Beginners guide to Solana and SolanaFM Developer Portal
6 min read
Blockchain technology has revolutionized the way we conduct transactions, offering a secure and transparent alternative to traditional methods. With over 1.3 billion transactions recorded on the Bitcoin blockchain alone, and Ethereum and Solana processing millions of transactions daily, it's clear that the demand for blockchain solutions is rapidly growing. As the blockchain industry continues to expand, developers are constantly seeking innovative ways to harness this powerful technology, leveraging its features to create decentralized applications that can transform industries from finance to healthcare.
In this article, we'll explore the basics of blockchain development and how it is being used to solve real-world problems on popular blockchains such as Ethereum, and Solana.
One of the biggest similarities between Ethereum and Solana is that they're both smart contract platforms. That means you can write code that runs on the blockchain, which opens up a world of possibilities for decentralized applications. However, the way you write code on Ethereum and Solana is quite different.
First, let's talk about Ethereum. Developing on Ethereum is like being in a crowded party, where everyone's trying to get their voice heard. There are so many people and projects on Ethereum, that it can sometimes be overwhelming. But just like at a party, if you can get people to listen, you can make a big impact.
On Ethereum, you write code in Solidity, which is a language that's specific to Ethereum. It's like speaking a different language at a party, and you need to find people who understand it to communicate effectively. Plus, since Ethereum is so crowded, you might have to pay a high fee to execute your code. Your smart contract on Ethereum is being summarized into a giant file known as the ABI file (Application Binary Interface). So we can say the ABI file is the invitation to the party, which includes your details.
On the other hand, Solana uses a more familiar language called Rust. It's like speaking the same language as most of the other party-goers, which can make it easier to get your ideas across. Plus, since Solana is less crowded, you might not have to pay as much to execute your code. So instead of ABI, Solana uses IDL (Interface Definition Language )to summarize the smart contract.
Note: on Solana, everything is an account, a smart contract on Solana is an account also.
Introduction to the SolanaFM developer portal
Solana Blockchain has a lot of running nodes with lots of accounts running on each of the nodes. getting the data from various accounts on different nodes on Solana is a bit difficult, so there is a need for an intermediary that will help get that particular account and read the data from it. This intermediary is known as an Indexer, which helps find the account on Solana nodes using the IDL of the accounts.
SolanaFM developer portal provides a simplified approach to indexing the blockchain, the process is outlined below;
The only prerequisite is to have a Solana wallet In your browser, for this tutorial I will be using the Phantom Wallet Extension
Connect your Solana wallet and authenticate it.
Provide the details of your Solana program (upload your program's IDL and provide your program's ID, )
Note: You can upload more than one IDL.
The network you want to index (mainnet or devnet) will be auto-detected.
Click on Start indexing the network.
Get your API key, and start querying the APIs
In just 5 steps, you have the superpower to index any account on the Solana blockchain.
With the API credentials gotten above, you can use the API URL to build various decentralized applications using different clients and frameworks.
The SolanaFM developer portal does the heavy lifting for you by abstracting lots of network requests (JSON RPC ) into a single REST API, that can be used to meet the need of your applications.
List of dApp ideas to build using the developer portal, and the system design for each idea.
There are a couple of dApps that only need the data from the blockchain to provide value for users. Here are some of the dApps you can build by leveraging the developer portal,
Decentralized Job Marketplace: An indexing protocol can be used to create a decentralized job marketplace where users can find job postings and apply for positions. The protocol can index job postings from various platforms and filter them based on user preferences such as location, salary, and job type. The system can be designed using blockchain technology to ensure that job postings are immutable and secure.
Decentralized Real Estate Platform: The indexing protocol can be used to create a decentralized real estate platform where users can buy, sell, and rent properties. The protocol can index property listings from various platforms and filter them based on user preferences such as location, price, and type of property. The system can be designed using smart contracts to ensure that transactions are secure and transparent.
Decentralized Social Network: The indexing protocol can create a decentralized social network where users can share content and connect. The protocol can index posts from various platforms and filter them based on user preferences such as interests, location, and language. The system can be designed using peer-to-peer networking technology to ensure that user data is secure and not controlled by a central authority.
Decentralized News Platform: The indexing protocol can be used to create a decentralized news platform where users can access news from various sources. The protocol can index news articles from various platforms and filter them based on user preferences such as topic, language, and location. The system can be designed using blockchain technology to ensure that news articles are immutable and transparent.
Decentralized Music Streaming Service: The indexing protocol can be used to create a decentralized music streaming service where users can access music from various sources. The protocol can index music from various platforms and filter them based on user preferences such as genre, artist, and language. The system can be designed using smart contracts to ensure that artists are compensated fairly for their work and that users have access to high-quality music.
Each of these dApps will require a different set of features and infrastructure to build, but they all share the common feature of using an indexing protocol to aggregate content from various sources. The protocol will need to be designed to support different types of content, such as job postings, real estate listings, social media posts, news articles, and music. Additionally, the system will need to be designed to ensure that user data is secure and that transactions are transparent and immutable.
Suggested Features for improving the developer portal
Currently, the developer portal only generates REST API endpoint, adding the Support for Graphql APIs will provide more flexibility for developers and reduce the number of network calls. Though Another approach to this is using the Apollo Graphql REST API data source, which is used to combine REST APIs into a GraphQL server.
Currently, The API only works on Solana Blockchain, including Cross-chain support will make it easier for developers on other blockchains to get up to speed with Solana and increase the user base of the developer portal. and also be on par with The Graph (An indexing protocol for Ethereum)
Blockchain development is one of the fast-growing sectors, creating a low barrier to entry for Nocode developers by giving users the ability to create Solana programs and generate IDL using blocks programming (This can be done by leveraging blockly by google ).
In this article, you were able to traverse the world of Ethereum and Solana blockchain and have a deep dive into indexing Solana programs using the SolanaFM developer portal.
Also, you learned some dApp ideas that can be powered by the developer portal and also, some features to increase the use case of the Indexing tool. For more content like this, you can reach out to me on Twitter and Linkedin
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