A Quick Look Into Ethereum Blockchain Development

You have probably been hearing the latest news on blockchain development and how cryptocurrencies are hot commodities right now. If you have a full-time software developer gig or are just an avid tinkerer, then you should definitely explore Ethereum blockchain development. Now you might be asking why should I develop with the Ethereum blockchain? Well after a bit of research you’ll see that Ethereum is valued at around $800 per ether. Ethereum’s value might be a ways off from Bitcoin, however it’s current price and slow and steady growth make it a desirable investment. If you are now convinced on the power of the Ethereum blockchain, then let’s begin with a look at the various tools being used to develop Ethereum blockchain based web applications.

Blockchain developers have a given track record for producing handy decentralized applications (or dApp) and deploying them to the web. Let’s begin the basic setup for blockchain web app development, first you’ll need a virtual wallet to store ether in. Head over to Ethereum.org and download the Ethereum wallet. After installing the wallet you’ll notice the wallet syncing to the blockchain. Note that you’ll need between 20-30 gbs free on your hard drive for a full sync with the blockchain and it will take a few hours to complete. You may begin exploring the Ethereum wallet while the sync completes in the background. Once the sync has completed you are free to begin mining ether, adding funds to your wallet, sending funds and drafting up virtual contracts. If you would like to learn more about various ether wallets be sure to read this Medium article on configuring different ether virtual wallets. Before going any further with Ethereum blockchain development it is important to understand the Solidity scripting language. Some would compare Solidity to JavaScript, however over time Solidity has changed around that it now appears quite different from the JavaScript language. In short, Solidity is used to code out virtual contracts to be implemented within the Ethereum wallet. These contracts control such functions that include but are not limited to: account rights to send ether, how much ether can be sent to accounts, which accounts ether can be sent to, and which account owners have the right to send and receive ether. When writing Solidity code be sure to use the Remix – Solidity IDE, which allows for you to write and compile Solidity code right in the browser. The Remix IDE contains a debugger, also accessible within the browser. Now that you have your Ethereum wallet and the Remix IDE, study up on some Solidity coding techniques through tutorials and online resources. A great source for an intro to Solidity coding and the Remix IDE can be referenced from this Coursetro tutorial on smart contract basics. Be sure to explore the Ethereum wallet to understand it’s layout and functionality. Once you have a firm understanding of these tools it is time to obtain our blockchain web framework.

In order to get started with blockchain web application development using Ethereum you will want to take a look into using the Truffle web framework. If you are no stranger to web development then you should know that web frameworks create a complete web application file skeleton in a snap. Truffle acts in the same way as Ruby on Rails or Django does, but by crafting out the full skeleton for an Ethereum blockchain web app. The Truffle web framework creates a similar directory that you probably have witnessed, complete with a database and Model-View-Controller (MVC). One difference you will notice is that Truffle creates a specific folder for Solidity. It is in this folder that you will script out the virtual contracts for your Ethereum blockchain web app. When you deploy your blockchain web app in the browser Truffle will compile all files and launch to your chosen browser. There is one more tool to be noted of which will allow for you to send test (or real) ether during and after the development of your blockchain web app. This tool is the Metamask plugin and can be installed on both Chrome and Firefox browsers. Metamask is an extension for accessing Ethereum and allows for you to send and receive ether straight from your browser. When you run your Ethereum blockchain web app it will detect and access your Metamask account allowing for you to test any sending and receiving functionality all within your testing environment. For more information on developing with Truffle and MetaMask check out another Medium post going through a step-by-step configuration for both MetaMask and Truffle environments. To read more about leading dApp progression check out this service page on blockchain development.

Now that you have been exposed to these tools for creating Ethereum blockchain web apps you should be ready to begin experimenting with blockchain web development. Blockchain technology is still in the early stages making now the best time to learn. Stay up-to-date on the latest trends in blockchain development and never stop learning. Who knows, maybe you will create the next biggest decentralized blockchain app!

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