Advantages of Shopify Backend

Advantages of Shopify Backend

Welcome to Shopify

A simple Shopify website can theoretically change themes as often as desired. ClinicalPosters uses extensively customized Symmetry by Clean Themes (Update: Prestige). One of the out­stand­ing benefits is the drop-down product boxes. This enables shoppers to add multiple products from a single collection page of products.

Any theme you use includes global and page-level style settings to control color, font selection and a few other options. Third-party apps generally charge a monthly fee to enhance site features beyond standard theme settings.

Users familiar with HTML5, CSS3, jQuery, JavaScript and the proprietary Shopify Liquid programming language (or are willing to learn) can customize a theme. Considerable code changes make switching themes improbable. At this point it is more likely that updates are limited by theme settings. Though not perfect, the Shopify advantages are many. Here are the highlights.

  • Strong firewall
  • Shopify-brand and 3rd-party themes
  • Relative ease to get started
  • Plug-in architecture
  • PCI DSS and GDPR compliance
  • Multiuser logins
  • Modern programming
  • Mobile Shopify app
  • Mobile browser support
  • Inventory management
  • Data backup solutions
  • Customer management system
  • Cloud-based editing
  • 24/7 technical support

The Feedburner RSS feed for publishing blogs is outdated. Smart RSS Feed is a third-party app that somewhat fills the void for a monthly fee. A significant disadvantage to platform migration is redirection of former URLs for articles and products. Former inbound links can be redirected with Shopify tools but Google ranking may still suffer.

Feedburner RSS Blog Settings on Shopify
Blog RSS settings. Update: Improvements to default RSS have been made.

Following the initial migration, ClinicalPosters has been busy customizing the environment while reformatting prior blog content and adding new products. The modern platform was essential for meeting the GDPR deadline in May 2018. Third-party app developers make it possible for a wholesale and retail site to coexist on one domain. Customers may login to a personalized experience and pricing tier.

The underlying code has also been significantly modified with more responsive layouts and controls. This means position and visibility of elements change based on available screen size. For example, with desktop screens of 27 inches or more, featured blog images at the top of the page simulta­neously stretch and crop to a maximum depth. Otherwise they could get so deep that visitors must scroll multiple page heights to begin reading text.

Notice how vastly the settings have improved for just these three of many page types.

As new smartphones increase in size, their screen pixel dimensions can mimic desktop computers. This can challenge distinctions between mobile and desktop browsing appear­ance. Simplifying the small-screen mobile experience speeds up page loads, until G5 cellular becomes ubiquitous.

Enhance Settings By Modifying Schema

Original Shopify Theme Page Settings
Screenshots: Original page settings.

Theme page settings vary. You can delve into Liquid code for more extensive layout modifications. It is possible to dynamically display page objects based on screen width, templates, whether a user is logged in and many other variables. Section blocks, created within backend schema, also allow the site owner to rearrange elements on the home page.

A theme developer decides whether to enable a feature or not, how many items to display, and where to place objects on a page. This is where the user-friendly administration-accessible page settings are enhanced by modifying schema.

Code: Sample schema
{% schema %}
  "name": "Blog pages",
  "settings": [
    "type": "header",
    "content": "Header area"
    "type": "checkbox",
    "id": "show_tagline",
    "label": "Show blog tagline",
    "info": "Screens over 979px",
    "default": true
    "type": "text",
    "id": "tagline",
    "info": "Overrides meta description",
    "label": "Blog tagline"
    "type": "checkbox",
    "id": "show_social",
    "label": "Show social sharing",
    "default": false
    "type": "header",
    "content": "Text formatting"
    "type": "checkbox",
    "id": "show_blog_text",
    "label": "Show blog text",
    "default": true
    "type": "range",
    "id": "truncate_blog_int",
    "min": 10,
    "max": 50,
    "step": 10,
    "label": "Number of visible words",
    "default": 30
 }{% endschema %}

Since our extensive backend work is not always visible from the user’s perspective, here is a peek behind the curtain, so to speak. Notice how vastly the settings have improved for just these three of many page types. As you can see, the number options within the same three settings panels have considerably increased. Settings for product pages, collections and other pages have been similarly enhanced.

Customized Shopify Theme Page Settings
Screenshots: Modified page settings.

Though still controlled from the backend, the panels allow administrators to alter appear­ance without touching the underlying programming code. Programmers, on the other hand, can determine how to optimize responsiveness of selected choices for desktop and mobile browsers.

Three Major Website Overhauls

1. PayPal shopping cart: The ClinicalPosters shopping cart has gone through three major platform changes and numerous refinements. The year 2010 began with a PayPal online store. Bits of PayPal code were pasted into a Sandvox sitebuilder template. Transactions occurred on PayPal servers. Sandvox is a client-hosted site layout app that at the time allowed pages to include custom code.

2. Perl-Square shopping cart: The Sandvox theme changed a few times and eventually a new shopping cart written in the Perl programming language was added. From its meager begin­ning, it expanded to include a client portal, project estimate function, cross-promotion, custom analytics and much more.

Through an update, Sandvox stopped supporting custom HTML code anywhere on the page in favor of discrete styled boxes. This prevented ClinicalPosters from updating to current Sandvox versions. So in addition to the shopping cart, RSS feeds for the blog had to be manually coded. This hampered blog scheduling.

Square does not currently offer an online merchant payment system outside of its own online store portal or retail terminals. Much of the online store was coded by hand with HTML4 and Perl using a manual Square payment system.

Something lacking through these iterations was a solid mobile solution. A third-party app provided some support but the interface was not harmonious. Eventually free mobile code was deprecated by the app developer in favor of custom mobile solutions. With an aging site builder and poor mobile support, the third major site shift was required.

3. Shopify shopping cart: In November of 2017, the decision was made to migrate ClinicalPosters to a more robust dedicated e-commerce platform. Several hosting platforms were tested. Accepting over a dozen types of online payments, Shopify has become the new cornerstone of ClinicalPosters.

The current site is a cohesive online store featuring blogs rather than a blog with an appended online store and pseudo-mobile pages. As an e-commerce platform, Shopify counts all visits as shopping “sessions,” even if visitors are simply visiting blog articles.

In place of the prior desktop-app site builder is a modular cloud solution using the latest technologies. This comes with a full-time team of programmers maintaining firewalls, keeping up with the latest technologies and optimizing performance. Around-the-clock support is available to help resolve many issues.

Shopify allows ClinicalPosters to offer visitors a rich and personalized browsing experience on a variety of devices by serving a combination of static and dynamic content. Visitors enjoy free access to high-quality articles within the Site News and Sites along with A Bit More Healthy preview blogs.

Full access to A Bit More Healthy blog is available to logged in newsletter subscribers. We hope you appreciate the hard work in your behalf that is going on behind the scenes. Thanks to every­one who supports it. Have a great time visiting this site and we look forward to hearing from you!

Additional Reading
  1. Welcome to Our Site Relaunch
  2. Your Medical Specialty Has Value
  3. Welcome to the World of GDPR Compliant Websites
  4. Companies Should Embrace Personal Privacy

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