Should you Upgrade to Shopify 2.0? Benefits & Risks of Upgrading Your Theme
Here we are almost 1 year since Shopify 2.0 came out & one of the biggest questions we still get from merchants is whether they should upgrade to the latest 2.0 theme & also how easy is it to do this?
The good news is that if you purchased a theme that is now 2.0 compatible (you will see the badge on the theme store for each theme), then you get this upgrade for FREE. This is great because you may have previously paid $150 for the theme, which now costs double that.
The bad news is that upgrading is not as easy as on your phone when you make a software update. The more customized your store is (how much custom work was put into modifying your theme?), the more work it will be to switch over. But don't let that deter you! We definitely recommend to do it & suspect eventually EVERYONE will have to move over to 2.0 OS, so let's get ahead now!
Here are some BIG reasons why you SHOULD switch over to Shopify 2.0...
Shopify 2.0 Themes were launched in July 2021, with many benefits for both Developers & Merchants!
This update empowers developers, while at the same time, makes it even easier for merchants to leverage that power and build on their own storefronts.
1. Sections Everywhere
Content is still king (even Shopify seems to think so), & now Shopify has made it easier than ever to edit your own content. It gives you the power as a merchant to customize more of your shop without always needing to involve a developer. That means we can add sections to simple pages like the About page, whereas previously you were limited to an HTML textbox, you can now add dynamic sections to these pages.
How does this work?
Within the new JSON template files, you can define which sections should appear once your theme is first installed, and which order you want them to be in. Once the JSON template is added, you can navigate to the theme editor, and add any section that contains presets—it's the same as how you would add dynamic sections as you've been doing until now!
2. Flexible Product Content
Previously developers would have to hardcode metafields into pages, but we can say goodbye to that now! In case you don't know, metafields are extra data such as from apps that we can add to products, customers, orders and so on. For example if you have a special piece of content that is unique to each product page, you would use metafields app. Now this can be seen directly in the individual product page, making it easier for merchants to make changes - allowing them to quickly upload things like images or PDFs to product detail pages (PDFs).
How Does it Work?
- More flexible: Metafields have more flexible type system that will become more & more tailored to ecommerce data.
- Standard metafields: These metafields make it easier for custom themes to work out of the box on stores across different markets
- Presentation hints: Having presentation hints to metafields, allowing Storefront API and Liquid users to show merchant data with much less custom code.
3. Adding Apps & App Blocks
This update makes adding apps much easier for developers & merchants alike. We can also easily add the view of an app on the frontend with app blocks, which previously had to be done with a code snippet. And the best part is that now if an app is uninstalled, the ghost code will be automatically removed from the store, which previously was not the case & caused bulk unused code inside a theme.
How Does it Work?
App developers now build UI components that can be added/removed/configured directly in the frontend customizer of Shopify without having to touch theme code. As a theme developer, this modularity means no longer having to build integration logic for every existing theme as we test & build upon different themes.
4) Developer Tools
Better developer tools means as a merchant, your developer can work faster & in a much more error free way.
There is now a direct GitHub integration that connects directly with Shopify themes. If you are not using a code repository, you should really reconsider this because it's the only way to ensure your code is backed up. In case something breaks on your theme you can easily un-do it!
Updates to Shopify CLI has introduced fun developer tools. This is a tool that was always used by app developers to quickly generate Node.js & Ruby on Rails and app extensions. But now this has been expanded to help with theme development too. The coolest one we are excited about is the Theme Check!
Theme Check is a language server for Liquid and JSON that scans themes for errors and highlights Shopify theme and Liquid best practices. This tool can work with text editors such as Visual Studio Code & will identify various types of issues iwth theme code such as Liquid syntax errors, missing templates and performance issues.