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How to Make Shopify App, Volusion App, Prestashop App, & Magento App

How to Make Shopify App, Volusion App, Prestashop App, & Magento App

Did you know you can make a Shopify app for free without coding? Yes!! With our app builder features, you can easily create an app for your Shopify. See this video on getting started.

Shopify, Volusion, Prestashop, and Magento are popular ecommerce platforms that allow developers to build apps and extensions. These add-on apps provide additional functionality and customization for online stores built on these platforms.

Shopify currently powers over 1 million online stores. Its app store features over 6,000 apps in categories like marketing, sales, and accounting. Volusion supports over 135,000 active stores globally. Prestashop powers 300,000 sites worldwide with its library of over 3,000 modules and themes. And Magento has over 250,000 merchants with access to its marketplace of extensions.

Building apps for these ecommerce platforms provides a great opportunity for developers. Store owners are looking for apps to help enhance their sites. The platforms make it relatively easy for developers to build and sell apps. While each platform has its own app architecture, the core concepts of building ecommerce apps are similar.

This guide will provide an overview of how to make apps for Shopify, Volusion, Prestashop, and Magento. It will cover planning your app, frontend and backend development, data storage, security, testing, publishing, and marketing. By the end, you’ll have the knowledge to build apps for any of these major ecommerce platforms.

Choosing a Platform

When deciding to build an ecommerce app, the first step is choosing which ecommerce platform to build it for. The four most popular platforms are Shopify, Volusion, Prestashop, and Magento. Here’s an overview of the key pros and cons of each for app development:



  • Huge ecosystem with over 1 million merchants using Shopify
  • Simple and well-documented API to build apps
  • Built-in app store makes distribution easy
  • Support for both frontend (shop functionality) and backend apps


  • Very competitive app market
  • Shopify takes a revenue share from app sales
  • Limited ability to customize the core platform



  • Open platform allows deep customization
  • No revenue sharing on app sales
  • Can build apps that suit specific merchant needs


  • Smaller merchant base than Shopify
  • Less documentation and developer support
  • Apps may break with platform updates



  • Open source so can fully customize the core platform
  • Large merchant base, especially in Europe
  • Can create very tailored solutions


  • Not as much English documentation as other platforms
  • Fragmented ecosystem with many versions
  • Less centralized distribution than app stores



  • Very mature and customizable enterprise platform
  • Huge ecosystem of developers and solutions
  • Opportunity for complex B2B apps


  • Steep learning curve compared to other platforms
  • Harder to build simple lightweight apps
  • Merchant base skews towards larger companies

So in summary, Shopify is the easiest platform for beginners to build apps for, Volusion and Prestashop offer more customization potential, while Magento is best for robust enterprise apps. Consider your app idea, target merchants, and development skills when choosing.

Planning Your App

When planning your ecommerce app, the first step is to outline the features and functionality you want it to have. This will be the blueprint for development. Some key things to think about:

  • What purpose will your app serve? Is it for marketing, enhancing checkout, managing inventory etc? Define the core use case.
  • Make a list of must-have features – these are the minimal set of capabilities needed for your app to function.
  • Add a list of nice-to-have features – bonus capabilities that enhance the experience but aren’t absolutely necessary.
  • Will your app need access to store data? Make note of what data it needs to read/write.
  • Will users need to log in or will it work anonymously?
  • Will it require backend services for data processing or can it function solely frontend?
  • What will the user workflow look like? Map out how users will navigate through the app.
  • Will it require settings/configuration? Plan how those will work.
  • How will the app integrate visually with the store theme?
  • Are there any external services/APIs you need to leverage?
  • What type of documentation/instructions will merchants need?

Thoroughly planning the functionality before you start development will ensure your vision for the app is clear. It also makes the build process smooth as you have a blueprint to follow. Set realistic scope by focusing on core features in v1 then enhancing with bonus features in future iterations.

