Full Stack Ethereum Development


From: https://dev.to/dabit3/the-complete-guide-to-full-stack-ethereum-development-3j13

The legacy code for this project is located here. The video course for this tutorial is located here. Also check out Building GraphQL APIs on Ethereum . Sponsored by Edge & Node .

▶︎ Client Framework – React
▶︎ Ethereum development environment – Hardhat
▶︎ Ethereum Web Client Library – Ethers.js
▶︎ API layer – The Graph Protocol

There are some really good boilerplates out there like scaffold-eth (which also includes Ethers, Hardhat, and The Graph). What we’ll do in this tutorial:

  1. How to create, deploy, and test Ethereum smart contracts to local, test, and mainnet
  2. How to switch between local, test, and production environments / networks
  3. How to connect to and interact with the contracts from React.

The pieces

  • Ethereum development environment (IDE)

Hardhat is an Ethereum development environment and framework designed for full stack development and is the framework that I will be using for this tutorial.

  • Ethereum Web Client Library

In our React app, we will need a way to interact with the smart contracts that have been deployed. We will need a way to read for data as well as send new transactions.

ethers.js aims to be a complete and compact library for interacting with the Ethereum Blockchain and its ecosystem from client-side JavaScript applications like React, Vue, Angular, or Svelte. It is the library we’ll be using.

Another popular option in the ecosystem is web3.js

Metamask helps to handle account management and connecting the current user to the blockchain. MetaMask enables users to manage their accounts and keys in a few different ways while isolating them from the site context.

Once a user has connected their MetaMask wallet, you as a developer can interact with the globally available Ethereum API (window.ethereum) that identifies the users of web3-compatible browsers (like MetaMask users), and whenever you request a transaction signature, MetaMask will prompt the user in as comprehensible a way as possible.

React is a front end JavaScript library for building web applications, user interfaces, and UI components. It’s maintained by Facebook and many many individual developers and companies.

For most apps built on blockchains like Ethereum, it’s hard and time-intensive to read data directly from the chain, so you used to see people and companies building their own centralized indexing server and serving API requests from these servers. This requires a lot of engineering and hardware resources and breaks the security properties required for decentralization.

The Graph is an indexing protocol for querying blockchain data that enables the creation of fully decentralized applications and solves this problem, exposing a rich GraphQL query layer that apps can consume. In this guide we won’t be building a subgraph for our app but will do so in a future tutorial.

What we will be building

In this tutorial, we’ll be building, deploying, and connecting to a couple of basic smart contracts:

  1. A contract for creating and updating a message on the Ethereum blockchain
  2. A contract for minting tokens, then allowing the owner of the contract to send tokens to others and to read the token balances, and for owners of the new tokens to also send them to others.

We will also build out a React front end that will allow a user to:

  1. Read the greeting from the contract deployed to the blockchain
  2. Update the greeting
  3. Send the newly minted tokens from their address to another address
  4. Once someone has received tokens, allow them to also send their tokens to someone else
  5. Read the token balance from the contract deployed to the blockchain

Prerequisites

  1. Node.js installed on your local machine
  2. MetaMask Chrome extension installed in your browser

You do not need to own any Ethereum for this guide as we will be using fake / test Ether on a test network for the entire tutorial.

Getting started

To get started, we’ll create a new React application:

npx create-react-app react-dapp

Next, change into the new directory and install ethers.js and hardhat using either NPM or Yarn:

yarn add ethers hardhat @nomiclabs/hardhat-waffle ethereum-waffle chai @nomiclabs/hardhat-eth solidity-coverage @nomiclabs/hardhat-etherscan 

Next, initialize a new Ethereum Development Environment with Hardhat:

npx hardhat

Now you should see the following artifacts created for you in your root directory:

hardhat.config.js – The entirety of your Hardhat setup (i.e. your config, plugins, and custom tasks) is contained in this file.
scripts – A folder containing a script named sample-script.js that will deploy your smart contract when executed
test – A folder containing an example testing script
contracts – A folder holding an example Solidity smart contract

Because of a MetaMask configuration issue, we need to update the chain ID on our HardHat configuration to be 1337. We also need to update the location for the artifacts for our compiled contracts to be in the src directory of our React app.

