Building Shopify Apps with PHP

If you’re a PHP developer reading through the official Shopify documentation for the API and application SDKs, it’d be easy to feel a little bit left out. Shopify is a Rails application (with some sprinklings of new-fangled tech like Go and Node), and the documentation reflects that focus. Not helping matters is the lack of an officially-supported API client for PHP.

While my days of PHP development are behind me, I’m often asked for advice by folks coming from a PHP background and interested in trying out their hand at Shopify application development. Understandably, they’d like to use their existing skills and avoid having to spend the time and energy learning a new language like Ruby or Python just to dip their toes in the water.

With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of resources for PHP-focused Shopify application developers.

Unofficial API Clients

  • ShopifyExtras/PHP-Shopify-API-Wrapper: Guzzle-based API client. This is the most recently maintained and easy-to-use looking client I’ve seen in the wild.
  • phpish/shopify: Very simple API client library. Includes a couple of demo applications demonstrating both Private App and OAuth Authenticated use cases.
  • cmcdonaldca/ohShopify: Another simple API client library with more of an object-oriented approach.

Framework Plugins and Packages

Tutorials

  • Getting started with Shopify App Development: Wern Ancheta’s tutorial was written in 2013, so it’s not super up to date, but it covers the basics and provides plenty of example PHP code. It’s also the only tutorial I’ve managed to find that isn’t just a thinly-veiled affiliate link signup scam.

Resources

  • eCommTalk: A fantastic Shopify Slack community. There are lots of PHP developers hanging out in the #development channel, and everyone’s friendly and willing to offer advice and help.
  • Shopify’s Forums: Not that useful if you’re after a structured walkthrough on how to build a Shopify app from start to finish with PHP, but if you’re stuck with a specific problem, it’s a good idea to check here first to see if someone else has run into the same issue.
  • Stack Overflow: Every programmer’s favourite site is a little bit of a mixed bag on this topic - lots of poorly asked questions and classic “RTFM” answers. Like the Shopify forums though, there’s the occasional useful nugget on specific topics.

Books

I haven’t come across any books specifically focused on PHP Shopify App development as yet. That’s not to say that there isn’t potentially something around the corner (you didn’t think you’d get though this post without a least a subtle plug, did you?)

Timewasters to avoid

In addition to the above resources, which I consider useful, I thought I’d list a few resources I’d skip over if I were you. I’ve still linked them in case you’re masochistic (or just don’t trust me).

  • Quora: Lots of Shopify + PHP tagged topics - very little substance in either the questions or the answers.
  • Google: You’ve probably already tried this, but I’ve picked out the best results already. Feel free to dig around in page 10 of the results though!

Know of another handy resource for PHP Shopify developers? Tell me about it!