Frontend Development

The frontend of your ecommerce app is what users will interact with directly in the store. It includes all the visual components like buttons, forms, modals, etc. There are several tools and frameworks you can use to build a seamless frontend experience:

  • React – A popular JavaScript library developed by Facebook. It makes building complex UIs much easier through its component-based architecture. Many developers choose React for Shopify and Magento apps.
  • Vue – Another framework like React, but focused on being simpler and more approachable. It has great documentation and is easy to integrate into ecommerce platforms.
  • Angular – Developed by Google, Angular provides strong capabilities for building interactive UIs. It has a steeper learning curve than Vue or React.
  • Liquid – Shopify’s default templating language. You’ll need to work with Liquid to integrate your React or Vue components into Shopify themes.
  • Smarty – The equivalent templating language for PrestaShop. Smarty is used to render app frontend components within PrestaShop’s template files.
  • PHTML – The PHP-based templating language used in Magento. PHTML mixes HTML and PHP code to generate dynamic content. Your Magento app frontend will need to integrate with it.
  • HTML/CSS/JS – You can build your frontend entirely using core web development technologies without a dedicated framework. This may be preferable for simpler apps.

The choice depends on your development skills and preferences. React is a safe bet for most robust ecommerce app frontends. But don’t be afraid to experiment to find what works best for your specific project.

Backend Development

The backend of your ecommerce app handles all of the logic and integrations with external services. This is where you’ll write code to connect to databases, call APIs, perform calculations, send emails, and more.

When building the backend, you’ll need to decide which language and frameworks to use. For Shopify, Volusion, Prestashop, and Magento apps, some common choices are:

  • PHP – The default language for Prestashop and Magento. Has many frameworks like Laravel and Symfony.
  • Ruby on Rails – Popular for building Shopify apps. Full-stack framework with lots of libraries.
  • Node.js – JavaScript runtime well-suited for real-time apps. Can use frameworks like Express.
  • Python – General purpose language with frameworks like Django and Flask.
  • Java – Statically typed language that runs on many platforms. Useful for complex backends.

The backend needs to handle user authentication and authorization to control access. OAuth is commonly used to allow apps to connect to ecommerce platforms on behalf of users.

You’ll also need to integrate APIs to pull or push data. Examples include:

  • Shopify REST Admin API – Manage stores, products, customers, orders, etc.
  • Volusion Admin API – Similar capabilities as Shopify’s API.
  • Prestashop Web Service API – Manage Prestashop data and entities.
  • Magento REST APIs – Manage store resources like products, carts, inventory.

For data storage, Postgres and MySQL are popular relational databases. NoSQL databases like MongoDB can also be useful for flexibility.

The backend should be designed with security in mind. Practice input validation, parameterize queries, use HTTPS, and implement rate limiting. Proper logging and monitoring will help detect issues.

Automated tests are highly recommended to catch bugs and prevent regressions as you update the backend code. Unit tests exercise individual functions while integration tests verify endpoints.

Data Storage

When building an ecommerce app, you’ll likely need to store and retrieve data. This is where databases come in. There are several options for databases you can use with your app:

  • MySQL – A popular open source relational database that integrates well with PHP-based ecommerce platforms like Magento and PrestaShop. MySQL allows you to define database schemas and make complex queries.
  • MongoDB – A popular open source NoSQL database that stores data in JSON-like documents. It’s flexible, scalable, and integrates well with Node.js backends.
  • Firebase – A backend-as-a-service by Google that includes a cloud NoSQL database called Firestore. It makes it easy to store and sync app data across devices.
  • Shopify Data API – Shopify apps can use Shopify’s REST Admin API and GraphQL Admin API to access and modify store data. No separate database needed.
  • Custom Serverless Database – You can create your own database using serverless solutions like AWS DynamoDB or FaunaDB. Fully managed and auto-scaling.

When deciding on a database, consider factors like data structure, scalability needs, ease of use, pricing, and how well it integrates with your ecommerce platform and backend stack. Structure your data in a logical way and use indexing for fast lookups. Follow best practices for queries, security, and redundancy.


When developing an ecommerce app, securing user data is crucial. Here are some best practices:

Encrypt Sensitive Data

Any sensitive user data like passwords, payment info, addresses etc should be encrypted. Use industry standard encryption like AES-256 or bcrypt for passwords. This prevents malicious actors from accessing private user data if they were to hack your database.

Limit Data Access

Your app should only access the minimum data needed for its features. Don’t store or request unnecessary data. Implement role-based access controls for your app’s backend so data can only be accessed by authorized users/roles.

Validate User Input

Validate and sanitize any user input before processing it on the backend. This prevents SQL injection, XSS and other common web vulnerabilities. Strip any malicious input like scripts before processing.