To make these updates, open hardhat.config.js and update the module.exports to look like this:

module.exports = {
  solidity: "0.8.4",
  paths: {
    artifacts: './src/artifacts',
  },
  networks: {
    hardhat: {
      chainId: 1337
    }
  }
};

Our smart contract

Next, let’s have a look at the example contract given to us at contracts/Greeter.sol:

//SPDX-License-Identifier: MIT
pragma solidity ^0.8.0;

import "hardhat/console.sol";


contract Greeter {
  string greeting;

  constructor(string memory _greeting) {
    console.log("Deploying a Greeter with greeting:", _greeting);
    greeting = _greeting;
  }

  function greet() public view returns (string memory) {
    return greeting;
  }

  function setGreeting(string memory _greeting) public {
    console.log("Changing greeting from '%s' to '%s'", greeting, _greeting);
    greeting = _greeting;
  }
}

This is a very basic smart contract. When deployed, it sets a Greeting variable and exposes a function (greet) that can be called to return the greeting.

It also exposes a function that allows a user to update the greeting (setGreeting). When deployed to the Ethereum blockchain, these methods will be available for a user to interact with.

Reading and writing to the Ethereum blockchain

There are two types of ways to interact with a smart contract, reading or writing / transactions. In our contract, greet can be considered reading, and setGreeting can be considered writing / transactional.

When writing or initializing a transaction, you have to pay for the transaction to be written to the blockchain. To make this work, you need to pay gas which is the fee, or price, required to successfully conduct a transaction and execute a contract on the Ethereum blockchain.

As long as you are only reading from the blockchain and not changing or updating anything, you don’t need to carry out a transaction and there will be no gas or cost to do so. The function you call is then carried out only by the node you are connected to, so you don’t need to pay any gas and the read is free.

From our React app, the way that we will interact with the smart contract is using a combination of the ethers.js library, the contract address, and the ABI that will be created from the contract by hardhat.

What is an ABI? ABI stands for application binary interface. You can think of it as the interface between your client-side application and the Ethereum blockchain where the smart contract you are going to be interacting with is deployed.

ABIs are typically compiled from Solidity smart contracts by a development framework like HardHat. You can also often find the ABIs for a smart contract on Etherscan

Compiling the ABI

Now that we have gone over the basic smart contract and know what ABIs are, let’s compile an ABI for our project.

To do so, go to the command line and run the following command:

npx hardhat compile

Now, you should see a new folder named artifacts in the src directory. The artifacts/contracts/Greeter.json file contains the ABI as one of the properties. When we need to use the ABI, we can import it from our JavaScript file:

import Greeter from './artifacts/contracts/Greeter.sol/Greeter.json'

We can then reference the ABI like this:

console.log("Greeter ABI: ", Greeter.abi)

Deploying and using a local network / blockchain

Next, let’s deploy our smart contract to a local blockchain so that we can test it out.

To deploy to the local network, you first need to start the local test node. To do so, open the CLI and run the following command:

npx hardhat node

When we run this command, you should see a list of addresses and private keys.

Hardhat node addresses

These are 20 test accounts and addresses created for us that we can use to deploy and test our smart contracts. Each account is also loaded up with 10,000 fake Ether. In a moment, we’ll learn how to import the test account into MetaMask so that we can use it.

Next, we need to deploy the contract to the test network. First update the name of scripts/sample-script.js to scripts/deploy.js.

Now we can run the deploy script and give a flag to the CLI that we would like to deploy to our local network:

npx hardhat run scripts/deploy.js --network localhost

Once this script is executed, the smart contract should be deployed to the local test network and we should be then able to start interacting with it.

When the contract was deployed, it used the first account that was created when we started the local network.

If you look at the output from the CLI, you should be able to see something like this:

Greeter deployed to: 0x9fE46736679d2D9a65F0992F2272dE9f3c7fa6e0

This address is what we will use in our client application to talk to the smart contract. Keep this address available as we will need to use it when connecting to it from the client application.

To send transactions to the smart contract, we will need to connect our MetaMask wallet using one of the accounts created when we ran npx hardhat node. In the list of contracts that the CLI logs out, you should see both an Account number as well as a Private Key:

➜  react-dapp git:(main) npx hardhat node
Started HTTP and WebSocket JSON-RPC server at http://127.0.0.1:8545/

Accounts
========
Account #0: 0xf39fd6e51aad88f6f4ce6ab8827279cfffb92266 (10000 ETH)
Private Key: 0xac0974bec39a17e36ba4a6b4d238ff944bacb478cbed5efcae784d7bf4f2ff80

...

