Setting up a client for development
Blockchain development often requires to rely on a test Blockchain, an environment that behaves like a Blockchain without the constraints of a real mainnet. These test-oriented environments are called Testnets or Devchains. Working with a devchain enables you to: - work faster (devchains use a fast consensus model) - work cheaper: you don’t have to pay gas for each transaction (devchains run on “monopoly gas” which doesn’t cost anything) - work safer: in the case of a local Devchain your can keep your work private
Depending on your use-case, you might rely on a public Testnet (like Rinkeby or Gorli) or a local devchain. The main differences between them are that Testnets are not private and require to be online while local devchains are private and can be used offline. It is common practice to start the development on a local devchain and then deploy the code on a Testnet to verify and test assumptions.
The below is a list of the main Ethereum clients and how to set them up as devchains.
Local devchain clients
All the main Ethereum clients can be configured as Testchains.
When working in a local environment, the tools we recommend are
Parity PoA and
Below are the most used Ethereum clients:
Using Geth Clique allows you to test your integration with smart contracts directly in Geth with a fast Proof of Authority consensus.
Using Parity in combination with PoA consensus mechanism yields the same benefits as with Geth.
Ganache CLI (formerly
Test RPC) is a very common and well-documented chain emulator.
Ganache inherits Truffle suite’s benefits: mainly simplifying Smart Contracts testing, debugging and updating. Ganache has a quasi-immediate response time and great feedback cycle. It’s great to deploy contracts and interact with them instantly at no GAS cost.
Debug modes are available whether you are using chain emulators or full-on Ethereum clients.
1 - Geth
- Using option
2 - Parity
- The use of Json RPC’s Trace Module allows to trace transactions.
3 - Ganache/Testnet RPC
- Use the
--debugoption will Output VM opcodes for debugging
Cloud private testnet
Azure BaaS (Blockchain as a Service) allows you to deploy a testnet with several nodes and have a team work on the development.
Public testnets function in the same way as mainnets, with two differences: * They are free: transactions are paid with a worthless crypto-currency * They are often more responsive than main nets
The main public testchains are:
Cross-client testnet using PoA consensus mechanism.
Cross-client testnet (working with both Parity and Geth) using PoA consensus mechanism and a particular focus on spam-resilience.
Less popular since hacked early 2017, however, Ropsten is still in service.
Note: public testnets can be accessed via public nodes such as INFURA
The most recent testnet:
The ether and tokens used in test networks is for testing purposes only (it can accurately be compared to Monopoly bills). It’s mostly distributed by online “faucets”.
Here’s a list of testnet Ether sources:
|Kovan||Kovan requires you to request KETH from another person|
For more specific advice about faucets please check this article.
At Nethereum, we developed a tool to simplify and accelerate Ethereum Blockchain development. It’s called Testchains, installs in minutes and allows you to code fast with your Ethereum client of choice. Testchains can be downloaded at https://github.com/Nethereum/TestChains
Credits to Karl Floersch for the information about the different testnets: https://karl.tech/intro-guide-to-ethereum-testnets/