From the very first article I continue to dive deeper into nuances, principles and key players of the Shopify company. One of the key players from Shopify is Giuliano Bossi, Director of Engineering, Applications Platform. This is the guy with 25+ years of developing experience on Java, Scala, Ruby, Python, Javascript, C/C++, SQL, and his first LinkedIn job position dates back to 1989. Pretty significant, isn’t it?

He made an interesting speech on “DeveloperWeek 2020” and here is a short summary of important things.

Shopify was founded in 2004, and they’ve passed a long way from a small company to the massive E-commerce SaaS ecosystem.

At this point, Shopify states that they have more than 1M merchants and Shopify developers are making near 1000 commits/800 deploys per day. In 2018, Shopify declared that Shopify Partners overall revenue was ~$1.7B, and it was bigger than internal Shopify revenue, that is ~$1B, which is a good sign.

Types of platforms on the market

Developers platforms. Stripe, AWS, Azure, GCP, e.t.c. They have no direct interactions with consumers, they provide services directly to developers.

Marketplaces. Uber, Booking, Airbnb, e.t.c. They are made to connect creators and consumers.

“Product extension” Platforms. Apple, Salesforce, Shopify, e.t.c. Their purpose is to create an ecosystem, which will make the overall product better. For example, what would be, if Apple did not create a lot of useful apps, tools, to make iPhone a perfect smartphone to use? Without those apps and features, it would be a simple phone, right?

Apps are important

In 2013, the Shopify App Store included 100 apps and it was operated by a team of three (including an intern). And personalized phone calls were the method of choice for vetting app submissions.

https://www.shopify.com/partners/blog/story-of-the-new-app-store

Shopify has launched App Store in 2009. It looked like this:

The very first iteration of the Shopify App Store landing page. https://www.shopify.com/partners/blog/story-of-the-new-app-store

In 2012 an average merchant was using 1 app per store. In 2018 this number increased to 6 apps per store.

Giuliano says, that the apps are the important parts of their ecosystem, and the third party app developers are pushing the boundaries to make the whole platform better.

It is interesting to know, that a year ago Shopify App ecosystem was based on the interactions “Merchant-App-Shopify” and back.

Now, all interactions are made only through the Shopify with “Merchant-Shopify-App” flow. It is a completely different idea that provides Shopify with full control of the flow and merchant experience. Following this new approach, Shopify was able to integrate the apps in a better way not in stores only, but in POS and other areas.

Modern Shopify App Store look

In 2020 they’ve provided us with a new redesigned App Store, with hundreds of useful apps, Polaris library as a recommended tool for developing, an inner recommendational app service and a lot more.

API and API versioning

Shopify has launched the first version of API in the 2011. Now they release new version of API every quarter and each API version supports at least by 9 months. There is always some unstable API version with latest features to try on as well.

At this moment I can say, that GraphQL is the future of the Shopify APIs. They’ve announced it in May 2018. Since then it became the most effective and agile way to work. REST API can take place, but obviously, GraphQL is more effective in all ways.

Recap

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.

Charles Darwin (in spirit)

With this words, Giuliano Bossi emphasizes the idea, that Shopify is one of the most adaptable platforms in the modern E-commerce.

Author

Shopify developer