An Exciting Look at New Features in Shopify
Last month's partner event included some exciting looks at Online Store 2.0, as well as some additional features and enhancements coming down the pipeline. While we continue to look forward to the future of custom headless shopping experiences, we thought it would be a good idea to break down some of our favorite upcoming features for customers running a Shopify theme-powered storefront. Let’s get into it.
Upgraded Theme Architecture
A new theme architecture means we finally get the launch of Sections everywhere! Finally, no more ugly workarounds to build amazing, customizable Shopify storefronts. We’ve always been big proponents of empowering our clients to do the work they want, and sections everywhere will open up a major opportunity for e-commerce managers to make those content decisions.
It also includes some underpinning technology that allows App developers to expose ‘App Blocks’ for use in your templates, giving stores the ultimate say in where those apps place content. Sweet!
Flexible Store Content
Finally, finally, finally, we’re getting some native tooling for working with metafields in Shopify! Many clients have used various apps, some better than others, but all deeply confusing. Finally, we can start to kiss this goodbye, and use a native platform solution for it! Metafields have been used for additional product/page content since they were first introduced, and we’re happy to see Shopify finally adding a native frontend to manage them.
There are, of course, some limitations currently that we’d love to see improved - namely, the use of some kind of repeating field setup. We currently use ACF to provide such functionality, but it would be great if there was a native way of handling repeated components.
There have also been some other enhancements to the file picker and file API, allowing for the re-use of existing files (and alt text for metafield images!).
Theme Editor Enhancements
The new default theme editor supports a split layout, offering you more information about the current page, item, or block that you’re editing. It’s great to see these additional features added to the theme editor, as it only further helps non-developers make changes to their existing site. You’ll also be able to add liquid code straight from the new editor, assuming your theme exposes it.
New Shiny Dev Tools
GitHub integration!!! We were using a custom GitHub action setup for this, but it’s finally natively supported to set up a theme using GithHub, and we couldn’t be happier. For those of you unfamiliar with GitHub, it’s a service that manages ‘versions’ of your code base. Soon we may finally have no more “Final - Final - V2” themes in custom themed storefronts!
Also new for developers, some significant changes to the Shopify CLI tool. We used ThemeKit with our aforementioned GitHub action for managing deployments, but it’s good to see even more tools being added to the CLI tool. It supports many new features, including things like:
- Hot-reloading CSS/Liquid changes
- Running Theme Check against your theme
- Populating test data for your new theme in scenarios where product data isn’t yet available
While this rundown isn’t completely comprehensive (check out the Shopify blog post here that runs into a bit more detail), we at Eightfold are excited to see what our clients can do with some of these new tools (and the ones that help us a bit too!). We’re also looking forward to some of the future technologies coming down from Shopify (a platform-developed starter for Headless Shopify? :exploding_head:)!