How To Set Up A Local Shopify Theme Development Environment?

Alex Bayer
9 min readDec 1, 2022
How To Set Up A Local Shopify Theme Development Environment?
How To Set Up A Local Shopify Theme Development Environment?

What is Shopify Development? What is the Shopify theme kit?

Shopify constantly strives to make E-commerce and selling easier for businesses of all kinds, irrespective of how they operate and what they sell. As the saying goes, one man can’t do it all, so he makes friends. Shopify enables third-party developers in order to make sure that it is providing everything. These third-party developers are called Shopify Partners. Their job is to create apps, build themes from scratch, and take care of other integrations that have been built around the foundation of what is a big name in the business field today — Shopify.

Shopify development and theme integration are usually performed by a Shopify Theme Editor, which is an online job. This online editor serves the purpose in the initial phase. But if you are working on the themes regularly and every day, your go-to option should be local Shopify production. The job of a Shopify Theme is to control how your online store looks and feels to the users. It is an excellent tool if you are looking to expand and grow your Shopify store and has multiple benefits and kinds.

Types of Shopify Themes

Free Shopify Themes

You can install a theme for free on Shopify if you’re a business owner. Free Shopify themes are ideal for start-ups, small businesses, and non-profit organizations. You may get a lot with free themes. Responsive design, product filters, swatches for displaying product colors, and so on. They also allow you to personalize the business according to your preferences and demands. Don’t worry if you choose a free theme! You may still customize the typography, colors, and layout of your web pages. It’s a wonderful alternative for folks new to the eCommerce sector because free themes cost nothing. However, there are certain disadvantages to using free Shopify themes. They have a simple design and don’t have any additional features. It would also be wonderful if they provided more free themes.

Custom Shopify Themes

Custom themes are created from the ground up to meet the demands of the company. The advantage of bespoke themes over other themes is that they distinguish your shop from the competition. A custom-made Shopify theme is costly since it is created from the ground up by the developer. However, if you can manage your own coding department, develop one for your company. Custom Shopify themes, on the other hand, require time to create.

Premium Shopify Themes

Paid themes are sometimes known as premium themes. You must pay your hard-earned money to install a premium theme. It is, however, worthwhile for your Shopify store. The themes that are available for free are fantastic. This is especially true if you’re just getting started or don’t want to spend a lot of money on themes. However, as your company grows and your inventory expands, you’ll need a more powerful theme. Premium themes come with extra features to help you operate a successful website. Paid themes come with additional functionality. Live chat assistance, a newsletter pop-up option, a page speed enhancer, up-selling features, and more!

Benefits of using Shopify themes

Shopify Themes add a time-saving method to help you design the E-commerce website of your dreams. With Shopify themes, all you need to set up a beautiful-looking website is a few minutes and several clicks.

Here are the top benefits of using Shopify themes.

#1 They are cost-effective

Shopify themes are such a better replacement for hiring web developers and designers because of the liberty of choice they provide, along with the affordability. Once you learn how to play around with the various tools and services provided by Shopify, you will find it easier to design your own store according to your requirements. And all this can be done for free! Shopify themes save you from the hassle of building your website from scratch, and even if you opt for a premium theme (which will, of course, cost you a few dollars), you still are doing the entire task at a much better cost as compared to the alternatives.

#2 Mobile-friendly

Website creation was not as simple as it is now in previous decades. The website has to be built in two versions. One is for desktop users, while the other is for mobile users. It necessitated the creation and maintenance of two websites. Developers may change the website to fit different screen widths using responsive web design. However, this meant that the developer would have to pay a more notable fee. Mobile responsiveness is a no-brainer with Shopify themes. The majority of the themes work on a variety of screen sizes. As a result, you won’t have to work too much to make your website mobile-friendly. Many Shopify themes are mobile responsive, which means they adapt to any screen size without affecting the aesthetic or functionality of the website.

#3 Freedom to customize

We know how many business owners think themes mean a fixed design that will very likely be used by some other business too, and you’ll end up on the receiving end of cons. Here’s the utter truth, Shopify themes provide you with a template that you can workaround. These are completely customizable, and you can add or remove certain aspects according to your needs and to suit your requirements. Sometimes, you might need a developer for the job, especially when you yourself aren’t winning it. But with trial and error, you can get there.

#4 Prompt Implementation

Within several minutes, you can set up your store and take it live to start selling your products. Of course, for traffic to start pouring and your marketing tactics to work, you will need a little more time and patience. Once you have established yourself as a brand, there will be no looking behind.

#5 Easy to use

when you start building your website from scratch, there is so much time and skills that you need to even create a simple-looking result. You require technical knowledge about codes and errors as well. With Shopify, all this becomes secondary. You can come with just a dream and a zeal, and Shopify will take care of all your installation and customization needs. You can set up your website by choosing the right theme and personalizing the colors, fonts, and many other things according to your requirements.

