Shopify Mobile App Development

Tutorial for Building Your Shopify Mobile Application Using PHP (In Only Three Easily to Follow Steps)

If you have an eCommerce store on Shopify, you already enjoy the many benefits this platform offers. But there is a way you can increase your sales even further and get more use out of Shopify, and that’s by creating a Shopify mobile application.

Apps give your customers the freedom to shop from their mobile phones, these are easier to browse and mobile applications are generally faster than websites.

And the best part is that building your Shopify app with PHP is easier than you might think. We have extensive experience in creating mobile apps, so our tutorial can help you easily build your own Shopify mobile app.

But before we begin the tutorial, let’s cover some basics.

What is a Shopify mobile application?

Shopify mobile applications are iOS and Android friendly apps that offer your customers convenience in shopping and superior functionalities.

There are numerous apps on the Shopify app store that you can download. Some of these are free and the rest you have to pay for.

But if you are looking for a customizable Shopify app that satisfies your requirements, then you are better off building one from scratch or hiring expert developers to do it for you.

Shopify apps are not just for retail. You can build or download the apps for email marketing, running analyses on your sales, recording user experience, or finding dropshipping suppliers. To put it simply; there is a Shopify mobile app for essentially all functions this eCommerce platform has to offer.

Tutorial for Shopify App Development Using PHP

Shopify PHP App Tutorial

There are a few things you need to check off your list before building your Shopify apps, such as having a Shopify store and a Shopify developer/partner account for starters.

Here are the steps involved in building your Shopify app using PHP:

  1. Setting up your Shopify app in the partner dashboard
  2. Shopify PHP API integration
  3. Installing your Shopify app

The details of these three steps are as follows:

1.       Setting Up Your Shopify App in The Partner Dashboard:

The first step in your Shopify app development journey is to authorize your app and set up its authentication. Here are the details of this phase:

  1. Authorize, authenticate and add your app to your partner account on the Shopify dashboard. You can use the shopify_app library for this. The store owner needs to authenticate the app for you to work on it further.
  2. Acquire the API key and the API secret key; you will receive this after your app is registered and added to your dashboard.
  3. Host your app so you have access to it via a public address. (Public apps created on Shopify can be hosted on any developer hosting platform, just make sure they have an HTTPS).

The process to complete the aforementioned steps is straightforward. Here is the tutorial you can follow to build your Shopify mobile application:

  1. Once you log into your Shopify developer account, click on Apps in your navigation screen on the left.
  2. Fill in the required information, including app name, app URL, and whitelisted redirection URL(s) (this is the address where you will land after you successfully register and install the app).
  3. A screen will pop up with your API and API secret key.

2.       Shopify PHP API Integration

After developing your app the next step is to complete the API integration phase to link your app with your website and your main Shopify store. The most common API used to link your app with Shopify is the Admin API.

To begin this process, you must have the source files including inc, generate_token.php and install.php. If you don’t have these, download the API token file from GitHub and install them on your computer.

Follow these steps to continue building your Shopify app using PHP:

  1. Determine the URL of your store i.e. where the user of your app will be going and use that to assign a value to $_GET[‘shop’] in install.php.
  2. Remember the API key you generated in the last step? Use that now to set up your API key. If you have misplaced the key then go to your app set up in the dashboard and copy-paste your API value into your install.php script.
  3. You also need to change the value of the shared secret variable by getting the information from your dashboard.
  4. Use your generate_token.php file to change the variable $redirect_uri. It helps make your app more secure with HTTPS. You can find the address in your whitelisted redirection URL(s).

You can make other changes in the PHP script such as in the ‘scopes’ variable, but if it is your first time developing a Shopify mobile app or if you don’t need any additional functionalities then you are better off not altering it.

      3. Installing your Shopify Mobile App

For this step you need to:

  1. Visit your project/ store URL that you entered in the first step of this tutorial.
  2. Now add the variable shop in the address and run install.php to complete the final stages of building your Shopify app using PHP.

Pro tip: recheck the URL from the partner dashboard or else you will run into unnecessary roadblocks and waste time.

  1. Once that’s done, a message will pop up letting you know that your Shopify mobile app can be installed. If your app is unlisted, you might see a note saying that your app is not listed on the app store. That is nothing to worry about if you intentionally created an unlisted Shopify app using PHP.
  2. This screen will also show you the functions your Shopify app can perform. Usually, it includes managing products and shopping carts etc. You can change these functions to add more or remove some under the ‘scopes’ in your install.php script in the previous step.
  3. Click on the install unlisted app button at the bottom and your mobile app will be successfully installed!

You will receive an access token at the end of this step. You can choose to either store it in your database for the long term or use a MySQL query to save this value.

To confirm that your app is developed and installed successfully go to the dashboard 🡪 apps. It will show you the number of installs next to the name of your Shopify app.

Final Words

The Shopify mobile application development tutorial above is our tried and tested process, and you are sure to get great results with it. It is ideal for creating basic Shopify apps with limited features.

Building your Shopify app is a rather simple process. However, when you start adding sophisticated functionalities, extensions and layers of options; things can get complicated.

But that’s what we are here for. We have a team of experienced Shopify developers who can build a customized Shopify mobile application for you with the specifications you ask for.

Reach out to us to discuss your project and let us take care of all the heavy lifting so you can increase your sales and enjoy the benefits of a robust Shopify mobile app!

Waqas Ahmed is a senior PHP & Shopify web developer at ClickySoft’s development team. When not coding or writing for the web he spends his time watching sports & enjoying good food.