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Are you a startup planning for Ethereum app development? Thanks to decentralized application development being based on a relatively undeveloped technology, it can open up a world of new possibilities for your company.
In this article, we will cover the steps of Ethereum app development. We will also cover the various terminologies and concepts related to Decentralized blockchain app development in case you are new to this technology.
BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY AND ETHEREUM:
A blockchain is a digital log (called a ledger, which we will learn in the next section) of transactions that are copied and distributed throughout the blockchain network of individual computer systems.
Each block on the chain comprises of transactions, and whenever a new transaction takes place on the blockchain, a copy of that transaction is added to the previous one to form a ‘chain’.
One example of a popular blockchain solution is Ethereum, a blockchain that can be used to develop and run blockchain apps and as a cryptocurrency. It is currently the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.
Before we move on to learn Ethereum app development, it will be a good practice that we understand some basic terminologies related to it.
Important Terminologies Related to Ethereum App Development:
1. Smart Contact:
Smart contracts are just programs that allow transactions to be enacted when specific criteria are met. They are generally used to execute an agreement automatically, allowing for processes to be sped up and to be recorded on the blockchain.
Proof-of-work (PoW) is a consensus protocol or algorithm that allows the blockchain’s nodes to agree on the current status of the information stored on the blockchain, helping to allow for payment for processing tasks, etc.
One of the most popular uses of PoW has been seen in Bitcoin and Ethereum. To see how proof-of-work compares to a yet popular algorithm, proof-of-stake, click on this article.
Solidity is an object-oriented programming (OOP) language that is used for writing and implementing ethereum smart contracts. The Solidity-compiled programs are designed to run on the Ethereum Virtual Machine.
API stands for Application Programming Interface and is a set of protocols and definitions used to build and integrate application software. APIs let you establish communication with different products or services without the need to know how they are implemented.
JSON-RPC is a data interchange protocol that allows a client (such as a blockchain explorer) to send commands to a server (such as your local blockchain node) and listen for responses. JSON-RPC refers to two independent principles that, when combined, result in a widely used protocol.
As we’ve now covered a few of the basic concepts related to blockchain app development, we can proceed to the real ethereum app development process.
For a start, we’ll have to install some dependencies and tools that will allow us to run our smart contracts. Let’s have a look.
Ethereum App Development
We will need multiple development tools and packages to create a local environment.
1. Truffle Framework:
Truffle is an all-in-one development environment, asset pipeline, and testing framework. Truffle is built on the Ethereum Blockchain and is intended to make the development of DApps go as smoothly as possible.
Truffle allows you to deploy, compile, and test ethereum smart Contracts, as well as inject them into web apps and create front-ends for DApps. Here are some of the features of Truffle:
- You can deploy, compile, and link smart contracts directly in Truffle.
- Truffle supports automatic contract testing with Chai and Mocha.
- It offers a flexible build pipeline that can support both web apps and consoles.
To install Truffle Ethereum, you’ll need to set up the Node Package Manager (npm). For that, you’ll have to open the terminal and type the following into it:
truffle npm install -g
On Linux operating system, you may need to add the “sudo” prefix to the above sentence. Make sure to install the Ganache blockchain emulator after you’ve installed the Truffle framework. You can find installers for the most popular platforms on the official Ganache website.
Ethereum Ganache is a development and testing blockchain that runs locally in memory. It mimics the characteristics of a real Ethereum network, including the availability of a number of test Ether-funded accounts.
It is available as a graphical UI and a command-line application. Both versions include an RPC interface that you can access on a localhost port, just like connecting to a real Ethereum node.
It’s simple to get started using Ethereum Ganache right away. The user can choose between a quick start or a customized workspace after running the graphical user interface.
The quick start workspace creates an in-memory blockchain that is ready to use, with some basic default values for parameters like the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), gas pricing, gas limit, and the RPC interface to be given to the localhost. It also creates ten accounts that are both funded and unlocked.
The goal of developing solidity language for Ethereum is to keep smart contracts deterministic and accurate.
For the purpose of creating a new block, the node executes programming tools and smart contracts within the Ethereum connected blocks. This means the code that is run is enrolled based on the block’s sequence.
The program phase is relocated to new storage exchanges as the execution process progresses to the next level. These transactions are initially carried out at the miner’s location. The new block gets dispersed to various working nodes within the blockchain after execution.
To ensure the integrity of the smart contract architecture, each node independently verifies the block by correlating state changes using any local copy of the block. The blockchain nodes accept the exchanges when the state changes are deterministic.
