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Nuel geek
Nuel geek

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Top Smart Contract development tools

The Web3 ecosystem is still at its early stage of development which gives room for a lot of creation and improvement of tools that aid in writing novel Smart contracts.
In this article, I will list the tools that have helped me develop my skill faster as a smart contract developer.
These tools are listed in categories ranging from starter kits for building dapps, Smart contract programming languages, Smart contract vitals, Deployment & test, wallets, Block explorer, Security tools, Front-end tools, and help & support. I will be focusing on the top and dominant tools.

Starter kits for building dapps

  1. Scaffold-eth: This is one of my favorite tools that gave me real challenges to learn while solving the problems, one way to quickly experiment with solidity and a frontend that adapts to your smart contract. it contains instructions to guide you as a developer and telegram groups for every participator to interact with other builders. In addition to that, it supports Javascript and Typescript.

  2. 30 Days of Web3: I Learned about this incredible platform last week from Twitter. The curriculum is beginner friendly for learning about solidity. The course is for people who want to start building on Ethereum. If you don't know how to code, it walks you through the code and helps you understand how the different protocols communicate with each other. it covers smart contracts, frontend, and Graphs development. It is self-paced and provides its users with a Discord channel filled with support and web3 opportunities.

  3. Patrick Collins 32 hours course: The 32 hours duration might seem like a lot, but it contains every vital information to becoming a grounded Solidity developer. This course will give you a full introduction to all of the core concepts related to blockchain, smart contracts, Solidity, ERC20s, full-stack Web3 dapps, decentralized finance (Defi), JavaScript, TypeScript, Chainlink, Ethereum, upgradable smart contracts, DAOs, the graph, moralis, aave, IPFS, and more. Follow along with the videos and you will be a blockchain wizard in no time!

Smart contract programming languages

  1. Soiidity: If you are new to smart contract development, I recommend you start with solidity, this is the most dominant language for writing smart contracts. Solidity works on most network platforms, like Ethereum, Avalanche, Moonbeam, Polygon, BSC, and more. It is a model built to target the EVM (Ethereum virtual machine), which is widely adopted.

  2. Vyper: If you are already going with Python programming language, this is a good start. Vyper is a pythonic language that is similar to Solidity but written in a more modern way. It is used to write smart contracts that run on the Ethereum Virtual Machine. Next to Solidity, Vyper is the second-most popular choice of contract programming language for developers.

  3. Rust: Rust is the latest language in the context of blockchain, and you’re not going to be able to use it with the EVM compatible blockchains like Ethereum, Polygon, Binance Smart Chain, and such. However, with Rust, you’ll be able to deploy to chains like Solana, and Terra and build blockchains with Polkadot. Rust is a performant general-purpose language used even outside smart contracts; hence other chains are choosing to pick it up.

Deployment and test

  1. Hardhat: The hardhat framework is currently the most dominant for Deployment and testing. Hardhat is a development environment for Ethereum software. It consists of different components for editing, compiling, debugging, and deploying your smart contracts and dApps, all of which work together to create a complete development environment.

With Hardhat’s testing speed, Javascript, typescript support, wide adoption, and incredible developer experience-focused team, it is no wonder why it’s risen so quickly in popularity. it does a beautiful job of quickly getting your applications up to speed. You can check out the hardhat-starter-kit to see an example of what a hardhat project looks like.

  1. Foundry: Foundry is a blazing fast, portable and modular toolkit for Ethereum application development written in Rust.

Foundry consists of:

  Forge: Ethereum testing framework (like Truffle, Hardhat, and DappTools).
  Cast: Swiss army knife for interacting with EVM smart contracts, sending transactions,    and getting chain data.
  Anvil: local Ethereum node, akin to Ganache, Hardhat Network.
  This framework is fast, powerful, and focuses on building your tests in solidity, with built-in
fuzzing and other powerful tools.
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Alternatives:
Brownie(python-based), Remix, Truffle, Apeworx

Block explorer

Block explorers are one of the most important tools in a crypto and developer enthusiast's arsenal. They provide an online interface for searching for transactions on the blockchain and enable you to retrieve data about transactions, addresses, blocks, fees, and more.

