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Getting Started with Solidus Starter Frontend


George Mendoza

27 Jun 2022 - 4 mins read

Cover image of Getting Started with Solidus Starter Frontend post

We're happy to introduce you to the new Solidus Starter Frontend app template.

What is Solidus Starter Frontend?

Solidus Starter Frontend is the new frontend solution for Solidus. It aims to deliver

  • a minimal, semantic and accessible HTML skeleton
  • a reusable component based architecture
  • simple SASS styling strictly based on BEM
  • frontend functionality written in vanilla JavaScript

How is Solidus Starter Frontend different from the Solidus Frontend gem?

Based on our experience building eCommerce applications, we see that the vast majority of stores heavily customize their storefront. As a result, the controllers and views of solidus_frontend are essentially public API of the gem. This makes it difficult to make improvements to solidus_frontend without breaking existing Solidus apps. This has prevented solidus_frontend from growing at the same pace as other Solidus components.

Since storefronts are heavily customized, we've come to the following conclusions:

  1. Decoupling the frontend gem from Solidus would allow us to improve the frontend without breaking apps that depend on Solidus.

  2. We can assume that once an app customizes its frontend, the app would no longer need to continue depending on the frontend gem, since it may no longer be able to keep its customizations compatible with the gem.

With these in mind, we've chosen to change solidus_frontend from a gem to a Rails application template. As a template, we can make improvements to the frontend for new applications to use. At the same time, we don't have to worry about these improvements causing incompatibilities to existing Solidus applications.

Thus, Solidus Starter Frontend is born.

How do I install Solidus Starter Frontend on a new Rails app?

Currently, the solidus gem includes the legacy solidus_frontend gem. To install solidus without solidus_frontend, we'll need to manually add the rest of the Solidus components individually:

rails new store --skip-javascript
cd store
bundle add solidus_core solidus_backend solidus_api solidus_sample
bin/rails generate solidus:install --auto-accept

Once done, all we need to do is to run the following line:

  bin/rails app:template

What can I expect to see once the frontend is installed?

Home page Home page

Product page Product page

Cart page Cart page

Login Page Login Page

Checkout - Address page Checkout - Address page

Checkout - Delivery page Checkout - Delivery page

Checkout - Payment page Checkout - Payment page

Checkout - Confirm page Checkout - Confirm page

Checkout - Complete page Checkout - Complete page

In addition to generating views for authentication and storefront functionality, the application template will also generate

  • Mailers with their corresponding views
  • View components for complex presentational logic
  • Unit and integration specs for testing the frontend

What's next for Solidus Starter Frontend?

For Solidus 4, SolidusStarterFrontend will become the recommended option for building the storefront of a new Solidus app. We're planning to remove SolidusFrontend from the solidus meta-package gem and move its code to a new repo. If your app depends on SolidusFrontend, you'll need to explicitly add solidus_frontend to your Gemfile in order to continue using it.

We are also still working on a solution to make the extensions compatible with this new frontend.

Where can I find more information on Solidus Starter Frontend?

You can check out the accompanying screencast of this blog post in our Solidus YouTube channel. You can also find the repo of Solidus Starter Frontend on GitHub.