Skip to main content

Vendure Overview

Read this page to gain a high-level understanding of Vendure and concepts you will need to know to build your application.


Vendure is a headless e-commerce platform. By "headless" we mean that it exposes all of its functionality via APIs. Specifically, Vendure features two GraphQL APIs: one for storefronts (Shop API) and the other for administrative functions (Admin API).

These are the major parts of a Vendure application:

  • Server: The Vendure server is the part that handles requests coming in to the GraphQL APIs. It serves both the Shop API and Admin API, and can send jobs to the Job Queue to be processed by the Worker.
  • Worker: The Worker runs in the background and deals with tasks such as updating the search index, sending emails, and other tasks which may be long-running, resource-intensive or require retries.
  • Admin UI: The Admin UI is how shop administrators manage orders, customers, products, settings and so on. It is not actually part of the Vendure core, but is provided as a plugin (the AdminUiPlugin) which is installed for you in a standard Vendure installation. The Admin UI can be further extended to support custom functionality, as detailed in the Extending the Admin UI section
  • Storefront: With headless commerce, you are free to implement your storefront exactly as you see fit, unconstrained by the back-end, using any technologies that you like. To make this process easier, we have created a number of storefront starter kits, as well as guides on building a storefront.


Technology stack

Vendure is built on the following open-source technologies:

  • SQL Database: Vendure requires an SQL database compatible with TypeORM. Officially we support PostgreSQL, MySQL/MariaDB and SQLite but Vendure can also be used with API-compatible variants such Amazon Aurora, CockroachDB, or PlanetScale.
  • TypeScript & Node.js: Vendure is written in TypeScript and runs on Node.js.
  • NestJS: The underlying framework is NestJS, which is a full-featured application development framework for Node.js. Building on NestJS means that Vendure benefits from the well-defined structure and rich feature-set and ecosystem that NestJS provides.
  • GraphQL: The Shop and Admin APIs use GraphQL, which is a modern API technology which allows you to specify the exact data that your client application needs in a convenient and type-safe way. Internally we use Apollo Server to power our GraphQL APIs.
  • Angular: The Admin UI is built with Angular, a popular, stable application framework from Google. Note that you do not need to know Angular to use Vendure, and UI extensions can even be written in the front-end framework of your choice, such as React or Vue.

Design principles

Vendure is designed to be:

  • Flexible: Vendure is designed to be flexible enough to support a wide range of e-commerce use-cases, while taking care of the common functionality for you. It is not a "one-size-fits-all" solution, but rather a framework which you can extend and customize to suit your needs.
  • Extensible: A typical e-commerce application needs to integrate with many external systems for payments, shipping, inventory management, email sending, and so on. Vendure makes heavy use of the strategy pattern - a software design pattern which allows you to replace default behaviors with your own custom implementations as needed.
  • Modular: Vendure is built with a modular architecture, where each unit of functionality of your application is encapsulated in a plugin. This makes it easy to add or remove functionality as needed, and to share plugins with the community.
  • Type-safe: Vendure is written in TypeScript, which means that you get the benefits of static type-checking and code completion in your IDE. Our use of GraphQL for our APIs brings static typing to the API layer, enabling rapid development with type-safety across the entire stack.