How to Build Blockchain Applications with Æ Studio

It may seem like a daunting prospect – constructing blockchain applications. Often times, the narrative that surrounds blockchain application development seems gloomy – it’s either too complicated, or time consuming, or simply taxing on the hardware.

Well, not anymore. Meet – Æ Studio!

Æ Studio (formerly known as Fire Editor) is how you – yes you – and everybody else can create and deploy smart contracts on a proper blockchain – the æternity blockchain.

For those of you who are the visual type, check out Nikita’s video on the topic right here:

What is Æ Studio?

Æ Studio is a web-based integrated development environment that allows for easy creation of smart contracts on the powerful æternity blockchain. It features a set of example contracts that showcase some basic (and cool) features of the Sophia smart contract language – one of the key advantages of the æternity blockchain. Sophia is the next evolutionary step in developing smart contracts and represents the essence of what a language that’s been customized for smart contracts is.

Additionally, Æ Studio features a set of prefunded public test accounts which you can use to try out the environment and test out your smart contract. To prevent trolls and other undesirables from lurking in and disrupting your work, you can set up a personal account. All it takes is for you to log in by using github and you’ll get supplied with 5 Æ tokens on your personal account. Each personal account you create will be supplied with 5 Æ tokens, providing you with ample material for safe work!

Anybody can build applications with Æstudio!

How Æ Studio works?

Æ Studio is designed so that it can be used by developers of all skill levels. The moment you open it up, you can quickly see how smart contracts look like when they’re created in the Sophia smart contract language.

If you’re not well-versed in this – do not despair – you can always use a preconfigured and set up example to see how easy it is for you to perform smart contract writing with Æ Studio. These examples are more than enough to introduce you to the environment and allow you to grow and get your bearings – and quickly deploy your own smart contracts and æpps!

Once you hit that “deploy” button on Æ Studio, and wait a little bit for the studio to work its magic, your first smart contract will be deployed on the æternity blockchain! Æ Studio takes care of all requisite functions in the background, taking the load off your mind and back, and allowing you to focus on the big picture – what you wish your smart contract to be able to do.

Functionalities of Smart Contracts Created Like This

When it comes to the functionalities of the deployed contract – on the right hand side of the Æ Studio screen you can see a custom generated user interface. This custom UI makes it easy for you to interact with the functions of the smart contract.

One of the key aspects of the Sophia smart contract language is statefulness. Simply put, if a function intends to write some data on the smart contract which exists on the æternity blockchain, it is required to send a transaction. Note that non-stateful functions do not alter any data on the blockchain itself and are, thus, just executed locally without any transactions.

Æ Studio knows which functions are stateful and which are not – and adjusts the UI accordingly and automatically for further ease of use. The studio performs transactions for stateful functions at a click of a button – and takes care of the heavy lifting for you. Æ Studio does this by using advanced æternity blockchain software development kit to construct a transaction date for you, sign it, broadcast it to the network, wait for it to get mined, and finally decode the results – all of it while you’re free to focus on other matters.

How to get Started

The simple environment that Æ Studio created leads to just a few clicks standing between you and you writing decentralized applications! After a smart contract is deployed, you can see a code generator button on the right sidebar on the screen. Clicking on it allows you to choose from any one of the currently available frameworks that you wish to have boiler plate code generated for.

Note that this is not just any boiler plate code, but rather a new production-ready æpp of the very same smart contract that you worked on – the one for which you’ve chosen the functions and entered parameters for. Now, you can choose between the code for setting up the SDK, deploying the contract, calling and choosing a function for which you provided parameters for – or all of the above!

The only thing that is necessary on order for everything to run smoothly is to provide sufficient funds to the æternity blockchain in order to be able to complete the transaction. Be aware here that it is of the utmost importance to never – ever – hard code private keys into your æpp. These must be kept safe and, well by definition, stay private.

You can, of course, rely on the æternity blockchain browser wallet to sign all of the transactions instead.

All that remains to be done now is to copy the code into the IDE, install all the necessary SDK packages, and – hit RUN. Then – magic happens 🙂

What æpps would you run? Did you find this tutorial and the video helpful? Let us know in the comments below! And, of course, check out the entire æternity playlist on YouTube on Sophia!

Also, be sure to check out this community made tutorial on how to build an aepp! Of course, further discussions on the æternity forum as well as the telegram group are more than welcome!

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