We can import this account into MetaMask in order to start using some of the fake Eth available there. To do so, first open MetaMask and update the network to be Localhost 8545:

MetaMask Localhost

Next, in MetaMask click on Import Account from the accounts menu:

Import account

Copy then paste one of the Private Keys logged out by the CLI and click Import. Once the account is imported, you should see the Eth in the account:

Imported account

Now that we have a smart contract deployed and an account ready to use, we can start interacting with it from the React app.

Connecting the React client

Let’s review the two objectives that we want from our React application:

  1. Fetch the current value of greeting from the smart contract
  2. Allow a user to update the value of the greeting

With those things being understood, how do we accomplish this? Here are the things we need to do to make this happen:

  1. Create an input field and some local state to manage the value of the input (to update the greeting)
  2. Allow the application to connect to the user’s MetaMask account to sign transactions
  3. Create functions for reading and writing to the smart contract

To do this, open src/App.js and update it with the following code, setting the value of greeterAddress to the address of your smart contract.:

import './App.css';
import { useState } from 'react';
import { ethers } from 'ethers'
import Greeter from './artifacts/contracts/Greeter.sol/Greeter.json'

// Update with the contract address logged out to the CLI when it was deployed 
const greeterAddress = "your-contract-address"

function App() {
  // store greeting in local state
  const [greeting, setGreetingValue] = useState()

  // request access to the user's MetaMask account
  async function requestAccount() {
    await window.ethereum.request({ method: 'eth_requestAccounts' });
  }

  // call the smart contract, read the current greeting value
  async function fetchGreeting() {
    if (typeof window.ethereum !== 'undefined') {
      const provider = new ethers.providers.Web3Provider(window.ethereum)
      const contract = new ethers.Contract(greeterAddress, Greeter.abi, provider)
      try {
        const data = await contract.greet()
        console.log('data: ', data)
      } catch (err) {
        console.log("Error: ", err)
      }
    }    
  }

  // call the smart contract, send an update
  async function setGreeting() {
    if (!greeting) return
    if (typeof window.ethereum !== 'undefined') {
      await requestAccount()
      const provider = new ethers.providers.Web3Provider(window.ethereum);
      const signer = provider.getSigner()
      const contract = new ethers.Contract(greeterAddress, Greeter.abi, signer)
      const transaction = await contract.setGreeting(greeting)
      await transaction.wait()
      fetchGreeting()
    }
  }

  return (
    <div className="App">
      <header className="App-header">
        <button onClick={fetchGreeting}>Fetch Greeting</button>
        <button onClick={setGreeting}>Set Greeting</button>
        <input onChange={e => setGreetingValue(e.target.value)} placeholder="Set greeting" />
      </header>
    </div>
  );
}

export default App;

To test it out, start the React server:

npm start

When the app loads, you should be able to fetch the current greeting and log it out to the console. You should also be able to make updates to the greeting by signing the contract with your MetaMask wallet and spending the fake Ether.

Setting and getting the greeting value

Deploying and using a live test network

There are several Ethereum test networks like Ropsten, Rinkeby, or Kovan that we can also deploy to in order to have a publicly accessible version of our contract available without having to deploy it to mainnet. In this tutorial we’ll be deploying to the Ropsten test network.

To start off, first update your MetaMask wallet to connect to the Ropsten network.

Ropsten network

Next, send yourself some test Ether to use during the rest of this tutorial by visiting this test faucet.

We can get access to Ropsten (or any of the other test networks) by signing up with a service like Infura or Alchemy (I’m using Infura for this tutorial).

Once you’ve created the app in Infura or Alchemy, you will be given an endpoint that looks something like this:

https://ropsten.infura.io/v3/your-project-id

Be sure to set the ALLOWLIST ETHEREUM ADDRESSES in the Infura or Alchemy app configuration to include the wallet address of the account you will be deploying from.

To deploy to the test network we need to update our hardhat config with some additional network information. One of the things we need to set is the private key of the wallet we will be deploying from.

To get the private key, you can export it from MetaMask.

Export private key

I’d suggest not hardcoding this value in your app but instead setting it as something like an environment variable.

