Widget Builder

Widget Builder

Widget Builder is a command-line tool that lets you build, edit, and preview custom storefront widgets in real time, outside the context of your BigCommerce store.

This article is a guide to help you learn how to use Widget Builder.


OtherAs needed for the widget to function.

Because the OAuth scope of these API credentials permits you to modify store content, we strongly recommend that you develop widgets using a sandbox store.

For more information on authentication, see Authentication.

Install Widget Builder

To install Widget Builder and its dependencies, follow these instructions:

  1. Open a terminal, and verify that you are using supported versions of Node.js and npm.

Refer to the Widget Builder (opens in a new tab) for the latest supported Node.js and npm versions.

  1. Clone the widget-builder (opens in a new tab) GitHub repository.

  2. Navigate to the widget-builder directory, and install Widget Builder using the following command:

npm run install-cli

To retrieve usage information and view supported options and commands, run the following command:

widget-builder -h

Sample output:

Usage: widget-builder [options] [command]

  -V, --version                  output the version number
  -h, --help                     display help for command

  init                           Initialization of widget builder configuration
  start [options] [widgetPath]   starts the widget builder locally
  validate [options] <file>
  create <widget-template-name>  Create a blank widget template
  publish <widget-template>      Releases the widget template to the store
                                 belonging to the env config
  help [command]                 display help for command

Configure Widget Builder

Once you have installed Widget Builder, the next step is to configure your development environment with your store's authentication credentials so that you can work with your store's data during the development process. You'll need the store's Client ID, Access Token, and API Path. To configure the environment, follow these instructions:

  1. Locate or create a parent directory for the widgets you plan to develop using these credentials.

Sample input:

# organized by name of store 
cd ~/bc-projects/tools-r-us
mkdir widget-workshop
cd widget-workshop
  1. Run the interactive sequence that generates the configuration file. The session will prompt you to enter your API account credentials. Begin by running widget-builder init.

Sample session:

  ~/bc-projects/tools-r-us/widget-workshop % widget-builder init

  Thank you for using Widget Builder

  This guide will help you get your environment set up.

  Before continuing, please make sure you've created or received a Store API account.
  You'll need those credentials in order to generate the appropriate configurations.
  You can find more information here.

  ? Are you ready to continue? You may press any key to continue (Y/n) 
    > Y
  ? What is the Client ID? 
    > xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  ? What is the Access Token? 
    > xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  ? What is the API Path? 
    > xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  [2021-09-08T15:12:40.271Z] Successfully created your configuration, you're all set!

Reset or create parallel configurations

If you need to reset the configuration, you can run the widget-builder init command in the same directory to overwrite the existing assignments. Running widget-builder init in a sibling directory will create a separate development environment.

Initializing Widget Builder at multiple levels of a single file hierarchy can have unpredictable results and is not recommended.

To use Widget Builder as a development tool, you must run widget-builder commands from the same directory where you ran widget-builder init.

Generate a scaffold with create

Jump-start widget development with Widget Builder's create command, which creates a child directory, populates it with blank template files, and starts a development server. To use the generator, run the following command:

widget-builder create <[path/to/]some-widget>

Sample output:

[2021-09-08T17:29:38.868Z] Successfully created ./some-widget 
[2021-09-08T17:29:38.870Z] Successfully created schema.json in ./some-widget/schema.json
[2021-09-08T17:29:38.871Z] Successfully created config.json in ./some-widget/config.json
[2021-09-08T17:29:38.871Z] Successfully created widget.html in ./some-widget/widget.html
[2021-09-08T17:29:39.564Z] Starting widget-builder at http://localhost:8080!
[2021-09-08T17:29:39.887Z] Socket connected.

Your default browser will open automatically and display a text widget on port 8080.

Continue development with start

Widget Builder's start command will start the development server for an existing widget that is located in a child directory of the environment root. Navigate to that environment root, then run the following command:

widget-builder start <[path/to/]widget-name>

Sample output:

[2021-09-08T17:29:39.564Z] Starting widget-builder at http://localhost:8080!
[2021-09-08T17:29:39.887Z] Socket connected.

Your default browser will open automatically on port 8080.

Publish to store

To publish a widget to your BigCommerce store, navigate to its environment root, then run the following command:

widget-builder publish <[path/to/]widget-name>

Publishing a widget from the same path will update or overwrite your existing widget. If you have a widget with the same name currently deployed in your store, the updated widget will immediately replace the previous version on your live storefront.

To add published widgets to your store, open your store's control panel and navigate to Storefront > My Themes. Click the Customize button on your active theme, and locate your published widget in the Custom section of the left-side menu.

If you're interested in making your widgets available for download or sale on other stores, check out the BigCommerce App Marketplace (opens in a new tab) and learn about becoming a partner developer.


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