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Shopify OS 2.0 - Theme Update and the New Online Store 2.0

Shopify is undoubtedly one of the world leaders when it comes to eCommerce platform solutions. With total platform sales of roughly $200 billion in 2021, Shopify is a popular choice for small, large, and enterprise-level businesses. The platform allows any business to create an online shop, personalize the user experience, optimize, and ultimately enjoy high sales volumes. You can choose from different subscription levels such as the Basic, standard Shopify, Shopify Advanced, or Shopify Plus.

And although its capabilities are outstanding, there were still some limitations that users could experience. Today, these limitations have been omitted by the introduction of Shopify Online Store 2.0. In this article, we’ll look at everything you need to know about Shopify 2.0 theme development and how to take advantage of it for your business. 

Shopify 2.0: A quick overview 

As with any other upgrade, the Online Store 2.0 provides an extensive list of innovative features and new themes for merchants using the platform. The update makes stores even more customizable, it turns editing into a whole new experience, and more. Shopify 2.0 comes with a brand new editor that allows you the freedom to create new and exciting page layouts, storefronts, and integrate apps anywhere on the store. You’ll also be able to add customizations to the structure of any page (aka “sections everywhere”), as opposed to just the homepage, as it was before.

You’ll enjoy faster speed, a ton of new tools, and features that can ultimately change your store for the better. In a nutshell, prepare for consistency, dependability, and an unmatched development experience.

The Main Changes 

All of this sounds exhilarating, and it truly is. But let’s dive deeper and explore the changes in more detail.

A new theme architecture 

Shopify 2.0 comes with flexible customization opportunities that merchants can take advantage of when it comes to theme architecture. Users are now able to include customizable sections across all pages and not just the home page, dramatically improving user experience and making every store unique. There are also new theme app extensions for developers which help merchants to extend apps to themes using app blocks and not having to use code.

More flexibility

If we had to answer the question of what is a Shopify online store 2.0, we’d have to say one thing - flexible. Merchants can add metafields and different properties with zero reliance on API or code. You can add any content you need on a product page. The developer journey has also been enhanced by making metafields more flexible, adding presentation hints to metafields, and introducing standard metafields. They also support different media types, and more. 

Theme editor improvements

Rather than requiring merchants to search across different sections, the theme editor in Shopify 2.0 presents a tree view of a page’s content in a sidebar. From there, you can hide blocks and make arrangements to the hierarchy of a page easily. The editor has also been enhanced with a new Liquid input setting turning the addition of Liquid code to pages a piece of pie. In other words, you won’t need to manually change a theme’s code anymore. 

A new set of developer tools 

Developers can build apps and themes in a whole new way with Shopify 2.0. The tools that stand out are:

  • Shopify GitHub integration - turns the development and maintenance of themes much simpler and easier to track. It also makes collaboration between developers easy and safe. 
  • Shopify CLI - makes theme development faster and easier by providing a range of enhancements like populating test data for your theme, hot-reloading CSS and Liquid section changes, and more. 
  • Theme Check - a language server for Liquid and JSON that inspects themes for problems and recommends best practices. 

The release of Dawn

Dawn is a new reference theme that combines all of the amazing new features of the Online Store 2.0. It loads 35% faster when compared to Debut and comes with a tone of upgrades.

How to update to Shopify 2.0

So the big question for most people is how to upgrade to Shopify 2.0. Do Shopify themes update automatically? Can you update your theme to 2.0?

Updating your theme is a simple process. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

For starters, the term ‘update’ could be misleading. What do we mean?

When you run the upgrade, a fresh copy of the latest version of your theme is added to your Themes section. This fresh copy is a blank slate and won’t store any of your previous changes on it. The edits you've already made will not be deleted. Instead, they will be stored on the old copy of the theme or the current live version of your store. In other words, the process is in fact an installation of a fresh copy of your theme, with the latest version.

It also implies re-doing all the changes you've made on your older theme to the freshly installed one from scratch. This is necessary as there is no way to combine the two themes or to "move" your changes onto the new one (the code isn't entirely compatible) between the two versions.

We normally recommend working with themes from Out of the Sandbox and Pixel Union. They have created the Theme Updater app. It could cover a large portion of the data entry work depending on the actual theme versions and the number of customizations within the initial theme. However, the app doesn’t support updating from the initial versions to the new OS 2.0 and this all needs to happen manually. So it would help only if you update a theme that is already using the OS 2.0 version going forward.

Shopify Sections Everywhere

Why you should upgrade 

You may be asking yourself if you really need to upgrade to Shopify 2.0. Your store could be performing just perfectly the way it is now, right?

Well, by the end of 2022, it will be mandatory for all themes in the Shopify Theme Store and for all apps in the Shopify App Store to use the new infrastructure. The goal behind this new regulation will be to fully optimize the capabilities of Shopify stores and to dramatically improve the flaws that Shopify users have stumbled upon. The upgrading process could be quite burdensome and time-consuming, especially for less experienced users and even developers.

We are here to help you go through the journey and continue offering the outstanding user experience your customers are used to. If you want to know how to update to Shopify 2.0, simply get in touch with our specialists and let us help. 

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