You have fair theoretical know-how of what an Ethereum blockchain and dapps are. However, you have no idea how to proceed to get a practical hands-on, to start coding and experimenting. This blog post will explain the tools used to build dapps for the Ethereum blockchain. We will explore various tools available for blockchain, especially for Ethereum. The tools include integrated development environments(IDEs), test environments, metrics, debugging tools, and wallets for storing cryptocurrencies.
Table of Contents
Remix is an online or web-based integrated development environment(IDE) for developing, deploying, and run smart contracts for the Ethereum blockchain. It supports Solidity and Vyper programming languages for smart contract development and deploying on a local VM or an external Web3 provider such as Metamask.
Remix is advantageous if you want a quick playground for writing and deploying simple smart contracts. It runs directly from the web browser, making it very easy to use. There are certain limitations of Remix. It does not support advanced real-life smart contracts, no support for complete testing and debugging. Also, with Remix, it is not possible to design dapps that need the frontend. To explore using Remix, visit Remix.
The development tools used for blockchain development need node.js. Therefore, it becomes necessary to install node.js as a prerequisite for using any blockchain development tool. To install, visit the link Node.js. Alternately you can install node.js using a node version manager(nvm) installer, here nvm. Using nvm allows users to select the version of node.js to be installed. Installing node.js also installs npm (node package manager), needed to install any blockchain development tools.
It is a testing framework for blockchains using Ethereum Virtual Machines (EVM) for smart contract development. It has support for Solidity and Vyper programming languages, widely used for smart contracts. With Truffle, it is possible to build dapps with the frontend. It is also possible to develop advanced smart contracts.
Truffle is a command-line tool or terminal based. You need to install truffle before using it. This is done using
Thus, Truffle offers a lot of functionalities and a complete ecosystem for dapps development, making the life of developers much easier. For more details, here Truffle Suite
Ganache is a built-in part of truffle. It is a local Ethereum blockchain needed for local development. The Ganache blockchain runs on your local machine, is isolated from public testnets and Ethereum mainnet. This is beneficial, as it acts as an isolated environment to experiment with, without any worry of making mistakes that cause monetary losses.
Ganache comes in two flavors. 1. Ganache UI and 2. Ganache CLI. Ganache UI comes with a user interface to interact with Ganache. This is built over CLI (command line interface). Ganache CLI is terminal-based, easier to use, and widely used, compared to UI-based due to its flexibility.
Ganache, in default, provides users with 10 fake Ethers. As deploying and testing smart contracts on the Ethereum mainnet requires Ether, it is practical and prudent to use a personal blockchain like Ganache to test the dapps for debugging and troubleshooting before deploying on the mainnet.
For details, follow Ganache.
It is a frontend library collection and part of the Truffle framework. It has support for React applications, making it very suitable for dapps frontend development.
It comes in three packages:
- Drizzle – core library for web3.
- Drizzle-react – helps connect Drizzle with react app.
- Drizzle-react-components – a library with a useful component for dapp functions.
For more details, check here Drizzle.
It is a cryptocurrency wallet software for interacting with the Ethereum blockchain. Metamask is available as a browser extension and as a mobile app that helps in interacting with dapps.
You can easily find Metamask extensions for browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Brave, Opera, and others. With Metamask you can store and manage account keys, Ethereum cryptocurrency exchange, and tokens, broadcast transactions, and connect to dapps.
For more details, here MetaMask.
A set of tools allowing, you to connect your app to an Ethereum blockchain. It supports a set of APIs that help you deploy the smart contracts on the mainnet. With Infura, you can deploy the smart contracts on Ethereum mainnet and public testnets (Kovan, Rinkeby, etc.).
Infura helps solve these problems
- Simplifies connecting to Ethereum blockchain, allowing access to Ethereum node on the mainnet.
- Running your own Ethereum nodes needs a lot of storage space, can be easily avoided with Infura.
- Provides infrastructure to build sophisticated next-generation software and Web3 applications that need scaling to meet user demands.
- Supports free and paid accounts. For a beginner, a free one is good to go.
Details are available here Infura.
Web3.js is dubbed often as the “internet of blockchains”. Web3.js has APIs that help develop dapps that require interaction with the local or external Ethereum blockchain for reading/writing data. Web3 is a collection of libraries that allows you to send and receive Ether from one account to another. To install web3.js on the terminal
npm install web3. Web3.js uses JSON-RPC (remote procedure call) to interact with the Ethereum blockchain.
Etherscan is an Ethereum blockchain explorer. It allows visualizing what happens on the Ethereum blockchain. With Etherscan, you can confirm and validate transactions that occur on the Ethereum blockchain, read data from the smart contracts, and much more. The main goal of Etherscan is blockchain transparency and to make all transactions searchable on the Ethereum blockchain in the most transparent way.
For details, Etherescan.
DAppBoard is an analytics and metrics platform with visual support for the Ethereum blockchain. It allows you to see how Ethereum dapps are used on a daily or weekly basis using dashboards. DAppBoard can track all events, transactions, then process all the data to extract volume, balance, number of users of the dapps. Such metrics can help understand smart contract performance and help us better understand the blockchain ecosystem.
For details, DAppBoard.
Final Wrap Up
In this post, we have seen various Ethereum blockchain development tools for 2021, to get started with the development. The tools discussed here would cover all aspects of blockchain development including coding, debugging, visualizing smart contract transactions, storing, sending, and receiving Ether. Though not discussed here, there are other tools available that can be considered for development – ether.js, Embark, Mist, Geth. Getting expertise in these tools would make you a highly valuable, efficient, and sought-after blockchain developer.