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How to Build & Deploy Smart Contracts on Solana

What exactly is Solana?

Solana is a decentralized blockchain is unique for its proof of history consensus technique, which is essentially a proof of stake but with the addition of a time component. PoH is used to encrypt the passage of time in an append-only data structure into a ledger.

Before submitting a block, blockchains must agree on a timestamp. Nodes must communicate back and forth to ascertain the time stamp until they decide, which might take longer. Solana devised a method that includes proof of history to preserve timestamps so that nodes do not have to wait to agree on a time. They also have a piece of cryptographic evidence for it.

What exactly is Anchor?

Anchor is a development framework for Solana smart contracts that includes several developer tools. Thus, the Anchor is a lifesaver and simplifies the process of developing smart contracts.

What is the Solana Smart Contract Architecture?

The smart contract model used by Solana is distinct from that used by standard EVM-enabled blockchains. A conventional EVM-based contract integrates code/logic and state into a single on-chain contract. A smart contract on Solana operates in read-only or stateless mode and consists entirely of programme logic. Once the smart contract is implemented, it may be accessible by other accounts, which interact with it to record data on the program's interactions

It results in a logical separation of state (accounts) and contracts logic (programmes), a critical distinction between typical EVM-enabled smart contracts and Solana smart contracts. Additionally, accounts on Solana and other blockchains (like Ethereum) are highly distinct. Compared to Ethereum accounts, which serve just as pointers to users' wallets, Solana accounts retain data (such as wallet information).

Solana has a command-line interface (CLI) and a JSON RPC API to facilitate DApp interaction with Solana. Additionally, decentralized apps can communicate with the blockchain and programmes on Solana using pre-existing SDKs.

The program on the left in the diagram above depicts the development pipeline that enables users to write and deploy bespoke Rust, C, and C++ applications on the Solana blockchain.

Once these applications have been properly distributed, they may be used by anybody with basic programming knowledge. To interface with these applications, users must create dApps using one of the existing client SDKs and the JSON RPC API.

Users can create decentralized apps for interfacing with deployed programmes using the second development workflow, Client (bottom left). These apps communicate with these programmes via client SDK. They may be used to construct various applications, including cryptocurrency wallets and decentralized exchanges.

The two components of the workflow—Program and Client—work together to create a comprehensive network of decentralized applications and programmes that may communicate to update the state and investigate the blockchain.

Myth Putting an End to the Solana Development

The first thing that I believe is critical for any new developer entering the Solana Ecosystem is that prior knowledge with smart contracts or Rust is not required to start working on Solana. Indeed, no prior familiarity with blockchain technology is required. Smart contracts are referred to as Programs in Solana. Rust C and C++ are the languages used to develop on-chain applications. While Solana Programs are critical for developing unique and powerful tools on-chain, the good news is that there are currently many programmes accessible for interaction and development. You can create dApps in the same way as web 2. Web 3 developers create web applications in centralized applications using third-party SDKs. The main difference is that with dApps, you store data on a blockchain rather than a centralized database, and your users pay for transaction/storage costs. The phrase blockchain tends to terrify many developers. Still, it's relatively simple once you grasp what it is.

Workflows for Solana Development

You do not need to know Rust or understand on-chain programmes to develop on Solana; however, there are two distinct development procedures on Solana, like with the majority of smart contract blockchains.

On Solana, programmes (smart contracts) are developed in Rust, C, and C++. These applications are developed and distributed on-chain and executed via the Solana Runtime, where they remain perpetually. These programmes can be utilized by anybody who understands how to connect with them through the JSON RPC API or any SDK developed on top of this API. Additionally, other on-chain apps can utilize the JSON RPC API.

Most web 2 and 3 developers will be more comfortable with dApp development. This sort of development entails constructing applications that give instructions to on-chain programmes and is quite similar to developing web/mobile applications and interfacing with centralized APIs. The JSON RPC API serves as the foundation for app development on Solana. It is a layer of communication that enables you to communicate with the blockchain. Solana Labs has developed an easy-to-use Solana-web3.js SDK that allows you to communicate with the blockchain and Solana programmes like how you communicate with any other API. Numerous third-party SDKs, including Java, C#, Python, Go, Swift, Dart-Flutter, and Kotlin, have been created on the JSON RPC API. These SDKs are available on the Solana Developers Page.

These SDKs enable you to create fully-functional decentralized applications on Solana in your preferred language. After mastering the Solana API, you may begin learning how to write your applications in Rust, C, or C++.

Programming (Smart Contracts)

We just examined Solana's development procedures, and you learnt that you could either develop programmes on Solana or use existing programmes to create dApps. Now, let's discuss some of the current programmes, all of which were developed by Solana Labs. Native Programs and the Solana Program Library are two groups of programmes maintained as part of the core software releases (SPL). The System programme is one of Solana's most frequently used native programmes. This software is used to perform account creation and SOL transfer tasks.

Additionally, the Staking Program and the Voting Program are popular Native initiatives. On the other side, the Solana Program Library has a variety of programmes, the most popular of which being the Token programme, which is Solana's Ethereum ERC-20 counterpart. The Token programme lets you engage with Solana blockchain-based tokens, including NFTs. This tool enables you to do various tasks, including minting, transferring, burning, and querying tokens. Between native and programme library apps, you may create some very fascinating dApps to kick-start your Solana Blockchain development adventure. I recommend checking out Project Serum's spl-token-wallet repo. This React wallet application makes and transfers tokens using a mix of Solana's Solana-web3.js SDK and the Token programme (through the Token Program JS Bindings).

