Shopify is a fast growing ecommerce platform that adds thousands of new sellers every month.

The great thing about the Shopify platform is that Shopify has openly stated that it is not interested in solving every problem for its sellers. Instead, they built their APIs and App Store so that independent developers can create (and pay for) the functionality their sellers want.

This means that it is possible to extend and customize Shopify with Shopify apps, whether you have your own Shopify store that you want to improve or want to build a Shopify app as a business.

Shopify apps don't have to be complicated either. A Shopify app is simply a piece of software that integrates with the Shopify REST API. Shopify makes software development tools and kits (SDKs) available to make building an app easier, but any program can become a Shopify app with a little integration.

Private applications versus public applications
Before we start, there is one important Shopify concept to learn. Your choice will become the foundation of all the application development you do.

Shopify has two types of apps:

Public apps that work with multiple stores can be listed on the Shopify app store and have access to most of the APIs.
Private apps that run on a single store are not listed on the Shopify app store, can't be built into a Shopify dashboard, and have limited API access.

The big technical difference between the two is that public applications are authenticated using OAuth, which requires additional configuration and a convoluted "new user setup". Private apps are authenticated using two keys for the same store, which act as the username and password for a particular app.

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