Shopify API versioning, is a way to help Shopify developers keep their apps functional no matter what updates are released to Shopify. Shopify are always looking for ways to improve merchant experience, but they also think of ways to help Shopify developers who bring custom integrations and Shopify apps to their app store.
What is Shopify API versioning?
Shopify API versioning makes updates predictable. Every time Shopify updates their GraphQL and REST Admin APIs, some features of Shopify third-party apps might stop working with the new versions.
This can have a substantial impact on Shopify merchants who use third-party apps from the Shopify app store, which leads to lower conversion volumes. To battle this issue, Shopify has adopted Shopify API versioning.
API versioning is a strategy where multiple versions of the same API are supported simultaneously so that developers have enough time to make necessary changes and switch to a newer API when they are ready for it.
This way, Shopify developers can continue using the older API until they have made all the necessary edits to their apps and are ready to use the latest release.
How does Shopify API versioning work?
Shopify API versioning is based on a quarterly release schedule and a stable API version is released every 3 months. The exact dates when new API versions are released are:
- January 1st
- April 1st
- July 1st
- October 1st
Each stable version will be supported for a full year. So, there will always be a period of 9 months where two consecutive API versions are fully supported. Plus, there will be at least 3 months between the first and last API version of the year.
So an API version that was released on January 1st 2019, will be supported until January 1st 2020. After that, developers will have to switch to a newer API and can choose between those released in April, July, or October of the same year, or the fully new API for January 2020.
To help Shopify developers get ready for the newest API even before it’s released, Shopify also introduced Release Candidates. These will hold all the changes that are planned for the next stable versions, so they are great as a heads up.
In addition to Shopify API versioning, Shopify developers can also access the Developer Preview tool in case the new version affects more than just API. If there’s any kind of impact on Shopify admin, the store, or the UI, then they can see and test all features of the new API without affecting their app. This way, developers can work on new features, update documentation, and be ready for future releases.
What are the benefits of Shopify API versioning for developers?
Thanks to Shopify API versioning, Shopify developers don’t have to worry about the sudden loss of functionality of their apps. When a new Shopify API version is released, the older API version will still be supported for some time. This gives Shopify developers enough time to update their apps and custom integrations to work with the latest version. Keeping who uses their app satisfied.