Enhance Shopify Development with Shopify CLI

Enhance Shopify Development with Shopify CLI

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. What is Shopify CLI
  3. Features of Shopify CLI
  4. Pros and Cons of Shopify CLI
  5. Installation of Shopify CLI
  6. Getting Started with Shopify CLI
  7. Initializing a Theme with Shopify CLI
  8. Running a Local Development Server with Shopify CLI
  9. Publishing Products with Shopify CLI
  10. Important Considerations and Limitations of Shopify CLI
  11. Conclusion


In this article, we will explore the Shopify CLI, a powerful development tool for Shopify teams and software applications. We will discuss its features, installation process, and how it can be used for local development. Additionally, we will cover the steps to initialize a theme, run a local development server, and publish products using Shopify CLI. However, it is important to understand the limitations and considerations of this tool. So, let's dive into the world of Shopify CLI and discover its potential for efficient Shopify development.

What is Shopify CLI

Shopify CLI, also known as Command Line Interface, is a versatile development tool designed specifically for Shopify teams. It provides developers with a command-line interface to interact with the Shopify platform, allowing them to perform a wide range of tasks efficiently. These tasks include initializing themes, managing app development, populating products, and more. Shopify CLI simplifies the development process by providing a streamlined workflow and a set of powerful features.

Features of Shopify CLI

Shopify CLI offers a diverse range of features that enhance the development experience for Shopify teams. Some notable features include:

  1. Local Development: Shopify CLI allows developers to work on their Shopify projects locally, eliminating the need for constant remote deployments. This enables faster development and a seamless debugging process.

  2. Hot Module Reloading: With hot module reloading capabilities, developers can see instant changes in their code reflected in the browser without the need for manual refreshes. This significantly speeds up the development process and improves efficiency.

  3. Product Population: Shopify CLI provides the functionality to populate products automatically. This eliminates the need for manual creation of products and allows developers to work with realistic data during the development phase.

  4. Draft Orders: By automating the creation of draft orders, Shopify CLI simplifies the testing process for developers. Testing various scenarios and edge cases becomes easier, saving a considerable amount of time and effort.

  5. Simplified Theme Initialization: Using Shopify CLI, developers can easily initialize a new theme for their Shopify store. The tool allows them to clone a default theme from GitHub or specify a custom theme for development.

Pros and Cons of Shopify CLI

While Shopify CLI offers numerous benefits to Shopify developers, it is important to consider both the advantages and limitations of using this tool.


  • Streamlined local development process
  • Faster debugging and code iteration
  • Automation of repetitive tasks such as product population and draft order creation
  • Improved collaboration among team members
  • Effortless initialization of themes


  • Some bugs and limitations in certain functionalities
  • Limited to Shopify team development and may not be suitable for all development needs
  • Requires familiarity with command-line interfaces

It is important for developers to carefully weigh these pros and cons before deciding whether to incorporate Shopify CLI into their workflow.

Installation of Shopify CLI

To install Shopify CLI, there are different methods depending on the operating system.

  • Windows: Install Ruby Installer for Windows and use the command-line tool "gem" to install Shopify CLI.
  • MacOS: Install Shopify CLI using either Ruby Gem or Homebrew, whichever is more suitable for your system.
  • Other Platforms: Follow the respective instructions provided by Shopify to install Shopify CLI on your specific platform.

Once successfully installed, you can verify the installation by running the "shopify version" command in your terminal. This will display the currently installed version of Shopify CLI.

Getting Started with Shopify CLI

Before diving into the various commands and functionalities of Shopify CLI, it is crucial to understand the basics of using this tool. Logging into a Shopify store is necessary to perform any actions using Shopify CLI. By running the "shopify login store" command, you can securely log into your Shopify store by providing your store URL.

It is worth noting that access to certain features and commands within Shopify CLI requires the user to be the owner of the store. Hence, it is important to log in directly through the store's admin URL rather than using partner staff accounts.

Initializing a Theme with Shopify CLI

To start developing a new theme using Shopify CLI, you can use the "shopify theme init" command. This command initializes a theme with a given name and clones the default theme from GitHub. Alternatively, you can specify a different theme repository URL to clone a custom theme.

By executing this command, Shopify CLI will create a local development copy of the chosen theme within your project folder. Once initialized, you can open the theme in your preferred code editor to begin making modifications and customizations.

Running a Local Development Server with Shopify CLI

Shopify CLI provides developers with the ability to run a local development server using the "shopify theme serve" command. This command allows you to preview and test changes to your theme in a local environment before deploying them to your live store.

Once the server is up and running, you can visit the specified IP address in your browser to view your locally served Shopify store. Any changes made to the theme's code will be instantly reflected in the browser, providing a seamless development experience.

Publishing Products with Shopify CLI

An exciting feature of Shopify CLI is the ability to populate products for your development store. By running the "shopify product populate" command, Shopify CLI will automatically generate a set of example products for you to work with. This eliminates the tedious task of manually creating and managing dummy products during development.

It is important to note that the populated products are visible only within the development store and are not visible to customers or search engines. This allows you to test and refine your product-related functionalities without affecting the live store.

Important Considerations and Limitations of Shopify CLI

While Shopify CLI is a powerful tool for Shopify development, there are a few important considerations and limitations to keep in mind:

  1. Access Restrictions: Certain features and commands within Shopify CLI require the user to be the owner of the store. Partner staff accounts may not have the necessary permissions to perform specific actions.

  2. Hidden Development Theme: The development theme created using Shopify CLI remains hidden and is not visible in the Shopify admin interface. Only published themes can be accessed through the admin.

  3. Storefront Password: The development store may require a storefront password to access it. This password can be configured and managed within the Shopify admin settings.

  4. Bugs and Limitations: Shopify CLI, like any other software, may have some bugs and limitations. It is important to stay updated with the latest versions and consult the official documentation for any known issues.


In conclusion, Shopify CLI offers a powerful set of tools and functionalities for Shopify teams to streamline and enhance their development process. From initializing themes to running a local development server, Shopify CLI simplifies the workflow and provides developers with efficient ways to work with Shopify. However, it is crucial to understand its limitations and consider the specific requirements of your project before incorporating Shopify CLI into your development environment. With the right usage and consideration, Shopify CLI can greatly improve your Shopify development experience.

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