most important terms you’ll need to understand as a Shopify developer. This template language is one of the primary programming tools you’ll use to create themes and Shopify experiences for your clients. 

Liquid has syntax, just like a traditional programming language, as well as logic, loops, and output. The solution also interacts with web-centric languages like PHP. However, the solution is built specifically for the Shopify environment. 

Snippets

Liquid Snippets are tools for breaking up the logic in your Shopify creation into a range of separate files. Many developers believe it’s better to have a multitude of snippet files, rather than a single markup that can be difficult to understand. 

Snippets can organize your content logically, so it’s easier to follow the markup and minimize repetition. You can use snippets whenever you want to reuse sections of markup in multiple files too, which can save some significant time. 

Shopify Ajax

Shopify Ajax is an API solution which can be used in the Shopify environment to implement actions like adding items to a cart or displaying selected products on a page without asking the buyer to refresh the page. There are a number of endpoints included in the Ajax API, including “update cart”. The use of the Ajax API can significantly improve customer experience.

Shopify Flow

Flow from Shopify is a no-code ecommerce automation tools to help minimize manual tasks for both merchants and developers. The simple drag-and-drop interface allows users to quickly and conveniently build workflow automations which reduce the need for repetitive tasks.

Flow’s logic is built on triggers, conditions, and actions, which work together to ensure certain actions are completed without human input. 

JavaScript

Although Liquid is one of the main programming languages you’ll use when working as a Shopify developer, it’s not the only language you should be aware of. JavaScript is a powerful tool for the Shopify landscape, allowing for the programmatic manipulation of browser windows. 

JavaScript allows developers to achieve common effects, like creating modal windows and dropdown menus, and performing complex operations, like making server requests without a page refresh.

Collections

Collections are an essential part of building an effective Shopify store or theme. Collections refer to how you group your products, and they’re often used to categorize items into certain segments, so it’s easier for shoppers to find what they need.

For instance, on a clothing store, you would use collections to separate lists of shoes, jeans, and tops into different segments for your customers.

Tag

A tag is another solution commonly used when adding products to an ecommerce website. It allows developers to assign options to products with a specific tag set. This can help to keep products organized at a higher level. For instance, you could tag a pair of shoes with the terms “red”, or “boots”. 

Variants

Variants are simply different types of the same product in a Shopify ecommerce website. For instance, the various sizes of clothing items sold on a clothing store might have different sizes and colors. Each color or size would be a variant. There are tools which allow you to update your store pages automatically when one variant of a product is sold out. 

Line Item Property

Line item properties gather further valuable customization information about the item your customer wants to purchase. A monogram would be gathered from a customer via a line item property, which can also be automated using certain templates. 

Payment gateway

A payment gateway is essentially a cash register for the digital world, connecting websites to credit card carriers so that it’s possible to complete credit and debit card transactions in real-time. You’ll need to add a payment gateway to all Shopify ecommerce websites. It’s possible to use Shopify’s own payment gateway, or a third-party solution. 

User Interface

The term user interface, or “UI” refers to the way you accomplish specific tasks within an application, website, device, or another computing system. This could include adding buttons, icons, feeds, or menus into the front-end of the website, so your users can more effectively interact with the Shopify creation. UI is important to improving customer experience, and conversion rates.

User Experience

User Experience, or UX highlights how a person feels when they’re interacting with something you’ve built for Shopify, whether it’s an app, theme, or website. Clients will always prioritize working with developers who can deliver a great user experience to end customers. The better the user experience, the more likely the company is to earn great conversions.

Getting to Know the Shopify Landscape

As the number of Shopify features and capabilities available for store owners and developers continues to expand, there are endless terms users will need to grow familiar with. Staying one step ahead of the competition with your understanding of the Shopify space will ensure you can delight your customers, and stand out as a Shopify Expert. 

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