Shopify Glossary

Shopify Basics

What is Shopify?

A completely cloud-based and hosted Shopify is a complete commerce platform that allows you to set up, grow and manage your business by opening an online shop.

It is a subscription-based software that works by uniting all business commerce components into a single central command center.

Shopify Card
  • Founders: Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake
  • Founded: 2016
  • Written in: Ruby on Rails
  • Industry: e-commerce
  • Services: Online shopping
  • Website:
  • Active Businesses: over 1,700,000
Shopify Core Product

As a one-stop-shop, Shopify covers the following core functionalities to help you run your business:

  • Storefront

    - Hosted online store - Allows the users to own a customized hosted online store where they can sell products, post blog posts, and create web pages.

    - Shopify POS (Point-of-Sale App) - You can use Shopify POS to sell your products in person. Every Shopify plan includes a free POS Lite plan, so if you have a physical store such as markets, brick-and-mortar stores, pop-up shops, etc, you need to register your store to your admin and order accompanying hardware equipment.

  • Payment processor

    - Payment Processing - Shopify has integrated over 100 payment providers from around the globe, accepts all major payment methods, and sells in 133 currencies.

    - Shopify Checkout - Optimized for speed, customer experience, and conversion 24/7, Shopify Checkout is one of the most powerful checkouts with over 2.5 billion orders processed.

  • Shipping partner

    - Shopify users can customize the shipping setup that best works for their needs. They can set up fulfilling orders in bulk, arrange pickups with DHL and UPS, create USPS SCAN Forms, etc.

  • Back office

    - Mobile app - You can run your business from your mobile device.

    - Analytics and reports - Detailed insights on your visitors, and store performance.

    - The Shopify App Store - This app store provides numerous free and premium apps to extend and improve the functionality of your store.

    - Support - Shopify offers 24/7 customer support, with clear documentation, and educational resources.

Shopify Development Basics
  • Building Apps

    Shopify offers its platform, APIs, and many dev tools to help software developers to create apps that solve complex problems.

  • GraphQL and REST APIs

    Allow you to build apps and integrations that will extend the Shopify admin capabilities.

    GraphQL is an open-source data query and manipulation language for APIs, while REST APIs is an API that follows the design principles of the REST (representational state transfer architectural style).

    You can build Shopify apps in different languages and frameworks such as Node.js, curl, PHP, Python, Ruby, etc.

  • Building Themes

    Shopify allows developers to build different themes using the templating language Liquid along with CSS, HTML, JSON, and JavaScript. In this way, developers can shape the online store experience and improve it not only for merchants but also for their customers.

    Developed by Shopify’s CEO and founder Tobias Lütke, Liquid is a template language written in Ruby that now is available as an open-source project on GitHub. Used to load dynamic content, Liquid is the backbone of all Shopify themes.

  • Building Storefronts

    Shopify gives you the freedom to build a custom buyers’ experience by using their Storefront API. You can add Shopify to any website, apps, and video game. To build a custom storefront, you can use Hydrogen, a Shopify React-based framework for dynamic commerce. This framework provides everything you need to start and build fast to deliver a personalized shopping experience.

  • Seamless Integration

    App Bridge has many theme app extensions that allow you to easily embed different dynamic app features without using Liquid templates or coding. You can use Polaris to create a high-quality experience. Polaris is Shopify’s component library, and design system written in React.