Today we’re getting down to the nitty gritty of the latest Shopify Online Store update.
If you’re reading this as a Shopify developer, it’s likely that you’re already well aware of the recent upgrade and what comes with it. But if you’re not yet familiar, here’s an informative article that helps to break down the topic. (We recommend reading that article before proceeding with this post, as we’ll be building off of the essentials explained there.)
Once you’re caught up on what the Shopify Online Store 2.0 is, keep reading as we share some of our thoughts on the new upgrade and the changes that it brings.
When we first learned about Shopify Online Store 2.0, we were excited to hear that Shopify ‘Sections’ were getting a makeover, making it possible for them to be used on all pages.
One of our biggest bugbears with Shopify sections has always been that while it’s possible to add custom sections to a page, the sections remain fixed to the template, making it impossible to use the same custom sections for multiple pages. We’ve found that with each new page that a client creates, they have to create a new template to go along with it, causing an overall bloat in the theme as the number of templates grows.
Because of this, our 2.0 anticipation levels were high, and we really hoped that with the update, this limitation would finally be resolved. Unfortunately, we’re here to report that the limit remains.
While Shopify has added a new functionality, allowing for merchants to create their own custom sections on all pages from the admin, these sections are still fixed to the particular page template being used. It still remains impossible to customize sections in a truly universal way, where merchants can add unique section combinations, on multiple pages, that all utilize the same page template.
Bottom line: while the new ‘sections’ features do improve the usability of the previous system, they do not add anything to solve what we believe to be the biggest limitation overall.
But let’s focus on the good stuff, too! On a positive note: the introduction of ‘app blocks’ has proven to be a great way to address one of the main gripes that many merchants have had re: installing apps.
More often than not, merchants were finding it necessary to employ a developer to add code snippets to their theme - a totally trivial task for a developer, but understandably for a merchant, it came at an unwanted additional cost.
With this latest introduction of app blocks, Shopify has successfully given the power back to merchants to do this work themselves - a positive step forward for merchants and developers alike!
The new GitHub integration is a very interesting development, and one that we’re looking forward to fully exploring soon. We admittedly haven’t had time to dig in on a deeper level, so it’s still too early to give our final verdict, but we believe that anything that adds a layer of version control to Shopify is a positive addition!
And speaking of things we’re excited about: let’s talk about the changes we’re seeing to metafields.
Prior to the update, metafields were only editable with the use of third party apps – many of which (with all due respect to app developers) cost clients extra money, and proved challenging to those who weren’t very tech savvy. For these reasons, we often found ourselves opting for other bespoke methods that would allow clients to manage their own custom content.
But thanks to the Online Store 2.0 update, metafields are being brought fully into the Shopify core ecosystem - a fantastic step forward, in our opinion. With this update, clients can see metafields on the main editing screen, making them similar to Wordpress ‘custom fields’ in functionality, resulting in a marked improvement in usability.
Additionally, from a developer’s standpoint, being able to define a set of metafields per page is a huge benefit, as it allows clients to use any of the fields as needed for their content. Add in that all of this can now be done at a theme level without a third party app, and it’s a big win in our book!
As we all know too well, big updates come with positives and negatives. But we’re here to help you navigate how to use evolving tools and platforms, and empower you to find your way in this ever-changing digital landscape! Stay tuned for more thoughts on Shopify Online Store 2.0!