Your app should use HTTPS across all pages to encrypt connections. This prevents man-in-the-middle attacks where data could be intercepted over unsecured HTTP. Purchase an SSL certificate and enforce HTTPS.

Regular Security Audits

Conduct regular security audits on your app to identify any vulnerabilities or weak points. Hire third party security firms annually to penetration test your app. Stay up to date on security best practices as threats evolve.

By following these best practices, you can build secure ecommerce apps that protect your user data. Proper security is a must for any app that handles sensitive user information.

Testing and Debugging

Thoroughly testing your ecommerce app is crucial before publishing it. You’ll want to test all aspects of the app’s functionality to identify and fix any bugs or issues.

Testing App Functionality

  • Test core app features – Ensure all main functions of your app work as expected. For example, if you built a product review app, test submitting, editing and deleting reviews.
  • Test edge cases – Try inputting invalid or unexpected data to see how the app handles it. Test with extremely long text, invalid characters, missing required fields, etc.
  • Test on multiple devices – Your app needs to work on both desktop and mobile. So test it on different devices, browsers, and operating systems.
  • Test payment processing – If your app charges fees, thoroughly test the payment system. Make test purchases, refunds, cancellations, etc.
  • Test performance – Check how the app performs under heavy usage and stress. See if it slows down or crashes when processing many requests.
  • Test security – Attempt to hack or break into the app. Look for vulnerabilities like SQL injection or cross-site scripting.
  • Test error handling – Trigger errors to occur intentionally and see how the app responds. Are errors logged? Does it show user-friendly messages?
  • Test edge case user flows – Try unusual user paths through the app. For example, go backwards through checkouts or forms.
  • Test third-party integrations – If using any third-party services, test how the app interacts with their APIs.

Rigorously testing all aspects of your app will help identify issues to fix before launch. This helps provide a smooth experience for users.

Publishing Your App

Once your app is completed and thoroughly tested, it’s time to submit it to the appropriate marketplace for approval and publishing.

Submitting App to the Marketplace

To publish your app on the Shopify, Volusion, Prestashop, or Magento marketplace, you’ll need to create a seller account and submit your app for review.


  • Go to www.shopify.com/partners and create a Partners account
  • Submit your app for review through your Partners account. Shopify will review your app for quality, security, performance, etc.
  • If approved, your app will be published on the Shopify App Store for merchants to find and install


  • Create a seller account on www.volusion.com/apps
  • Submit your completed app for review through your seller account dashboard
  • Volusion will evaluate your app across several criteria before approving it
  • Once approved and published, your app will appear in the Volusion App Marketplace


  • Create a Prestashop Addons seller account at addons.prestashop.com/en/login?signup=1
  • Upload your app and submit it for review via your seller account
  • Prestashop reviewers will assess your app for publication standards
  • Approved apps get published on Prestashop Addons marketplace for download


  • Register for a Magento Marketplace account at marketplace.magento.com
  • Submit your finished app for review through your seller account
  • Magento reviewers will evaluate aspects like security, quality, etc.
  • Once approved, your app will get listed on Magento Marketplace for merchants

Following each marketplace’s submission process and guidelines is key to getting your app published. Be sure to test thoroughly before submitting. With approval, your app will gain visibility and access to users on the marketplace.

Marketing Your App

Promoting your app to users is crucial for driving downloads and adoption. Here are some tips:

  • Optimize app store listings. Craft compelling titles, descriptions, images, and videos to showcase your app’s value proposition. Focus on articulating the core benefits and how it solves pain points.
  • Build a landing page. Create a dedicated website for your app with clear messaging on what it does and why users should get it. Include screenshots, testimonials, and calls to action.
  • Run promotions. Offer free trials or discounts to incentivize downloads initially. Referral programs can also help drive viral growth.
  • Leverage social media. Share teasers and announcements leading up to the launch. Post updates on new features and encourage user reviews. Hashtag campaigns can help increase visibility.
  • Do PR outreach. Pitch your app launch to relevant media outlets and bloggers. Earned media exposure can lend credibility.
  • Advertise. Paid ads on platforms like Facebook and Google can help get your app in front of targeted users. You can also retarget people who’ve visited your site.
  • Email marketing. Send announcements to your existing user base and capture leads through your site. Nurture subscribers with content and special offers.
  • Analyze data. Track key metrics like downloads, activations, retention, and referrals. Optimize your marketing strategy based on what’s resonating best.

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