My main reason for embracing Pinegrow is because I came from a very good visual builder that unfortunately didn’t offer responsive design, but it allowed you a lot of flexibility in editing the underlying code. So I was comfortable enough with coding that I looked forward to learning more with Pinegrow. But had I not understood anything about HTML and CSS, I probably would have become frustrated with Pinegrow quickly because it doesn’t make things (forgive the term) “idiot-proof.” My learning curve with Pinegrow has involved doing a lot of things incorrectly, and then being like a detective, working backwards trying to figure out what I did wrong, and learning in the process.
Pinegrow’s documentation is a mixed bag. They had pretty complete documentation online for the earlier version 3.x, but when they released 4.x, a lot of things in the UI changed, and the newer documentation doesn’t cover all the changes (yet.) There are a lot of YouTube videos available however. There are no tutorials like Lynda.com.
Pinegrow doesn’t use “widgets” or “plug-ins” in the familiar sense. It has a number of popular, built-in FRAMEWORKS which contain components that can be drag & dropped into a layout. It also has a set of pre-made “blocks” for Bootstrap 3 (unfortunately Bootstrap is now in version 4 and they’ve not updated the blocks yet.) There are some third-party blocks available however that work with Bootstrap 4.
I’m not familiar with the Shopify platform, but if it can be integrated into a website, Pinegrow will allow it. Pinegrow doesn’t impede you in any way in terms of design, because it’s not really a “builder” but a visual editor that takes a lot of the work out of hand-coding, and lets you “see” what your code is doing in real-time. The website you see in Pinegrow’s screen is EXACTLY what it will look like when rendered in the browser. It’s totally live.