Choosing the right Shopify theme for your business

Picking the right theme for your business requirements depends upon a spectrum of factors. It goes unsaid that each business is different, and hence the needs of a particular business may or may not be similar to that of another. In addition, there will be different products and catalogs depending on the industry in which you are willing to establish a business. Finally, it is also important that you are satisfied with the design and the look of your website. Only then will you be able to be confident about convincing your target audience to stay on your website.

So, there is no standard rule that defines whether you should select a free or a premium theme and which design to choose for your business. But here are a few aspects to ponder over so that you choose nothing less than the perfect Shopify theme for your business.

Time

You may develop a custom theme if you have the time and want a distinct appearance for your store.

Budget

If you don’t have any money to spare, free themes will suffice. However, if you have the funds, we recommend investing in a premium theme. It will provide you with a variety of interesting features.

Catalog Dimensions

You may upload a modest collection with free themes. However, with a vast inventory, it may not operate properly. In such a situation, premium themes will assist you in presenting your items in a pleasing manner.

Shopify Development — The offline options?

Because you don’t have to install anything on your computer, the online editor is fantastic. From the main “Shopify Admin” menu, you can use the Theme Editor, which allows you to make quick changes to your theme. In addition, local Shopify production enables you to connect with the Shopify app using any of your favorite development applications.

How may Shopify themes be created on a local level?

Themes for Shopify can also be created locally. To create a local planning environment, take the following steps:

  • Install the Store Theme Kit if you haven’t already.
  • Obtain API access.
  • Using a theme collection to create a new theme or alter an existing theme.

These are elaborated further.

Installing Shopify Theme Kit

If you’re using Mac or Linux, the following installation script will automatically download and update the Theme Kit for you.

curl -s https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Shopify/themekit/master/scripts/install

Homebrew

If you have homebrew installed, you may update the Theme Kit using the command below.

brew tap Shopify/shopifybrew install theme kit

Windows Installation

You should follow the methods outlined for Windows.

  1. Begin by creating a new folder called Theme Kit in C:\Program Files.
  2. Then download, extract, and paste the Theme Kit into the folder.
  3. Add C:\Program Files\Theme Kit to the PATH setting.
  4. Run the theme in cmd.exe to see if the installation was successful.

Setting up API credentials

Linking the local theme to your Shopify shop is the second step in permitting local Shopify production. Again, API credentials are required for this: key, password, and theme ID.

Theme Kit uses your API login to gain access to your shop and any theme files you have on your server. Follow these simple steps to get an API credential:

  1. Sign in to your account and save the admin information.
  2. Go to the “Apps” section.
  3. “Manage Private Apps” is the first option to click, followed by “Create a new private app.”
  4. Fill up the title “Private App Name.”
  5. Under “Emergency Developer Email,” please provide your email address.
  6. Select “Read and write access” under “Theme templates and theme assets” in the Admin API section. You won’t be able to receive the relevant credential without it.
  7. Finally, press the “Save” key.

A pop-up will appear, warning you that you are going to establish a new set of API credentials for usage in your business and advising you to keep them safe. Select “I understand, build an app” from the drop-down menu. Under the “Admin API” portion, an API credential will be generated.

How can I download the theme?

You’ll need to build a config.yml file so that you have everything you need to start growing Shopify locally. This file serves as a vital link between the local environment and your store’s theme. You need first establish a local directory and then enter it. You’ll also have to follow a set of instructions.

Building a theme from the square one

If you wish to develop a theme from the ground up, use the command line:

Theme new –password=your-password –store=your-store.myshopify.com –name=” New Blank Theme”

Configuring existing theme

To link to an existing theme, you’ll need the theme ID number. The simplest approach to obtain the theme ID number is to open the Theme Editor and choose Edit HTML/CSS, then copy the theme ID number from the URL — the final few numbers following mystore.myshopify.com/admin/themes/.

Now that a link to the Shopify theme has been created, you can go ahead and double-check everything.

Theme watch

This tells Theme Kit to log and push any changes you make locally to the theme. To turn it off, use Ctrl + C.

The Bottom Line

When you’re first getting started with Shopify, one of the first things you’ll want to do is choose a theme for your store. The appropriate theme might help you achieve your goals. You’ll want to go with an appealing and easy-to-navigate design since it will improve the user experience, which will lead to more sales and a better reputation for your company. However, if you pick the wrong theme, many people who might have bought something else would leave instead. The Shopify platform gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to customizing your theme, so you may alter the color palette, rearrange the sections, and make other changes to give your store a unique look. This was all from our end.

Best wishes on the launch of your business on Shopify! You can also connect with Shopify Plus developers in case of any assistance is required

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