Greetings, fellow blockchain enthusiasts! In this article we are going to highlight the life cycle of smart contract development, focusing on the necessary steps to develop and deploy a secure smart contract. The aim of this article is to act as a guideline for developers who wish to learn more about this new and exciting technology, while also providing an accessible and easy-to-understand explanation for people who are uninitiated in the inner-workings of blockchain and smart contract development.
Introducing the Modex Development Platform
This guide will make use of the extensive development toolkit provided by Modex which encompasses a fully-fledged development platform specifically designed to meet the needs of developers: project repository, issue tracking, project documentation, and collaboration tools. The platform comes with an built-in Bytecode Analysis machine which automatically detects a range of possible attacks that can be performed. Of course, development would be impossible without a Test Net environment. One of the advantages of the Modex platform is the fact that it has its own IDE with a fully integrated syntax support for Solidity, the go-to language for smart contract development, and a custom built Ethereum node integrated, which acts as a test net environment.
What are Smart Contracts?
Before delving into the life cycle of smart contract development, let’s take a look and see what is a smart contract and why it has become a hot topic in the tech community. A smart contract is a set of executable code that runs on top of a blockchain network. One of the main reasons that smart contracts have garnered so much attention stems from their ability to automatically execute and enforce an agreement between untrusted parties, without the need of a trusted third party.
Smart contracts were initially conceptualized by computer scientist and cryptographer Nick Szabo in 1994, who defined them as “a set of promises, including protocols within which the parties perform on the other promises. The protocols are usually implemented with programs on a computer network, or in other forms of digital electronics, thus these contracts are ‘smarter’ than their paper-based ancestors.” Compared to a traditional contract that defines the rules and penalties around an agreement, a smart contract automatically enforces the obligations on the parties involved. By eliminating the need for a trusted third party, smart contracts significantly reduce transaction costs, which in turn facilitate more beneficial trades.
Software development life cycle
Also known as a software development process, the software development life cycle is a framework which defines tasks performed at each step involved in the software development process. As a general note, the software development life cycle is a structure followed by a development team in the software organization. It is a detailed plan which describes how to document, develop, maintain and replace software. The life cycle of smart contract development clearly defines the methodology for writing and improving the quality of software and the overall development process. Usually, this process consists of multiple stages: planning, documentation, implementation, testing, deployment, and maintenance. What makes the Modex platform stand out from its competitors is the fact that it has a set of innovative tools, specially tailored to meet the needs of developers, by streamlining the code writing process as well as the testing phase.
Understanding the use case
When developing a software product it is imperative for developers to build a solid understanding of the domain that product is focused on. This logic also applies to smart contract development. Smart contract solutions can only be formulated if the developers behind the project understand the business rationale and the ecosystem it will be implemented in. Due to the flexibility and applicability of this technology, developers are required to constantly get acquainted with a large segment of the business sector in order to determine what third-party libraries they need to use in the development process.
Designing the architecture of the Smart Contracts
Before getting to write any line of code, developers draw a basic architecture which depicts the business logic of the smart contract. The goal of this step is to drastically simplify the development process, as in the initial stages of development the architecture design maps out a path for developers to follow during the coding process.
Development and testing
During this phase, developers start writing the code for the smart contract. The Modex platform comes with its own IDE with a fully integrated syntax support for Solidity, and useful functionalities such as autocomplete, remote contract execution and many more. Another advantage of the Modex platform is that it has a Test Net environment embedded into the IDE, which allows developers to test as they code, without requiring any additional tools.
For code versioning, developers host their source code on the Modex Developer platform where they can collaborate with other developers in the project. In order to streamline testing and verification, the Modex Developer Platform has a built-in Bytecode Analysis which scans the code for inefficiencies and security vulnerabilities.
After the smart contract has been written and thoroughly tested, developers will publish it on the Marketplace. In order to publish the smart contract, the developer is required to specify some general information about the contract: name, categories, picture, price per license and price for unlimited licenses, tags, a short description of the contract. Following that, the developer is required to upload the sources and to select the main file, compile and publish the contract.
After the smart contract is uploaded on the Marketplace, it undergoes a final security check from the Modex team, and if approved, it becomes available for purchase on the Marketplace. Buyers have the option to test a smart contract before purchasing it. To do this, they are required to customize the contract by introducing parameters, compiling and deploying it on the Modex Testnet.
To purchase a smart contract, the buyer needs to select the number of licenses he / she wishes to purchase (one or unlimited), customize it according to their preferences and deploy it on the Main Ethereum network.
Modex, a blockchain company, is also promoting the adoption of blockchain technology and strongly believes into a future built around blockchain. Modex offers fully integrated services designed to solve the last mile adoption problem of the blockchain and aims to make blockchain user-friendly for every single device or person. At Modex, we are able to innovate thanks to our incredible team of experts and we offer services for the entire blockchain technology ecosystem: Marketplace for Smart Contracts, community tools for developers and blockchain as database services for enterprises.
In over two years, using cutting-edge technologies and with a clear strategy, Modex has evolved from the world’s first app store for blockchain into a complex ecosystem designed for developers’ needs and for enterprises looking for blockchain solutions. Our mission is to spread and facilitate the adoption of blockchain into the society and to solve real world problems using this revolutionary technology.