Similarly, if the nodes are unable to reach an agreement, the block’s execution is halted, and the network may come to an end.
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4. MetaMask Ethereum Wallet:
MetaMask allows you to securely connect to decentralized applications, save and control account keys, broadcast payments, and send or receive Ethereum-based coins and tokens using a compatible web browser or the mobile app’s built-in browser.
The software offers an integrated tool for exchanging Ethereum tokens that find the cheapest exchange rate by aggregating numerous decentralized exchanges (DEXs). This feature, called MetaMask Swaps, charges a fee of 0.875 percent of the transaction amount for this service.
The wallet works with the most popular browsers, including Firefox, Chrome, Brave, and Microsoft Edge. In addition, MetaMask contains Ethereum’s native currency, ETH, and tokens based on the ERC-721 and ERC-20 protocol standards.
MetaMask’s amazing encryption technology, which securely keeps a password and a private key in each user’s device, is one feature that distinguishes it as a top Ethereum wallet. Users can also link several wallets and swap between the major testnets, Ethereum mainnet, and even the Binance Smart Chain mainnet.
CREATING THE PROJECT:
As of now, we have installed the dependencies required to get our project going. The next step in this process is to do the following:
- Creating the project directory.
- Initiating the Truffle project.
- Creating the package.json file to help install the dependencies.
- Creating a smart contract and storing it in the contracts folder.
- Connecting to Ganache and linking MetaMask.
- Creating a migration script.
- Code the smart contract and create events and code them.
- Run the app.
These are the steps that you’ll have to go through for Ethereum app development, considering you have the skills to code in each of these steps. Visit our article on “How To Integrate A Blockchain Supply Chain Into Your Enterprise Company” to learn more about the blockchain development process.
Should you build your own blockchain app using Ethereum?
Ethereum is a public blockchain network. When you build a DApp on Ethereum, you are building an app for anyone that joins the Ethereum network. Do you want that? Analyze this question thoroughly.
A permissioned blockchain can protect sensitive data better
Unlike public blockchain networks, permissioned blockchain networks are private networks that allow only trusted parties to join. Organizations using permissioned blockchain networks have their user and identity management systems. A permissioned blockchain will only allow users validated by such an identity management system.
Assume you lead an organization that functions in highly regulated sectors like healthcare or real estate. Your organization likely processes sensitive data. You can’t let anonymous or pseudonymous participants in a public blockchain see that data.
Your project requires a private blockchain since it’s a permissioned network. They are called “enterprise blockchain networks”. By implementing access control, you secure your sensitive data. The Ethereum blockchain network isn’t the right choice for you in this case.
What options do you have for building a permissioned blockchain?
If you plan to build a permissioned blockchain network, then you have several options. Private blockchain networks have distributed ledgers.
However, you can implement access control. Permissioned blockchain networks typically use different consensus algorithms and not the POW (Proof of Work) algorithm. Check out the following examples:
- Hyperledger Fabric: Hyperledger Fabric is an open-source framework to build enterprise blockchain networks. It’s a project from the Hyperledger Consortium. It offers many advantages like performance, scalability, ease-of-use, tooling support, access control, security, tutorials, etc.
- Corda Enterprise from R3: Corda Enterprise is a permissioned blockchain platform from R3. It offers scalability, performance, and security. Corda Enterprise helps you to implement multi-party transparency, inter-company automation, and digitization of assets.
- ConsenSys Quorum: ConsenSys Quorum is a well-known open-source blockchain platform. Organizations can use ConsenSys Quorum to use Ethereum for enterprise blockchain development. JP Morgan had originally built Quorum, and ConsenSys had acquired it later.
Managing the IT infrastructure for a permissioned blockchain
When you build a DApp on the Ethereum public blockchain network, you focus only on the business logic. You don’t need to manage the IT infrastructure.
Ethereum is an established public blockchain network. The network already had nodes managed by individual users.
When you build an enterprise blockchain network, you need to manage the IT infrastructure. This includes servers, networks, etc. That’s hard work, and you would rather work on the business logic.
The good news is that several cloud computing providers offer BaaS (Blockchain-as-a-Service) platforms. We have described blockchain network hosts like AWS, Azure, SAP, and IBM so that you can choose one.
Which programming languages do blockchain developers use for building an enterprise blockchain app?
When you build a DApp on the Ethereum blockchain network, you create smart contracts. A DApp must have smart contracts running in its back-end. You need blockchain developers with Solidity programming skills for this.
