Handling post-install tasks with the Shopify App gem

Recently I’ve been working hard on Promotable, our first public app for Shopify. Promotable needs to install a script tag for the store in order to make our pop-up appear. This could be done through a two step process by asking the store owners to click on an enable or activate button after they installed the application. I didn’t think that was the best user experience and wanted the tag to be installed automatically when the application was installed.

You might have a similar need if you’re application is going to start downloading data from the store upon installation.

In the original version of Promotable this wasn’t a problem because we used the OmniAuth gem directly and defined our own callback function. About a week ago we rebuilt the application using the shopify_app gem and it wasn’t immediately obvious how to handle this.
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Alternative Shopify theme stores

There was a discussion recently in the eCommTalk slack room about what happens to themes that Shopify doesn’t accept for the official Shopify Theme Store? Now just to be clear, we’re not only talking about themes that are rejected due to quality issues. Shopify can reject high quality themes for a lot of reasons including the design being too similar to an existing theme or having too many themes targeting a specific niche.

This discussion raised an even more important question about the existence of third party Shopify theme stores. WordPress has themes available via wordpress.org but you can also buy them from third party marketplaces like Theme Forest as well as independent authors who publish their own themes. Does this same ecosystem exist for Shopify?

It turns out the answer is yes! Here’s a list of marketplaces and independent authors selling Shopify themes.
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Promotable first preview

One of my goals for 2016 is to build two apps for the Shopify App Store. Work is well underway for the first of those, a marketing pop-up application called Promotable (short for Promotable).

Promotable allows the store owner to display marketing messages to visitors. Currently it supports three different goals (display announcement, collect email and click link) with fours different styles (welcome bar, modal pop-up, page takeover and slider).

The first version will have limited targeting options so that I can get it into the hands of real users as soon as possible. Development will then continue to add new targeting options. Other features that are a possibility include:

  • Product recommendation engine
  • Support for giveaways/sweepstakes
  • Support multiple marketing messages at the same time

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Goals for 2016

Today is the 1st of January. It’s a time when most people set their goals for upcoming year. I have two goals that I’m hoping to achieve by the end of 2016.

#1: Release two apps in the Shopify App Store

By the end of 2016 I want to have (at least) two apps in the Shopify App Store. Work has already started on building the first of them. While I don’t want to announce too many details today I can tell you it will be a marketing pop-up app. Store owners will be able to chose from a number of goals and pop-up styles to create the offer. At this stage I’m hopeful that I can have it in the app store as a beta app by the end of January.

#2: Launch a screencast series for Shopify store owners

Screencasts have become an increasingly popular way to learn new topics. In 2016 I plan to release a new screencast series for Shopify store owners. The videos will cover a mixture of how to do things using Shopify and more general marketing for ecommerce.

To find out as soon as it’s released sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of this post.

Embedded Shopify app redirects to admin after installation

I’ve just been building my first embedded app for Shopify. The installation process is a little different than the one used by non-embedded apps. For a few days it’s been bugging me that the app kept returning to the store admin dashboard after installation and when the session expired. It was clearly installing correctly and logging me in because the next click on the same link worked.

Well I finally sort it out today. It turns out that I had accidentally set shopOrigin: 'https://store-url.myshopify.com/' instead of shopOrigin: 'https://store-url.myshopify.com'. That trailing / was the cause of my grief. It resulted in Shopify redirecting to https://store-url.myshopify.com//admin/apps/some-id when it tried to put the app back inside an iframe. The double // in that URL caused Shopify to redirect to the store login page which sent the user on to the store admin dashboard because they’re already logged in.

Days of pain all for one little /