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Guide to Developing, Testing, and Deploying EOS Smart Contracts

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Guide to Developing, Testing, and Deploying EOS Smart Contracts
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Pratik Chadhokar
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EOS is a popular blockchain for building decentralized apps (dApps) and scaling the deployment of smart contracts, which are executable programs running on EOS. Developers must learn the architecture, language, and tools to build robust contracts on EOS. This involves understanding concepts like its consensus algorithm, communication modules, and integrated development environments. With proper knowledge, developers can leverage EOS benefits like high speed, efficiency, and scale to deploy feature-rich dApps using smart contracts. This article provides step-by-step instructions for setting up a development environment, writing and testing contracts and releasing them on the EOS mainnet. These guidelines will help create and deploy secure, innovative smart contracts on EOS to power dApps.

Preparing for EOS Smart Contract Development

The first step is to understand the unique architecture of the EOS blockchain. Unlike Ethereum, EOS uses a Delegated Proof-of-Stake (DPoS) consensus based on 21 elected block producers. Transactions are validated by these producers instead of miners. EOS also utilizes parallel execution and asynchronous communication for faster transactions. 

Smart contracts on EOS are run in a secure, isolated environment called WebAssembly (WASM). EOS has resource allocation for RAM, CPU, and bandwidth to enable seamless execution of DApps. Learning EOS architecture helps build robust contracts suited for its ecosystem.

Writing EOS smart contracts requires familiarity with C++ because EOS is a C++ based platform. Data types such as ints, floats, arrays, and struct should be well understood. Classes, encapsulation, and inheritance are all object-oriented principles that must be known.

Using sample C++ programs to grasp concepts like variables, control structures, and functions will prepare you for smart contract programming. Additionally, learned tools like version control, compilers, and debuggers for an integrated development environment.

EOS provides robust Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and methods to interact with blockchain states and functions. For example, there are APIs to retrieve details of transactions, accounts, tokens, etc. ‘eosio::print’ can display info, and ‘eosio::require’ validates conditions. 

Developers should study official EOS documentation on Contract Development, Account Management, Token Management, Database Management, and other features with code snippets. Understanding the possibilities of what can be achieved using inbuilt tools accelerates dApp development

There are many choices for setting up an EOS development environment ranging from online IDEs like EOS Studio to installing tools locally. A popular option is using Visual Studio Code with plugins like EOSlime, EOS Factory, ESbonc, etc. These allow creation, compiling, and deployment, all within a robust interface.

Other options include using command-line tools like EOSJS, Demux, Cleos, etc. For those starting, EOS Studio is great for getting used to syntax without complex installs. As you advance, custom development environments become more suitable.

You can start writing EOS smart contracts in C++ with the basics covered. Reusable contracts for common functionalities like token creation are available. For custom contracts, outline key features, define schema for tables/structs, and implement logic methods. Modularize code into .hpp files for linkage.

Testing the contract is critical before deployment. Set up a local testnet, import test accounts, deploy contracts, and run methods to validate behavior. The goal is to simulate the mainnet environment and uncover issues beforehand. Automated testing using frameworks like Boost and integration testing tools accelerates verification.

After completing the contract code, it must be compiled into WASM, and an ABI file must be generated. The WASM contains executable code, while the ABI file describes its interface. The eosio-cpp compiler converts high-level C++ to WASM for the EOS Virtual Machine. This generates the WASM and ABI files needed for deployment.

The ABI file contains JSON data on contract functions, error messages, tables, and database schemas. It enables interfacing between client applications and the deployed contract. Proper ABI binding happens when compiling the contract using the eosio-cpp toolchain.

Deploying the Smart Contract

Once the WASM and ABI files are created, the smart contract can be deployed to the EOS mainnet. You need an EOS account that can create transactions to deploy contracts. SDKs like EOSJS, Anchor, and Greymass Fuel have tools to deploy. Wallets like Scatter also allow deploying contract

The deployment transaction specifies the contract account name, WASM bytecode, ABI file, and constructor data. Stake enough CPU and NET resources for running the contract. Purchase requires RAM to hold contract state. After sending the transaction, verify successful deployment on a block explorer. The new account should show the correct resources, WASM code, and ABI. Check for errors and redeploy if needed. Confirm successful deployment before interacting with the contract.

Interacting with the Deployed Contract 

When the contract is successfully deployed on the EOS blockchain, you can now interact with its methods. First, create a testing account and get its permissions set up. Use this account to send transactions that call the contract’s functions. This end-to-end testing is very important.

Use the close command line tool or an SDK to send transactions that invoke the contract’s methods. For example, you can pass input data, transfer tokens, update tables, etc. Monitor events, check error handling, and view output using tools like eosjs and If needed, redeploy an updated contract version to refine the logic.

Testing thoroughly allows proper interaction with the deployed contract. Send transactions that execute different functions. Check that the contract runs as expected by verifying the results. Fix any issues by redeploying after updating the code. Proper testing and monitoring help build robust decentralized apps on EOS.

In conclusion, developing smart contracts on EOS requires learning its architecture, the C++ language, EOS APIs, and development tools. Write and test contracts locally before deployment. Compile to WASM, generate an ABI file, then deploy to mainnet using an EOS account and SDKs. Verify successful deployment without errors, interact by calling contract functions, and monitor behavior. With iterative testing, robust dApps can be built on EOS, offering high performance and productivity for blockchain projects. Follow best practices and the EOS community to leverage its capabilities for innovative decentralized applications.

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