Separate your product catalog from commerce.


Build your own Dashboard experience with Custom Apps.

October 4, 2023 Daniel Oh

Creating your own workspace

We pride ourselves in building clean, functional, and intuitive admin applications for our clients. Users don't want to decipher complex interfaces and flows, they just want apps that work. That's why we go through extensive testing and development to ensure all our apps are easy for any user to pick up.

Still, we know that every user has different requirements and preferences for the tools they use. While admin applications aren't usually extensible, a big part of our Dashboard revamp was to bring it closer to our product philosophy. Enabling your own experience is a critical part of what we do at Commerce Layer, from our open-source applications to our React component library.

Today, we’re proud to announce the release of Custom Apps. Custom Apps allow you to build your own Dashboard experience, either by editing our existing open-source Dashboard applications or build your own using our App Elements components.

Building your own apps

For minor or stylistic edits — like new UI copy or a title change — it’s probably best to fork the application you want to tweak. From GitHub, it’s easy to host your new application on either Netlify or Vercel. Once it’s set up, all we need is the URL to implement it seamlessly into our Dashboard.

If you want to build a new app from the ground up, then it’s best to leverage our App Elements library. App Elements is a React library containing all the components that make up our Hub apps on the Dashboard. The components range from the very simple (a button) to the very sophisticated (a fully functional events and comments timeline), giving you everything you need to build your own applications.

Once you’ve built your new app — whether it’s an adjusted version of our apps or a completely new app built with App Elements — and you’ve deployed it onto your own hosting service, you have the ability to integrate into the Dashboard at the bottom of the Hub.

Here, you’ll click into the implementation wizard. The first step is determining what kind of app your Custom App is — a Customers app, an Orders app, a Shipments app, etc. After you’ve selected, you’ll need to input the name of your new app and the URL of your hosted app. Once you’ve entered all of the required information, your new app will show up in the Hub.

For a video walkthrough of how to implement a Custom App from start to finish, take a look at our recording below:

Custom Apps are also subject to the same permissions and roles as native Commerce Layer apps, allowing admins to maintain the same protections and guardrails as our Dashboard apps.

Building outside the box, not out-of-the-box

The prevailing thinking in ecommerce is that problems must be solved out-of-the-box. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that approach, a lot of our competitors have robust admin dashboards that are filled to the brim with features and solutions to solve the day-to-day concerns of merchants and developers. We’ve also took the time to build useable Dashboard applications that make our users lives easier.

That said, us providers can’t account for every use case or preference. Just having the option to build your own experiences has been missing in every ecommerce platform until now. For this reason alone, we’re not just proud of the applications we’ve built, we’re also very proud to be the only commerce platform on the market to make our Dashboard truly extensible.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on our Custom Apps. If you want to give us feedback or join the ongoing conversation in our community, join us on Slack here!

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