If we take a glance at ecommerce and its trends in the last few years, it has evolved at an unmatchable pace. And so do the technologies and platforms to cater ecommerce businesses. One of such platforms is Shopify.
Shopify released Online Store 2.0 in 2021, which has a vast number of updates to refine Shopify theme architecture and content customization. It also paid attention to developers' tooling enhancement. It made theme customization easier than ever before.
Lately, in 2022, Shopify launched Functions in its first-ever Shopify edition showcase. The function is a tool to extend and customize Shopify’s core functionality with custom code. It shows, how gradually and impressively Shopify is transforming to offer incredible experience to its merchants and shoppers.
Let’s learn more about Shopify Functions and see how it helps in Shopify customization.
All new Shopify Functions
This is obvious that merchants cannot tackle all the technical issues themselves and they need developers/professionals’ help to extend the functionality of the Shopify store. Shopify Functions is helpful for developers in extending Shopify’s server-side business logic using custom code. Shopify Developers can easily introduce micro-customizations using Functions and do not need to bother hosting, securing, and maintaining code.
As we know, a traditional ecommerce store consists of three important facets - frontend, backend, and database. So do Shopify has. But previously, its frontend was customizable using Hydrogen and Liquid themes and database access was available with the help of APIs and Metafields. Whereas the backend had restrictions and those limitations were the hindrances in customizing the Shopify store’s functionalities.
But after introducing Functions, Shopify made backend customization easier. Using Functions, developers can easily extend and replace the important parts of backend code by injecting custom code. It implies you can have complete flexibility of this open-source platform without any limitations.
Furthermore, developers are allowed to write, configure, and deploy Functions using Shopify CLI to publish them as apps in App Store. Albeit Shopify Functions is available for all its users, only Shopify Plus users can develop Shopify apps and use custom apps. All other users can access the Functions via apps available on the Shopify App Store.
Advantages of Shopify Functions
Are you eager to know the advantages of new Shopify Functions? Here they are:
Impeccable User Experience
Functions work with native Shopify functionality that enhances the UX of the store. For example, if a merchant installs discount apps that are built using Functions, they will be allowed to create complex conditions and combine custom discounts with Shopify’s default products, orders, and shipping discounts.
Moreover, whatever new discounts are being created using Shopify Functions will also show up on merchants’ Shopify analytics dashboards, which is not so like traditional Shopify. This feature is unique to Functions.
Simpler and easier customization
This is one of the biggest advantages of Shopify Functions. A developer can build Functions-based apps and share them with many merchants through Shopify App Store and merchants can install these apps to extend their store without taking any expert help. They can also customize their store without working on codes.
Quick and Scalable
Functions are made and deployed on Shopify’s global infrastructure, which makes it extremely scalable, and users (merchants) can execute Functions at a blazing fast speed irrespective of the volume of traffic or the size of the store sale event. Furthermore, they do not need to bother about securing and optimizing Functions. Shopify maintains and updates Functions regularly. Thus, merchants can focus on their ecommerce business.
Exclusive features for Shopify plus users
Shopify Plus users can write their Functions and distribute them to their store in a custom app. Every type of discount, shipping, and payment use case is available there for Shopify plus users. They can generate specific niche or advanced use cases to build the store functionality.
Lifecycle of Custom Shopify Functions
The creation of Functions needs three key components that are Input, Function logic, and Output.
Input – is a GraphQL query that is based on Shopify’s cart API. Input can store and retrieve data by querying Metafields.
Function logic – is the code written in any language that compiles to WebAssembly to enhance and extend Shopify’s functionalities.
Output – is a GraphQL schema-based data that helps to indicate Shopify’s operations.
Developers use these three components in their local environment and create Functions. Once Functions get built, developers can use App Bridge and React to create a user interface for merchants. And then they deploy the Functions to an app leveraging the Shopify CLI, which is available for merchants on the Shopify App Store to be installed.
Whenever a merchant installs the app (built on Functions), the Functions deploy on the ShopifyVM platform and attach to a data model. And when a customer interacts with Store’s frontend, Shopify executes the Functions using the logic described in its code. Find out this essential checklist to launch your Shopify store.
What is the difference between Shopify Scripts and Functions?
Scripts were introduced in 2016 by Shopify to allow merchants to customize Shopify store’s checkout. And then in 2021, they released Scripts V2 which improved its overall performance and experience using WebAssembly.
Though Scripts got updates recently, still it had a few drawbacks and one of them was its availability. Scripts were only available for Shopify Plus users. Therefore, only a limited number of users were using Scripts for customizations.
Another issue was, Scripts were written using Ruby API. So, users needed to know Ruby for the Shopify store’s customization. Whereas Shopify Functions was made keeping all these and other problems in mind. Functions broke all the limitations and offer a better way of customization to extend your store.
The best part is developers can write Functions in any language that compiles on WebAssembly. And the Metafields permit merchants to customize the Functions behaviour. Most importantly, Functions is way faster than Scripts, which results in an amazing performance of the store even on Black Fridays when store traffic becomes unmanageable, but Functions manage it very well with no glitches. Additionally, Functions is available for everyone, but Shopify plus users get added advantages (as mentioned above).
Extend Shopify store’s functionality using Shopify Functions
The Functions are built to extend Shopify’s backend logic and create one-of-a-kind shopping experience. You can integrate Functions with Shopify admin without any trouble. Once Functions is integrated with admin then complex coding is not your problem.
Users like Functions because it brings outstanding customization options for their Shopify stores and that too with the ease of working. You can enjoy the seamless UI of Shopify and no need to bother about the technicalities of maintaining code.
With Shopify and with the help of expert developers, you can extend customization for discounts, shipping, and payment methods; for features like shipping rates, programmable order routing, checkout, cart validations, return validations, and much more.
Developer documentation will help you to build functions or seeking professional help will be beneficial. A professional can help you customizing the Shopify store by creating scripts and using Functions’ capabilities as per your requirements.
Skynet Technologies is your go-to solution for all your Shopify needs. We build blazing-fast websites and also knit along the marketing strategies to create buzz for your store. Our highly reckoned Shopify development team has a proven record of accomplishment of anticipating the potential pitfalls and offer solutions to get past them. Whether you are looking for Shopify development, Shopify design, Shopify migration, version upgrades, integration, redesign, Shopify maintenance or support, you are at the right place!