The Development Piplenine

let's take a step behind and inspect a high-level diagram of the Solana development pipeline. It's critical to recognize that this is a simplified version of the Solana network for the goal of learning in an accessible manner.

At the top left of the figure (Program), you can see the first development cycle for creating and deploying bespoke Rust, C, and C++ applications straight to the blockchain. Once these programmes are launched, they may be used by anybody who understands how to interact with them. You may interact with these applications by developing dApps using various client SDKs (or the CLI), which all use the JSON RPC API.

The second development workflow is the dApp side, which begins on the bottom left (Client) and allows for creating dApps that interface with deployed applications. Through a client SDK, your apps may send transactions with instructions to these programmes, allowing you to construct a range of applications like wallets, DEXs, and more. These two components function in tandem to form a network of decentralized applications and programmes capable of communicating with one another to update the state and query the blockchain.

Developers may think of Solana as a global computer that anybody on the globe can access and interact with.

How to create a Solana smart contract?

You will learn how to construct and deploy a Solana smart contract called 'hello world' in this part. HelloWorld is a Rust programme that writes its output to the console. Before beginning programming, the initial step is to create a Solana environment on Windows to facilitate the process.

1. Establish A Development Environment For Solana

Many users find it confusing to run smart contract code directly from Windows. You should install an Ubuntu version of WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) to write the code in Windows and subsequently compile the Rust smart contract into a.so file.

The following instructions will configure the Solana development platform:

Then, test it by running the Hello World application:

Step 2. Write a smart contract for Solana in the Rust programming language.

Requisites:

To deploy smart contracts, you'll need the following installation.

  • NodJS version 14 or greater, as well as NPM
  • The most recent stable Rust build, The Solana CLI v1.7.11 or later

HelloWorld is a software or smart contract that logs to the console. Additionally, it counts the number of times the HelloWorld programme has been invoked for the specified account and stores this count on-chain. Let's split the code into individual portions to comprehend its concept better.

The first section defines some standard Solana programme parameters and establishes the program's starting point (the 'process instruction' function). Apart from this function, this portion serializes and deserializes arguments passed to and from the deployed application using borsh (Binary Object Representation Serializer for Hashing).

To configure the HelloWorld software, use the following command:

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Following that, the process instruction function receives the program id, a public key containing the location of the program's deployment, and the accounting parameter, which specifies the account to which the programme should say hello.

The ProgramResult class contains the program's core logic. The ProgramResult produces a notice in this situation and then selects the required account from the 'accounts.' However, in our case, we will utilize a single account.

Following that, the application assesses if it has the authority to edit data associated with the specified account.

Finally, the code retrieves the stored number for the existing account, increases it by one, writes the result back, and displays a message.

3. Initiate the Deployment of the Smart Contract

Cloning the repository is the initial step toward deploying the software or smart contract.

Once everything is complete, you may change the entire environment to Devnet, the test net for Solana developers to test their smart contract writing skills.

Following that, you must generate a new keypair. This keypair enables your account to engage with Solana Devnet's deployed apps or smart contracts. However, this approach is judged unsafe for crucial storage and is only suitable for demonstration purposes. As a result, you will be elevated to pass for security purposes.

After creating an account, you may participate in the airdrop and get the requisite SOL tokens. Additionally, you will require specific imports to facilitate the implementation of smart contracts. To get SOL tokens into your freshly created account, use the following command:

You are now ready to construct the hello world programme. To build it, use the following command.

After the software has been created, it should be deployed to Devnet. With the result of the preceding command, you obtain the commando to launch the programme, which appears as follows:

That completes the deployment of the Hello World applications to Devnet, complete with an allocated programme ID. On the Solana Devnet explorer, you may authenticate the software.

Bottom Line

Anatoly Yakavenko founded Solana, a decentralized blockchain platform. Solana's block time is 400 milliseconds, which is insanely quick. The smart contract model used by Solana is distinct from that used by standard EVM-enabled blockchains. Additionally, decentralized apps can communicate with the Solana using pre-existing SDKs. On Solana, like with the majority of smart contract blockchains, there are two distinct development procedures.

Prior knowledge with smart contracts or Rust is not required to develop on Solana. You can create dApps in how web developers create web applications in centralized applications using third-party SDKs. On Solana, programmes (smart contracts) are developed in Rust, C, and C++. These applications are developed and distributed on-chain and executed via the Solana Runtime. Anyone who understands how to connect with them can utilize these programmes through the JSON RPC API. You can either develop programmes on Solana or use existing programmes to create dApps.

Native Programs and the Solana Program Library are two groups of programmes maintained as part of the core software releases (SPL). The most popular of these programmes is the Token programme, Solana's ERC-20 counterpart. Developers may think of Solana as a global computer that anybody on the globe can access and interact with. HelloWorld is a Rust programme that writes its output to the console. The dApp side allows for creating dApps that interface with deployed applications.

Through a client SDK, your apps may send transactions to these programmes. After creating an account, you must generate a new keypair. This keypair enables your account to engage with Solana Devnet's deployed apps or smart contracts. As a result, you will be elevated to pass for security purposes. To get SOL tokens into your freshly created account, use the following command.

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