Enterprise blockchain frameworks differ from Ethereum significantly here. Typically, organizations developing enterprise blockchain applications have a wider choice of programming languages.
Take the example of Hyperledger Fabric. You can code your app in Java, Go, Node.js, and Python. Hyperledger Fabric offers SDKs for these languages.
Key considerations when building an Ethereum blockchain app
Keep the following considerations in mind:
Creating a cryptographic token based on the Ethereum blockchain platform
You will create a cryptographic token for your Ethereum DApp. This involves creating smart contracts. Study the following Ethereum standards for cryptographic tokens before choosing one:
- ERC-20: It’s the most common token standard, and you might use it for most of the use cases.
- ERC-721: Use this standard if you plan to create a non-fungible token (NFT).
- ERC-1155: If you need to manage fungible, semi-fungible, and non-fungible tokens, then use this standard.
- ERC-725: Use it if you are creating a digital identity application using Ethereum.
- ERC-223: This token standard fixes some of the issues with the earlier token standards.
- ERC-777: This standard extends the ERC-20 standard, and it provides new features. E.g., this standard allows both minting and burning tokens. Some blockchain systems need to burn crypto tokens, and you can use this standard for them.
- ERC-1400 and ERC-1404: If you plan to launch a security token, then consider using these standards.
Best practices when developing smart contracts
Keep the following best practices in mind for ethereum development:
- Your team should prioritize simplicity and readability to develop smart contracts. You can’t modify an Ethereum smart contract after you deploy it. This makes the code review and testing very important. You will find a smart contract easier to debug during testing if the code is simple.
- You will spend more Ethers to execute a smart contract if it has complex logic and calculations. This provides one more reason to keep smart contracts simple.
The key smart contract vulnerabilities to prevent
Pay attention to the smart contract development process to prevent key vulnerabilities. We have talked about the top smart contract vulnerabilities in our guide to blockchain code audit. These vulnerabilities are as follows:
- Shadowing of variables;
- Storage pointers that can be exploited;
- Overflows and under-flows;
- Bugs that allow hackers to stage denial-of-service (DoS) attacks;
- Wrong validation of cryptographic signatures;
- Generating random numbers without following the security-related best practices;
- Timestamp dependencies;
- Wrong assumptions for ordering transactions.
The Decentralized Application Security Project (DASP) top 10 report identifies more smart contract vulnerabilities, e.g.:
- Access control issues;
- Unchecked return values for low-level calls;
- Short address attacks.
The importance of a smart contract audit
You need to eliminate bugs before deploying smart contracts, however, testing can never catch all bugs. Code review is important. Implement a thorough smart contract audit process in your project.
Do the following:
- Find the right people for smart contract audit. You need experienced people that know what to look for.
- Ensure that you have a locked-down version of the source code before undertaking a smart contract audit.
- Read the relevant project documents to understand the requirements, technical solutions, etc.
- Use tools for smart contract verification. VeriSol, which stands for “Verifier for Solidity” is a good example. Microsoft has built this smart contract verification tool.
- Undertake manual code review since you can’t depend on verification tools alone.
- Perform a code quality analysis.
- Analyze the presence of known vulnerabilities.
- Undertake a functionality analysis.
- Analyze the performance of the smart contract.
- Look for optimization possibilities.
- Report all errors or action items.
- Track errors and action items to closure.
Interested in Ethereum App Developmen for Your Company?
Blockchain technology is new and facing tremendous transformation in terms of its scope of usage.
This article covered the main topics on ethereum app development in brief. It is important to remember that developing a blockchain app for an enterprise or company that solves a real-world problem is tricky.
You should and must choose the right ethereum platform and the right team to handle your requirements. If you are lacking any skilled ethereum developers, then DevTeam.Space has the right expertise and experience on hand today.
Our developers and dev teams have built numerous blockchain solutions that are already in the marketplace. Simply fill out one of our project specification forms and we will be in touch to see how we can help with ethereum application development services.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
You can create smart contracts by following these steps:
- Creating a wallet on MetaMask.
- Selecting a test network.
- Add dummy ethers to the wallet.
- Use an editor to write your code in Solidity.
- Deploying smart contract.
A blockchain is a digital log of transactions that are copied and distributed throughout the blockchain’s whole network of computer systems. Each block on the chain comprises many transactions, and whenever a new transaction takes place on the blockchain, a copy of that transaction is put to each participant’s ledger.
As a member of a members-only network, you can trust that you will receive accurate and timely data from the blockchain and that your confidential blockchain records will be exchanged just with network participants to whom you have specifically authorized access.