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How to avoid development hell

How to avoid development hell


Cointelegraph is following the event of a completely new blockchain from inception to mainnet and past via its sequence, Contained in the Blockchain Developer’s Thoughts, written by Andrew Levine of Koinos Group.

We lately launched the third and remaining model of the Koinos testnet, which is why I need to discuss one thing few tasks like to speak about: Constructing blockchains is growth hell. On this article, I’ll clarify why and the way different builders can keep away from getting caught in it.

At first blush, constructing a blockchain doesn’t sound so laborious. A blockchain is only a mixture of well-established cryptographic primitives, which, when correctly applied, permit for the development of a ledger containing a verifiable historical past of transactions by a community. The extra decentralized the community, the extra reliable the historical past.

Blockchain “frameworks”

In an effort to make constructing new blockchains simpler, different groups have launched blockchain “frameworks” that, in idea, ought to get rid of the necessity for builders to fret about constructing the blockchain itself in order that they’ll concentrate on no matter distinctive options they need to construct into the blockchain. Cosmos, EOSIO and Polkadot’s Substrate are examples of such blockchain frameworks.

When our staff stopped engaged on Steem (the world’s first fee-less blockchain), our authentic intention was to leverage an current blockchain framework to construct a blockchain designed to be as accessible as doable. We had spent 4 years refining Steem’s fee-less design and figured that, by porting that resolution into an current blockchain framework, we might ship a blockchain that was much more accessible than another blockchain in comparatively little time.

Really fee-less and general-purpose

However we had been stunned to seek out that not one of the current frameworks allowed us to create the type of really feeless person expertise we had been trying to convey to the market. We didn’t simply need to take away charges on a technical degree, we wished to empower builders to construct purposes that had been free to make use of. In addition they lacked a lot of different options we believed had been required to ship a suitable developer expertise.

The facility of a general-purpose blockchain stems not from the options the blockchain engineers construct into the blockchain however from the options that builders add to that blockchain as sensible contracts. That is doubly true for a blockchain framework that ought to actually be the mostgeneral-purpose blockchain conceivable because the entire concept is to permit individuals to construct any type of blockchain they’ll think about. And but, the present frameworks did not empower us, one of the crucial skilled blockchain growth groups, in our makes an attempt to construct the blockchain we wished to construct in a number of methods.

The prevailing frameworks not solely made it unimaginable for builders to create free-to-use purposes, however in addition they pressured builders to be taught new and sometimes troublesome programming languages and dramatically restricted the speed at which each purposes and the blockchain itself might enhance.

Liberating builders

We wished to construct a blockchain that will free builders to construct insanely nice purposes that atypical individuals would love to make use of. That allowed the builders to work within the programming languages they already knew and beloved (what we name “common language assist”); that allowed their purposes (and the blockchain itself) to quickly evolve; and, most significantly, it allowed them to construct purposes that had been free to make use of.

However with a view to construct thatblockchain we first wanted a very general-purpose blockchain frameworkthat wouldn’t solely permit us to construct the blockchain of our goals however as a pure consequence of being probably the most general-purpose framework conceivable, ought to permit anybody to construct the blockchain of theirdreams.

Koinos is that final general-purpose blockchain framework that may function the inspiration for the last word feeless layer 1: Koinos mainnet. The Koinos Blockchain Framework (KBF) is designed to be the simplestblockchain conceivable, containing solely these cryptographic primitives essential to assemble a blockchain and the precise “system calls” to permit for the widest vary of behaviors to be added in-band (and not using a laborious fork) via the importing of a sensible contract.

Infinite upgradeability

The advantage of this design is infinite upgradeability, however the associated fee is that it makes getting the system calls proper all of the extra essential. Lacking a system name or designing it incorrectly would imply having to cope with an in any other case avoidable laborious fork. As a result of laborious forks are so time-consuming, political and disruptive, they’re the one greatest issue limiting a blockchain’s skill to enhance itself, which is finally felt by each single developer whose utility is constructed on such a platform.

Now we are able to see how each utility and blockchain builders can get trapped in growth hell: working in programming languages they aren’t snug with, on platforms that pressure them to include charges and that enhance at a snail’s tempo. Below these circumstances, even minor adjustments have extremely excessive stakes, and we haven’t even factored in these situations the place there are hundreds of thousands, generally billions, of {dollars} in danger.

That’s growth hell. Because the core growth staff behind the Steem blockchain that needed to oversee 23 laborious forks, we all know this terrain higher than nearly anybody else, which is why we had been so dedicated to banishing it, nicely … to hell.

Constructing the Koinos Blockchain Framework from scratch with a completely novel microservice structure and getting it to the purpose the place we might launch variations 1 and a pair of of the testnet had been extremely difficult. However integrating the suggestions we received from these testnets, fixing the bugs they uncovered, and finalizing the all-important system calls had been an entire different degree. However we went via that growth hell with the hopes of creating it in order that others gained’t ever should.

Harbinger

Testnet v3 is, subsequently, greater than “simply one other” model of the testnet. It’s the remaining model of the Koinos Blockchain Framework, which is why we are going to now seek advice from the testnet, not by a model quantity, however by the identify: Harbinger. It’s the end result of almost two years of working, figuring out and implementing all the required system calls wanted to offer blockchain builders the last word degree of freedom and permit their utility builders to profit from a platform that’s enhancing at a extra fast fee than another blockchain on the market.

After all, everytime you’re making an attempt to unravel a very essential downside, some degree of growth hell is inevitable. You simply need to just remember to don’t undertake applied sciences that increase the stakes unnecessarily and that the purpose you’re striving for is price the associated fee.

For us, that purpose isn’t solely sparing blockchain builders (together with ourselves) from numerous hours spent in developer hell but in addition leveraging this new know-how to construct Koinos mainnet: the last word feeless layer 1 for empowering builders to construct insanely nice blockchain-based purposes.

No extra growth hell

The KBF goals to get rid of growth hell by permitting builders to construct any blockchain they’ll think about just by writing sensible contracts, which is infinitely simpler than working within the blockchain code itself. And that’s precisely the place we discover ourselves in now. Whereas creating the blockchain framework was extremely difficult, now that it’s over, all that’s wanted to finish Koinos mainnet is simply twosmart contracts: one for our proof-of-burn consensus algorithm and the opposite for governance.

Not solely is writing sensible contracts far less complicated than blockchain growth, however this additionally implies that blockchain builders now get to benefit from the ever-expanding instruments which are obtainable to sensible contract builders just like the AssemblyScript SDK one among our neighborhood members constructed. AssemblyScript doesn’t simply produce much more environment friendly sensible contracts than these written in C++ (that was a shock), it makes sensible contract growth accessible to JavaScript builders.

For the reason that KBF turns any sensible contract developer into a possible blockchain developer, which means that creating customized blockchains will now be accessible to JavaScript builders with much more languages to come back, similar to Rust.

If you happen to’re interested by working Harbinger, we’ve made it insanely straightforward to run a node so that you will be up and working in beneath 5 minutes.

This text doesn’t include funding recommendation or suggestions. Each funding and buying and selling transfer entails threat, and readers ought to conduct their very own analysis when making a choice.

The views, ideas and opinions expressed listed below are the creator’s alone and don’t essentially replicate or symbolize the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Andrew Levine is the CEO of Koinos Group, a staff of business veterans accelerating decentralization via accessible blockchain know-how. Their foundational product is Koinos, a feeless and infinitely upgradeable blockchain with common language assist.


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