How to solve development environment problem when creating a new theme for an existing store?

Shopify Partner
71 0 2

Hi - a client wants a new shopify store (fresh design, nav, page structure and theme) but needs their existing store to stay active until the new store is live. They have chosen a theme from themes.shopify.com for the new store. However, I'm in a classic developer problem.

 

I cannot access source code for the theme to develop and customize unless I purchase the theme. However, the theme cannot be transferred stores, so it must be purchased on the client's existing store. The problem with this is that there cannot be a second page / nav structure in the store, nor can new products be added without changing the live site. 

 

Solutions I can see to this problem all have massive drawbacks:

  - I could purchase the theme twice - once on my dev store and once for the client

  - I could develop everything on the client's site using existing page structure and nav and only start 'testing' the new structure & pages once the new theme is live
  - I could purchase the theme on my dev store, transfer it to my client who purchases a new shopify plan, transfers DNS to new theme and then deletes old shopify account. Client would lose reports, purchasing data, etc. 

 

Is there any good method for developing a new site for an existing client that doesn't involve these massive tradeoffs?

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Shopify Partner
1843 170 525

Hi,

 

Not going to pretend I have a silver bullet for this one, but would it help if your client bought the theme, you download the theme code and develop locally using a tool such as Motifmate i.e. entirely local development without the hassle of... well the usual Shopify developer flow?

 

Hope it helps for what it's worth. Best wishes!

I turn coffee in to code - since 1998
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Shopify Partner
71 0 2

Motifmate is helpful for local dev -- would motifmate work with the source code for a theme in themes.shopify.com? Those are designed to only work w/ the license given to a particular URL - just wanted to check on that.

Because I could always do the same thing with the source code and my development store since that wouldn't be live, but I am under the impression I would be blocked from doing that.

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Shopify Partner
1843 170 525

No idea to be honest. I don't use themes from the store.

I turn coffee in to code - since 1998
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Shopify Staff
Shopify Staff
317 30 51

Hi, Shutez!

 

This is May from Shopify.

 

That is a great question. Although I am not an expert in coding and programming tools, from my experience, you can help your client develop their new theme within your client’s account, and keep it as unpublished until the theme is ready for launch. That way, you do not need to buy the theme twice (once for the client, and another for your development store), or do last minute changes and testings on the nav or page structure, or have your client close their old store.

 

My suggested solution for this, is to have your client create a staff account for you, that way you can access their store anytime you need to work on their themes. Alternatively, if you have a Shopify Partners account, you can request access to your client’s store. When developing the theme, I recommend working from the unpublished theme section:

 

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Just like published themes, you can edit your theme settings and code without affecting your client’s live store and their customers. Before making any changes to your code, I highly recommend making a duplicate of your theme, in case of any unintended results. To test out the new navigation menu, you will want to create a separate menu by going to ‘Online Store > Navigations > Add menu’.

 

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Then, you can link this menu to the unpublished theme from its theme settings. Similar with nav menu, you can customize and edit its page structure from the theme settings or code as well.

 

Once the theme is ready for launch, you can publish the theme. 

 

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Let me know if this helps. Feel free to reply back to this thread or contact our 24/7 support, and we’ll happily help!

 

Kind Regards,

 

May

Shopify Support



May | Social Care @ Shopify
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