What is Shopify Hydrogen? Introduction to Shopify's new Headless Commerce
In a world filled with competitors, no Shopify Store owner would like it if their product pages look like any other. Everyone tries to establish or find their own distinct identity in the market, so their Shopify Stores must be adaptable, personalized, quick, and extremely attractive.
And if you're searching for all of that, you must look outside of the pre-made or specially designed theme. A theme won't be able to handle all of these things, of course.
Shopify is now pursuing Headless Commerce. It is a greater front-to-back separation of the eCommerce process, this method enables firms to become more adaptable and dynamic. Hydrogen might have come up as a choice if you're thinking about making your Shopify store headless.
With Hydrogen, Shopify will provide its customers the option to go beyond what Shopify's standard front end can do.
What precisely is hydrogen, then? How would it enable you to achieve the rewards of going headless?
We’ll be answering all of these, to clear your doubts.
- What is Shopify Hydrogen?
- What is Shopify Oxygen?
- How do Shopify Hydrogen works?
- Shopify Hydrogen's Pros and Cons for headless
- Shopify Hydrogen FAQs
- Final Words
What is Shopify Hydrogen?
Shopify found out that JAMStack frameworks were not a great fit for the platform, so they introduced Shopify Hydrogen, at Shopify Unite 2021.
Shopify promotes Hydrogen as an "opinionated yet adaptable" framework alternative for building headless commerce websites.
With a quick-start build environment, intelligent caching, pre-built components, and built-in cache defaults, it's understandable why eCommerce developers are enthusiastic about this new framework.
It aims to provide you with the creativity and quickness you desire.
Most business owners have now, either placed a high priority on site performance or a dynamic and rich customer experience. Shopify will be able to provide store owners an elusive amount of personalization for their stores with Hydrogen.
This indicates that business owners will no longer be constrained by the "theme" they have chosen for their establishment. As an alternative, they will be able to design a totally distinct user experience for their customers.
What is Shopify Oxygen?
As a hosting alternative for Shopify Hydrogen stores, Shopify has introduced Shopify Oxygen. When it comes to delivering the outstanding loading speed that brands with headless commerce want, Shopify Oxygen wins.
It was primarily designed to manage establishments with larger traffic volumes. The amount of traffic on sites increases during Flash Sales and Seasonal Sales. At these times, Oxygen prevents your store from crashing and offers the greatest customer experience.
Additionally, Oxygen removes the need to maintain server infrastructure while enabling you to manage and deploy Hydrogen storefronts.
Furthermore, Need for server infrastructure maintenance is eliminated by Shopify Oxygen, and it still allows you to deploy and manage Hydrogen storefronts, which enables you to preview and share different versions of each storefront.
Use cases for Shopify Oxygen:
- Shopify Oxygen helps you host your Hydrogen Storefront.
- Help you experiment with Hydrogen storefronts before you start the development process.
- Without compromising the primary version of your storefront, you can test modifications to a Hydrogen storefront.
- With Oxygen, you can compare and discuss several versions of a Hydrogen storefront in private settings, Before selecting a version for production.
- Before your Hydrogen Storefront goes live, you can see its preview with Oxygen.
How do Shopify Hydrogen works?
Millions of businesses across the world are attached to Shopify, Shopify’s development team realized that eCommerce required a quick, smooth user experience that was also customized and complex as a result of working with millions of businesses across the world.
This concept may seem promising, but it presents a significant hurdle for developers who must choose between integrating a variety of technologies for a spectacular shopping experience and preserving site speed as well. But Hydrogen was introduced in Shopify Unite 2021 to overcome this issue. Hydrogen is a framework with a range of technologies that let you build dynamic eCommerce experiences without sacrificing site performance.
If you’ve worked on React earlier, then you’ll get a friendly vibe from Hydrogen. With a public directory for static assets and a src (source) directory for the application code, it mostly maintains the typical React folder structure. The source directory also includes Shopify liquid templates for pages, blogs, collections, and goods.
Usually, React Developers use a client-side rendering method to load websites while maintaining the dynamism required for eCommerce. However, this strategy frequently degrades site speed, particularly on sluggish mobile devices.
Therefore, extensive optimization is required if you want to utilize React to create an eCommerce website so that client-side rendering doesn't degrade store performance.
The good news is that Shopify Hydrogen eliminates the need for in-depth optimizations and performance problems. Shopify uses a new React component development technique called React Server Components (RSC), which designates crucial Hydrogen source folder components as .server and .client.
RSC assists your shop in two ways so that it may supply dynamic content without sacrificing performance:
- Because the server-specific code stays on the server, fewer data must be exchanged between the server and client device. Client devices are thus free to concentrate on rendering websites as they are not required to handle unnecessary data.
