Beginning App Development

The BigCommerce team has developed an array of sample apps and tools to assist developers in the initial phase of app development. In this article, we’ll introduce those tools and go over how to begin app development by installing and registering a draft app.

Getting started

Here’s a few things you’ll need before beginning app development:

  1. Store / Dev Sandbox (required to test app installation)
  2. Developer Portal Account (required to register apps)
  3. BigCommerce partnership (required to publish apps to marketplace)

Beginning with hello world

The fastest way to begin app development is by starting with one of our Hello World apps. Create and install an app in minutes with our Hello World Express example on CodeSandbox, or clone the starter for your preferred stack:

Testing locally with ngrok

You can use ngrok to test apps locally. It’s easy to install and works well with Express:

npm install express-generator -g # install express generate

express myapp                    # generate new express app

cd myapp                         # move into app dir

npm install ngrok                # install ngrok

npm install                      # install dependencies

npm start                        # start app

ngrok http 3000                  # start ngrok

For step-by-step instructions, see How to Test App Authentication Locally with ngrok on our developer blog.


Registering a draft app

Once you’ve exposed an app to the internet, you can register a draft app in the Developer Portal using the app’s callback URLs. To do so:

  1. Log into the Developer Portal.

  2. Click Create an App.

  3. Name your app.

  4. Click Technical.

  5. Enter your app’s callback URLs. If you’re using ngrok, they’ll look like this:

    • Auth:
    • Load:
    • Uninstall:
  6. Click Update & Close.

  7. Click View Client ID to view the app’s client_id and client_secret.

Installing a draft app

Draft apps are installable on stores owned by the same email as the Developer Portal account. Use the following steps to installLog into the store and navigate to Apps > My Apps > My Draft Apps and click the app to install the draft. Once you click Install, BigCommerce will begin the OAauth flow by making a GET request to the app’s /auth callback URL. If the app handles all the requests successfully, the app will be installed and you can begin feature development.

Next steps


Related articles

Sample apps


Blog posts