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How to customize your marketplace with code
How to customize your marketplace with code

This article explains how you can use Sharetribe's developer platform to add unique features or customizations with custom code.

Juho Makkonen avatar
Written by Juho Makkonen
Updated over a week ago

With Sharetribe, you can build, launch, and run a fully functional marketplace website without coding. However, sometimes, you may discover features you'd like to implement in your marketplace that are not possible to achieve with Sharetribe's no-code marketplace builder.

Perhaps you have in mind a specific visual design or workflow that is an important part of your unique value proposition. Or you might want to synchronize the inventory of your marketplace with existing online stores or vacation rental websites. Maybe you need a native mobile app to work alongside your website. In situations like these, you can customize your marketplace with code.

There is no limit to what you can build. No matter what feature or change you need, it is always possible to achieve it with custom development.

How customizing with code works

Sharetribe combines an easy-to-use no-code marketplace builder with a powerful, flexible developer platform. This unique approach ensures that even if you choose to customize a specific part of your marketplace with code, you can still continue operating and modifying other parts of your marketplace the way you did before, without coding. You'll also continue enjoying the benefits of Sharetribe's hosted cloud infrastructure.

The transition to custom development is seamless: enabling your marketplace for custom development, making a simple code change, and seeing the results live can take as little as 15 minutes.

The amount of time it takes to custom develop the changes you want depends on their complexity: the simplest changes could be done in a matter of minutes, while a complex feature could take weeks to complete.

Using the developer platform requires the "Build" plan. When you're ready to publish your changes in a Live marketplace, you need to upgrade your subscription to Sharetribe's "Extend" plan (starting from $299/month). Learn more about the costs associated with custom development.

If you're comfortable with editing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code, you can custom-develop many of the changes you want yourself. Learn more about the technologies used in Sharetribe.

If you don't consider yourself a web developer, it can be a good idea to hire a developer to build the changes for you. Through the Sharetribe Expert Network, you can find a reliable, verified developer with lots of experience in Sharetribe development.

If you'd like to hire an Expert to help you with development, you can either go to the Sharetribe Expert Directory, find an Expert you like and contact them directly, or book a free call with a member of the Sharetribe team to discuss your requirements, so we can then connect you to the right Expert.

If you'd like to custom-develop the changes yourself, read on.

How to start customizing with code

Customizing your marketplace with code typically means that you'll be editing the codebase of the Sharetribe Web Template. It is an open-source application that powers the "front end" (the code that defines how things look to your users) of your marketplace. It gets its data and configurations via APIs from Sharetribe Core, which powers the “backend” of your marketplace (the code that defines how data is stored and processed, as well as the databases and file storage). Sharetribe Core is always hosted by Sharetribe. Learn more about Sharetribe's technical architecture.

Customizing with code means that you will need to install the customized version of Sharetribe Web Template on a web server managed by you. This is a pretty simple process, and the hosting costs are minimal since Sharetribe Core handles most of the heavy lifting for you. Learn more about the hosting costs.

To start making changes with code, you should first go to your Dev environment by clicking the environment picker in the top left of your Console. If you haven't enabled your Dev environment yet, click "Enable Dev environment" from the picker.

Your Dev environment has its own user, listing, and transaction data. Using the Dev environment for building and testing your code customizations ensures that your work-in-progress changes don't interfere with your current Test and Live environments.

Once you've enabled your Dev environment, click the environment picker again and choose the Dev environment. You're now taken to a page that guides you through the process of getting started with development and making your first code changes.

You can learn more about custom development and the developer platform in Sharetribe's developer documentation.

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