Blockchain’s endless utility has allowed the technology to reach into industries far and wide. With new ICOs (initial coin offerings) springing up every day, blockchain-based applications are always in demand, as many companies require these applications to navigate and administer their blockchain products.
DApps (decentralized applications) are an example of commonly used blockchain-based applications. Programming these applications can be tricky because of the differences in programming techniques, not to mention that the technology is still quite young.
Thorough preparation and careful implementation are key in overcoming the challenges that building these types of applications present. Here are a few things that future developers should keep in mind when planning blockchain-based applications.
A Technology in Flux
Developing apps that are designed to work in blockchain environments requires knowledge of the current blockchain ecosystem, but it also requires knowledge of where this field of technology will go next. Existing protocols are subject to change on any given day, and app developers need to be aware of the shifting infrastructure of blockchain platforms.
When developing a DApp that is focused on solving a specific problem, a smart programmer will also research how this problem will look in the coming months and years. While planning the app, the programmer should look at how the blockchain platform’s infrastructure might change. The impending shift in infrastructure could exacerbate the issue that the DApp will address, or the shift might solve the issue altogether.
Differences in Building Traditional and Decentralized Apps
The core attribute of blockchain is decentralization, and blockchain-based applications are run by utilizing decentralized processing – a novel feature for most traditional applications. Developers trained on traditional web applications should note the new challenges that programming a blockchain-based application will present.
Many of these challenges are unavoidable because they arise from working in a vastly different environment that often requires unfamiliar programming languages such as Solidity, a language specifically geared toward programming smart contracts. Most DApps are created inside the Ethereum blockchain, which runs on Solidity. Ethereum’s popularity with DApps is due to the blockchain’s versatility.
Choosing the Right Blockchain Platform
App developers use blockchain platforms to help them build DApps. Blockchain platforms are important in the development process because they allow developers to build a decentralized app without having to create a separate blockchain from the ground up.
There are many different platforms available to blockchain developers. Finding the right platform will make all the difference for how effective the app will be. Stability and security should be the foremost concern when selecting a blockchain platform for building an app.
Aside from Ethereum, there are now a number of blockchain platforms available to developers. Hyperledger Fabric, BigChainDB, and Quorum are all platforms that have risen to popularity in the developer world. Each of these platforms has their share of pros and cons, all of which should be carefully considered before making a choice.
It’s All About Architecture
A good application is defined by its architecture. One small oversight in the code can render the entire app useless, and developers working on decentralized apps must now take the blockchain into account when working on traditional client-server applications.
Versatile DApps require complex code in order to run correctly. The architecture should reflect the purpose of the DApp, and developers must think about all the potential uses of their application when considering the architecture.
Encryption needs and transactions fees are both important factors in the architecture for blockchain-based applications. But the task or tasks that the app will be designed to carry out will greatly define which components in the architecture will be most instrumental to the app’s success.
Because blockchain is a fluid technology that constantly evolving, best practices and techniques for building applications are refined and updated daily. Staying on top of the latest trends is difficult and time-consuming, but determined and forward-thinking developers have everything to gain.
About the author
Manju Mohan has a background in computer science, economics, instructional design, and UX design. She is the CEO and Co-Founder of Ionixx Technologies – a design, web, mobile and blockchain technologies service provider. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Economics from the University of Western Ontario and a Master’s degree in Instructional Technology from San Francisco State University.