RSC is a recent Technology. However, Shopify is investing heavily in it because they see its potential for usage in future eCommerce implementations.
Pros and Cons of Shopify Hydrogen for Headless Commerce:
Any existing thing in a world has its own Pros and Cons, nothing is perfect from all angles. Same way for Hydrogen. Shopify Hydrogen also has its own Pros and Cons.
Let’s learn them then…
Pros / Benefits of Shopify Hydrogen for Headless Commerce:
Hydrogen has supplied us with tons of reasons to love it. But here are some of the main advantages of using Shopify Hydrogen for Headless Commerce.
As we talked about it earlier, Hydrogen uses a React framework. And React is great at creating extremely performant and endlessly customizable online store frontends.
If you’re a beginner who is looking to start with Hydrogen, as a starter pack you’ll get multiple out-of-box templates and demo stores. It’s a plus point that you're getting pre-built components but you’ll definitely need to create elements by yourself. You can check them out here.
You can reuse the components you build:
With a beginning kit at hand, you may quickly develop early parts that you can reuse as needed throughout your final site.
While many of the beloved Shopify applications cannot be transferred over, there are now a few apps that are linked with Hydrogen. This includes popular applications like Klaviyo, Nosto, Gorgias, Recharge, and more, as well as CMS solutions like Contentful and Sanity.
Cons / Drawbacks of Shopify Hydrogen for Headless Commerce:
As I told you already that nothing is perfect. It includes Shopify Hydrogen, too.
Shopify will of course work on Hydrogens' drawbacks. But it is important to learn the Drawbacks of Shopify Hydrogen before you choose to go Headless with Shopify Hydrogen.
Technical Knowledge is Required:
As we know, Shopify is well-known for its easy to use and drag and drop tooling. But with Shopify Hydrogen, only a technical person will be able to build the store. Any member with non-technical background won't be able to use the frontend layer to make quick changes to the site. It’s great that Shopify is giving you the chance of going headless with it. But this is the drawback to be noted. Right?
Additionally, it’s good for those who already have developers on their teams. and if you're looking to hire developers then Here are some questions to ask before hiring Shopify Developers, this will help you hire the best developers to work on your project. you can also contact our highly experienced Shopify developers here.
No Store Preview:
Yes, when you’re building a website on Hydrogen you’ll get no option to check the preview. Which makes it problematic for team members with no technical knowledge.
You must link your individual CMS:
In order to give Hydrogen shops CMS features, Shopify is collaborating with Sanity. Sanity is a third-party, developer-focused CMS that enables teams to build content data schemas (for photos, text, and videos) for a limited amount of low code content management.
Poor Support for Third-party apps:
Although Shopify has hinted at potential app compatibility, its ecosystem for third-party apps is still in its infancy. For certain things, APIs are still not readily available. You must develop your own APIs for any Shopify app you wish to use.
Supports Web Storefronts only:
For now, You can only build a Web storefront with Shopify Hydrogen. It doesn’t allow you to build storefronts for Smart devices, Mobile Apps, or Video Games.
Hydrogen can't replace Liquid sooner:
There are many Shopify Store Owners who have already invested in Liquid-based Shopify Themes and they will definitely look after making use of that. Another reason is that these liquid-based Shopify themes allow their non-technical users to make changes easily and effortlessly. So not for now, but in the future Hydrogen can replace the liquid.
Shopify Hydrogen FAQs:
1. Is Shopify Hydrogen Headless?
- Yes, Shopify Hydrogen is the headless commerce solution offered by Shopify.
2. What are Shopify Hydrogen and Shopify Oxygen?
- Shopify Oxygen provides access to the hosting platform for Shopify Hydrogen stores. With Oxygen, you can manage and deploy Hydrogen storefronts without having to worry about server infrastructure.
3. Is Shopify Hydrogen free?
- Yes, Hydrogen is an addition to your Shopify store that is free.
But in order to turn your headless idea into a reality, you'll actually need a lot of technical development resources when you start building up your Hydrogen shop.
The two biggest updates from Shopify we've seen recently, Shopify Hydrogen and Shopify Oxygen, are certain to have a tremendous influence on the eCommerce industry.
In final Words, use Shopify Hydrogen and Oxygen to provide your customers a degree of personalization and user experience that was before impractical.
If you want to be the best in the world of eCommerce, you must be at the cutting edge of innovation and technology. Shopify Hydrogen is a big advancement for the platform, and all Shopify store owners should be thrilled about it.
If you’re looking to hire developers to bring your Shopify store headless with Shopify Hydrogen, Don’t forget that our Highly experienced Shopify Developers are just one click away. Click here to Contact our Shopify Developers.