Is Liquid Hard to Learn?

If you want to design Shopify themes, then you’ll need to learn how to use Liquid. It’s Shopify’s templating language, and it’s the backbone of all Shopify stores. Since it’s a rare language outside of e-commerce, many developers have never used it before. 

The burning question that we always hear is, “Is Liquid hard to learn?”

Liquid is easy to learn for most developers. That’s because it shares a very similar syntax to popular languages such as Java or CSS. If you’ve worked with any computer language in the past, you’ll pick up Liquid in no time at all. 

So if you plan on making money designing Shopify themes, you’re in the right place. In this post, we’re going to cover everything about Shopify’s template language, Liquid. 

What is Liquid and What Does It Do?

Liquid is an original template language created by Shopify. It’s written in the Ruby programming language. It’s currently an open-source project that you can access via GitHub. While Shopify coined the language, many other companies and projects make use of it. 

Liquid is what Shopify uses to load dynamic content on merchant stores. It’s the literal backbone of every theme and storefront on the platform. 

Lots of web developers report learning all the ins and outs of Liquid within one week. 

As a template language, Liquid can build web pages with static content and dynamic content. Static content stays the same, while dynamic content changes from page to page. 

Prerequisites for Learning Liquid 

Okay, so if you’re a total newbie developer, you’ll need a foundation before learning Liquid. We recommend learning HTML and CSS, as they’re the most similar to Liquid. 

HTML and CSS are the building blocks of every web page that you see online. They dictate the look and layout of each page and its content. 

Luckily, they’re both the easiest programming languages to use. Once you get the hang of how they work, you’ll be able to start designing pages from scratch. 

HTML works in tandem with Liquid. You’ll write all your static content in HTML and all your dynamic content in Liquid. Therefore, prior knowledge of HTML is a necessity for learning Liquid. 

With some diligent studying, you should be able to get the hang of the basics within a month or so. Before graduating to learning Liquid and designing themes, you need to put your new skills to the test. 

Try designing an entire website only using HTML and CSS. None of the forms will do anything, but you’ll be able to create a whole page complete with images and links. Once you can design pages and place elements wherever you please, you can start tackling Liquid. 

Liquid Syntax Basics 

Liquid has a very readable syntax that’s easy to distinguish. It’s very similar to HTML and CSS, so you should recognize how it works right away. You can easily spot Liquid code by these two factors:

  • Double curly braces {{ }} instead of single ones for output
  • Curly brace percentages {% %} for logic and control flow 

Beyond these two distinguishers, there are three features of Liquid code:

  • Tags
  • Filters
  • Objects

Liquid Tags 

Tags are what create logic and flow for your theme templates. You’ll need to use the curly brace percentages to denote tags. When the webpage is rendered, they don’t produce any visible output. That way, you can create conditions and loops without showing any code on the page. 

An example of a tag would be to display contextual content for your store. Let’s say that you have tags to notate the prices for each product. Yet, what will they say if your products are sold out? With a Liquid tag, you can include two options for each price. If the product is available, it will display the price. If it’s not available, it will show that the product has sold out. That’s how tags can use logic to display contextual information. 

Liquid Filters 

A filter is what you use to modify numbers, strings, objects, and variables. You use output tags {{ to create filters. The pipe character | separates the filter from the string or object. Let’s take a look at a brief example:

  • The ‘capitalize’ string filter allows you to capitalize strings. It’s notated like this {{ ‘hey there’ | capitalize }}
  • What you see on your page will read as ‘Hey there.’

As you can see, the filter dictates what happens to the string, object, or variable. There are lots of ways that you can use filters to modify all sorts of content. There are array filters, color filters, HTML filters, and more. You can include multiple filters on a single output. 

Liquid Objects 

An object in Liquid will output data from the Shopify admin. Objects are wrapped in double curly braces. An example of an object would look like this:

  • {{product.title}}

Each object can have properties in Liquid. In this example, ‘product’ is the object, and ‘title’ is the object property. When an object such as this gets compiled into a Shopify store, the output will reflect your product. So the example listed above would show up as:

  • Amazing ceramic pipe 

That’s how objects output data from your Shopify admin. It will communicate and integrate with your data to reflect your products and assets. 

Getting Started Learning Liquid 

Now that you see that Liquid isn’t intimidating at all, it’s time to start learning it. There are many free resources that you can use online to learn how to write code with Liquid. Before you try your hand at creating a theme, you should run some tests. 

Just as you did with HTML and CSS, try to make some test themes to start. That will help you get a feel for how Liquid works and feels. That way, once you start designing Shopify themes, you’ll be a total pro at working with Liquid. 

Shopify Theme development with Coding Phase

If you are interested in a great course to learn liquid try out Shopify Theme Development by CodingPhase. Codingphase by Joe Santos teaches you all about the liquid programming language as you code alongside him to create a theme. I highly recommend this course as it’s easy to follow and has tons of useful information. We recommend subscribing to the diamond plan so you can have access to both the Shopify theme development courses and Shopify app development courses, while also getting access to a huge collection of programming courses you can take. You can also buy courses individually but you will end up spending more money than if you bought the diamond plan and got access to all of the Codingphase courses. If you want to get access to the Shopify theme development course and a huge collection of courses check out Codingphase at this link.

Is Liquid Hard to Learn? ( quick video )

Concluding Thoughts

So is Liquid hard to learn? Definitely not! It’s one of the easiest programming languages to learn. Not only that, but it’s very similar to HTML and CSS, which almost all programmers already know. So if you want to design themes for Shopify for a living, don’t let learning Liquid stand in your way. If you’d be interested in our guide on how to sell themes on Shopify visit this link here.

To get more Shopify developer tips see our developer posts here.

Davon Wilson

I'm a certified Shopify expert, you can usually find me on my computer coding, or thinking about business ideas. I'm an avid Ravens fan and an overall nice guy.

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