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What development skills are needed?

Building a custom marketplace with Flex requires some software development skills. This article explains what you need to know when customizing the platform.

You can use any technology to build a marketplace on top of the Marketplace API. However, making a marketplace user interface (UI) from scratch requires a lot of effort. This is why we provide Flex Template for Web (FTW). It is a polished marketplace web application that is ready for customization.

FTW is a template web application that uses the Marketplace API. It is built using common and modern frontend tooling, so frontend developers should feel right at home and happy with all the technology.

Technologies

Here are the main technologies the FTW uses:

  • JavaScript: the programming language for the whole application
  • CSS: styling the user interface using CSS Modules
  • React: library for creating user interfaces with components
  • Redux: state and data flow handling
  • React Router: routing
  • Final Form: forms
  • Express: server side rendering of the React application
  • Node.js: development tooling and running the Express server

Customization

Depending on what needs to be customized, the required skills might vary a lot. Simple color and image changes require only basic development skills, but familiarity with command line tooling is helpful. Many UI changes can be done with pure CSS knowlege.

For anything more extensive than basic look-and-feel changes, familiarity with JavaScript, React, and crafting UIs with components is needed. Working knowledge of frontend web development and JavaScript is a good starting point in learning the technologies.

Check out the Getting started with FTW tutorial to see what it takes to get the template running with a small customization.

Development tooling

While FTW uses Webpack, PostCSS, and various other tools behind the scene, knowledge of these technologies is not needed in usual customizations. Compared to a usual frontend project with a long list of dependencies and extensive Webpack configuration files, FTW hides all this behind a sharetribe-scripts NPM package.

sharetribe-scripts is a fork of the react-scripts package in the amazing Create React App tool. We have added server side rendering and CSS modules, but otherwise all the nice things from create-react-app are still there.

Getting help

If you are unsure if something is possible or how to do a certain thing with Flex, you can contact our support: flex-support@sharetribe.com. If you are not a developer or don't have access to one, we can also help you.

For developers doing customizations, we have an active community in Slack. You will get access to the channel when you get an account to Console.