Next, add a networks property with the following configuration:

module.exports = {
  defaultNetwork: "hardhat",
  paths: {
    artifacts: './src/artifacts',
  },
  networks: {
    hardhat: {},
    ropsten: {
      url: "https://ropsten.infura.io/v3/your-project-id",
      accounts: [`0x${your-private-key}`]
    }
  },
  solidity: "0.8.4",
};

To deploy, run the following script:

npx hardhat run scripts/deploy.js --network ropsten

Once your contract is deployed you should be able to start interacting with it. You should be now able to view the live contract on Etherscan Ropsten Testnet Explorer

Minting tokens

One of the most common use cases of smart contracts is creating tokens, let’s look at how we can do that.

In the main contracts directory create a new file named Token.sol.

Next, update Token.sol with the following smart contract:

//SPDX-License-Identifier: MIT
pragma solidity ^0.8.0;

import "hardhat/console.sol";

contract Token {
  string public name = "Nader Dabit Token";
  string public symbol = "NDT";
  uint public totalSupply = 1000000;
  mapping(address => uint) balances;

  constructor() {
    balances[msg.sender] = totalSupply;
  }

  function transfer(address to, uint amount) external {
    require(balances[msg.sender] >= amount, "Not enough tokens");
    balances[msg.sender] -= amount;
    balances[to] += amount;
  }

  function balanceOf(address account) external view returns (uint) {
    return balances[account];
  }
}

Note that this token contract is for demo purposes only and is not ERC20 compliant. We will be covering ERC20 tokens here

This contract will create a new token called “Nader Dabit Token” and set the supply to 1000000.

Next, compile this contract:

npx hardhat compile

Now, update the deploy script at scripts/deploy.js to include this new Token contract:

const hre = require("hardhat");

async function main() {
  const [deployer] = await hre.ethers.getSigners();

  console.log(
    "Deploying contracts with the account:",
    deployer.address
  );

  const Greeter = await hre.ethers.getContractFactory("Greeter");
  const greeter = await Greeter.deploy("Hello, World!");

  const Token = await hre.ethers.getContractFactory("Token");
  const token = await Token.deploy();

  await greeter.deployed();
  await token.deployed();

  console.log("Greeter deployed to:", greeter.address);
  console.log("Token deployed to:", token.address);
}

main()
  .then(() => process.exit(0))
  .catch(error => {
    console.error(error);
    process.exit(1);
  });

Now, we can deploy this new contract to the local or Ropsten network:

npx hardhat run scripts/deploy.js --network localhost

Once the contract is deployed, you can start sending these tokens to other addresses.

To do so, let’s update the client code we will need in order to make this work:

import './App.css';
import { useState } from 'react';
import { ethers } from 'ethers'
import Greeter from './artifacts/contracts/Greeter.sol/Greeter.json'
import Token from './artifacts/contracts/Token.sol/Token.json'

const greeterAddress = "your-contract-address"
const tokenAddress = "your-contract-address"

function App() {
  const [greeting, setGreetingValue] = useState()
  const [userAccount, setUserAccount] = useState()
  const [amount, setAmount] = useState()

  async function requestAccount() {
    await window.ethereum.request({ method: 'eth_requestAccounts' });
  }

  async function fetchGreeting() {
    if (typeof window.ethereum !== 'undefined') {
      const provider = new ethers.providers.Web3Provider(window.ethereum)
      console.log({ provider })
      const contract = new ethers.Contract(greeterAddress, Greeter.abi, provider)
      try {
        const data = await contract.greet()
        console.log('data: ', data)
      } catch (err) {
        console.log("Error: ", err)
      }
    }    
  }

  async function getBalance() {
    if (typeof window.ethereum !== 'undefined') {
      const [account] = await window.ethereum.request({ method: 'eth_requestAccounts' })
      const provider = new ethers.providers.Web3Provider(window.ethereum);
      const contract = new ethers.Contract(tokenAddress, Token.abi, provider)
      const balance = await contract.balanceOf(account);
      console.log("Balance: ", balance.toString());
    }
  }

  async function setGreeting() {
    if (!greeting) return
    if (typeof window.ethereum !== 'undefined') {
      await requestAccount()
      const provider = new ethers.providers.Web3Provider(window.ethereum);
      console.log({ provider })
      const signer = provider.getSigner()
      const contract = new ethers.Contract(greeterAddress, Greeter.abi, signer)
      const transaction = await contract.setGreeting(greeting)
      await transaction.wait()
      fetchGreeting()
    }
  }

  async function sendCoins() {
    if (typeof window.ethereum !== 'undefined') {
      await requestAccount()
      const provider = new ethers.providers.Web3Provider(window.ethereum);
      const signer = provider.getSigner();
      const contract = new ethers.Contract(tokenAddress, Token.abi, signer);
      const transation = await contract.transfer(userAccount, amount);
      await transation.wait();
      console.log(`${amount} Coins successfully sent to ${userAccount}`);
    }
  }

  return (
    <div className="App">
      <header className="App-header">
        <button onClick={fetchGreeting}>Fetch Greeting</button>
        <button onClick={setGreeting}>Set Greeting</button>
        <input onChange={e => setGreetingValue(e.target.value)} placeholder="Set greeting" />

