Deploying a React Store on Shopify

Deliver a sub-second React website on Shopify with Layer0

Created and developed by Facebook, React is one of the most popular open-source JavaScript libraries for building user interfaces or UI components quickly and easily, using a component-based approach. React offers great runtime performance and is fit to be the backbone of complex, revenue-generating websites with heavy traffic, such as eCommerce and Travel websites..

React offers some benefits compared to the other popular frontend frameworks out there, including:

  • Virtual DOM: Nodes are re-rendered only as needed. React compares new data to original DOM and updates the View automatically. This enhances the performance of all-sizes applications that need regular content updates.
  • One-way data binding: React uses one-way data binding with an application architecture called Flux controls. React helps update the View for the user and Flux controls the application workflow.
  • Support for bundling and tree-shaking: This helps minimize the end user’s resource load.
  • Built-in server-side rendering (SSR) support: SSR offers speed gains in specific implementations.

Shopify is a popular eCommerce platform that has attracted some of the world’s biggest brands from its scalability, flexibility, and simplicity that comes with it. Not to mention, it's highly customizable. Shopify offers a plethora of plugins and APIs, including "Storefront API" which is Shopify's modern GraphQL API that can be used to implement shopping, account management, and checkout flows in a portable frontend. The platform also offers multiple responsive themes out of the box, including Debut, Brooklyn, Narrative and others based on Liquid templating. Shopify is one of the easiest platforms to take headless because its APls are robust, consistent, have a modern GraphQL format, and are well documented.

The API coverage, however, is not complete and throttling issues occur. Furthermore, the platform does not have any out of the box tooling for a headless frontend or server-side rendering (SSR). In fact, the built in Liquid templating language is not suitable for SSR. To truly support SSR on Shopify, requires running and maintaining a fleet Node.js servers. While some customers are running portable frontend on the platform, microservices between the Storefront API and their frontend must be created to optimize the APIs and minimize the amount of client-side logic.

Layer0 lets you deliver an instant loading Nuxt.js website on Shopify in a matter of hours. The average website on Layer0 see median speeds of 320ms loads, as measured by Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), a critical metric in Core Web Vitals. While Layer0 is a certainly a website accelerator, is it so much more for that for frontend developers. It is a Jamstack platform for eCommerce. Layer0 makes websites faster for users and simpler for frontend developers. The platform was built specifically for large-scale, database-driven websites, such as eCommerce and Travel, in order to bring the following benefits: 

  • Jamstack for eCommerce via both pre and just-in-time rendering
  • Zero latency networking via prefetching of data from your product catalog APIs
  • An edge that can be configured natively in your React app (CDN-as-JavaScript)
  • Edge rules that run locally, in pre-prod and production environments  
  • Automated, full-stack preview URLs from GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket with every new branch and push
  • Performant split tests at the edge for A/B tests that do not slow down the site, canary deploys, and personalization
  • Serverless JavaScript that is much easier and more reliable than AWS Lambda

With Layer0, your React Shopify storefront will have sub-second page loads and your developers will be empowered to control edge caching and reduce rework using the various developer productivity tools that come with the platform. 

Check out Tie Bar, a sub-second Shopify website on Layer0. This mens' retailer delivers 500ms page loads and ranks #1 in the search engine for key phrases on Layer0 from instant page loads. Kate Spade, Planet Blue, and Shoe Carnival are more impressive examples, representing the sub-500ms page speeds attainable for React stores on Layer0.

Layer0 is also a contributor to React Storefront, an open source eCommerce framework which powers over billion dollars in eCommerce revenue a year. Check it out if you are looking to re-write your eCommerce site into a blazingly fast site. Or if you're currently using React for your frontend, use the this guide to deploy your site on Layer0 and get sub-second page loads in as little as one hour of work. 

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