  1. Etherscan: This explorer is one every user of the Ethereum network makes use of in retrieving data when needed. Etherscan is the leading BlockChain Explorer, Search, API, and Analytics Platform for Ethereum, a decentralized smart contracts platform. Built and launched in 2015 it is one of the earliest and longest-running independent projects built around Ethereum and its community with the mission of providing equitable access to blockchain data.

  2. Etherchain: I learned about the explorer at the time of writing this article from Patrick collins. Etherchain is a lightweight block explorer that has also released a wonderful ETH 2 explorer that I use more than Etherscan at the moment.

Wallet

If you are a blockchain user or enthusiast, the wallet is more like a gateway for access to participating in the blockchain network, and for the developers, you need the wallet to deploy and store testnets(funds) for paying a gas fee. Everyone should own a wallet.

  1. Metamask: MetaMask is a popular cryptocurrency hot wallet known for its ease of use, available on both desktops and mobile devices, the ability to buy, send, and receive cryptocurrency from within the wallet, and collect non-fungible tokens (NFTs) across two blockchains. Its concept is pretty simple. The problem with these is that once your private key is out, you’re screwed! Additionally, they are always connected to the internet, so if someone gets access to your computer, you might be out of luck too! Luckily there are some helpful other tools for us.

  2. Gnosis Safe: Gnosis safe is known as a multi-sig wallet, meaning it takes X number of signatures to send a transaction. This way, if one wallet is compromised, it doesn’t matter since that attacker would need to compromise at least half of the keyholders.
    A massive tool for smart contract developers, especially those handling a lot of money and want to make sure their assets are safe. A lot of DAOs use Gnosis safe as well for storing their treasuries. Additionally, a gnosis safe has integrations with many other DAO tooling, like Snapshot, for casting votes.

  3. Ledger / Trezor: Ledger and Trezor are known as β€œcold wallets,” or wallets that are a bit more cumbersome to make transitions with. This cumbersomeness is intentional; they make it harder for you, especially attackers, to move funds.
    You can use any combination of cold wallets, hot wallets, and multi-sigs in your projects, and you probably should! Use hot storage for small funds that you need to access and move around a lot/quickly, cold storage for things you don’t want to touch for a long time, and multi-sigs for significant funds you wish to protect. You can even connect your cold storage wallet as one of the keys on a multi-sig!

Frontend tool

Frontend development in web3 still makes use of fundamental developing tools like Html, CSS, and Javascript. React, Angular Js, and Next js are important frameworks for frontend development. In addition to that, there are extra dapp-compatible tools for development.

  1. Web3.Js/Ether.js: Both web3.js and ethers.js are JavaScript libraries that enable frontend apps to interact with the Ethereum blockchain, including smart contracts. If you are building an app that reads or writes to the blockchain from the client, you'll need to use one of these libraries. Recently, trends have been moving towards Ethersjs as the more popular one; however, they will both do the job.

  2. Moralis: Moralis is a leading web development platform that offers everything that the user needs to create, host, and grow great dApps in one place. It allows you to simply interface with an infinite number of external projects, chains, and technologies.

Help and Support

There are lots of ways to get help on a particular issue or bug, this is one of the times you pull up your googling skills, making use of platforms such as StackOver flow or Stack Exchange ETH, googling the exact error, asking questions in the discord and forum community, you can also create an issue on Github.
Security Tools
One can attack records on the blockchain which can't be reversed once exploited in most cases. This makes it necessary for Web3 security to be more proactive and prevention-focused.
Currently, the widely used method for the prevention of attacks has been through code auditing, peer review, and making use of tools like Silver, Mythril, Manticore, etc which are still very relevant in the space. However, that does not guarantee 100% of code security, but it does reduce the chance of it being exploited at a high rate.
Make use of many methods as possible to get your code secured.

Summary

This is a long read and still does not cover every single tool existing in the ecosystem, as more tools are springing up now, while many are being improved to fit the advancement of this technology.

But I hope I have listed some of the important tools you can kick off with. Let me know any tool you feel like I missed in the comment session. Subscribe to my blog as I will be dishing out important and helpful tips for developers.

Reference

Patrick Collins blog: https://betterprogramming.pub/top-10-smart-contract-developer-tools-you-need-for-2022-b763f5df689a
30 Days of web3: https://www.30daysofweb3.xyz/en/curriculum/1-getting-started/0-overview

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