        <br />
        <button onClick={getBalance}>Get Balance</button>
        <button onClick={sendCoins}>Send Coins</button>
        <input onChange={e => setUserAccount(e.target.value)} placeholder="Account ID" />
        <input onChange={e => setAmount(e.target.value)} placeholder="Amount" />
      </header>
    </div>
  );
}

export default App;

Next, run the app:

npm start

We should be able to click on Get Balance and see that we have 1,000,000 coins in our account logged out to the console.

You should also be able to view them in MetaMask by clicking on Add Token:

Add token

Next click on Custom Token and enter the token contract address and then Add Token. (if asked for token decimals, choose 0) Now the tokens should be available in your wallet:

NDT

Next, let’s try to send those coins to another address.

To do so, copy the address of another account and send them to that address using the updated React UI. When you check the token amount, it should be equal to the original amount minus the amount you sent to the address.

ERC20 Token

The ERC20 Token Standard defines a set of rules that apply to all ERC20 tokens which allow them to easily interact with each other. ERC20 makes it really easy for someone to mint their own tokens that will have interoperability with others on the Ethereum blockchain.

Let’s look at how we may build our own token using the ERC20 standard.

First, install the OpenZepplin smart contract library where we will be importing the base ERC20 Token:

npm install @openzeppelin/contracts

Next, we’ll create our token by extending (or inheriting from) the ERC20 contract:

//SPDX-License-Identifier: MIT
pragma solidity ^0.8.0;

import "@openzeppelin/contracts/token/ERC20/ERC20.sol";

contract NDToken is ERC20 {
    constructor(string memory name, string memory symbol) ERC20(name, symbol) {
        _mint(msg.sender, 100000 * (10 ** 18));
    }
}

The constructor allows you to set the token name and symbol, and the _mint function allows you to mint the tokens and set the amount.

By default, ERC20 sets the number of decimals to 18, so in our _mint function we multiply 100,000 by 10 to the 18 power to mint a total of 100,000 tokens, each with 18 decimal places (similarly to how 1 Eth is made up of 10 to the 18 wei.

To deploy, we need to pass in the constructor values (name and symbol), so we might do something like this in our deploy script:

const NDToken = await hre.ethers.getContractFactory("NDToken");
const ndToken = await NDToken.deploy("Nader Dabit Token", "NDT");

By extending the original ERC20 token, your token will inherit all of the following functions and functionality:

function name() public view returns (string)
function symbol() public view returns (string)
function decimals() public view returns (uint8)
function totalSupply() public view returns (uint256)
function balanceOf(address _owner) public view returns (uint256 balance)
function transfer(address _to, uint256 _value) public returns (bool success)
function transferFrom(address _from, address _to, uint256 _value) public returns (bool success)
function approve(address _spender, uint256 _value) public returns (bool success)
function allowance(address _owner, address _spender) public view returns (uint256 remaining)

Once deployed, you can use any of these functions to interact with the new smart contract. For another example of an ERC20 token, check out [Solidity by example)(https://solidity-by-example.org/app/erc20/)

Conclusion

Ok, we covered a lot here but for me this is kind of the bread and butter / core of getting started with this stack and is kind of what I wanted to have not only as someone who was learning all of this stuff, but also in the future if I ever need to reference anything I may need in the future. I hope you learned a lot.

If you want to support multiple wallets in addition to MetaMask, check out Web3Modal which makes it easy to implement support for multiple providers in your app with a fairly simple and customizable configuration.

In my future tutorials and guides I’ll be diving into more complex smart contract development and also how to deploy them as subgraphs to expose a GraphQL API on top of them and implement things like pagination and full text search.

I’ll also be going into how to use technologies like IPFS and Web3 databases to store data in a decentralized way.

If you have any questions or suggestions for future tutorials, drop some comments here and let me know.

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