Deploying our first contracts with Embark Framework

Since we installed Embark Framework and made a quick tour of it, we’ll now use it to create our first DApp: Decentralized Application. Our DApp will have two parts:

  • Smart contract – It will live on the blockchain  and handle the logic of our application. Coded with Solidity.
  • User interface – Will let normal users interact with the contract and is built with standard web technologies: HTML, CSS, Javascript.

Our DApp will be a decentralized micro blogging platform  (read Twitter clone). The functionalities will be:

  • A user can register
  • A user can post a message
  • List all the accounts
  • List all the messages of a user

Our application will be called MDB which stands for Micro Decentralized Blog. For this we will write two smart contracts, the first one is the actual application that will store all the accounts and let the user register: MDBService. The second part will be the user account containing all the tweets of the user: MDBAccount. When a user register using the application contract, it will actually create an account and store it’s address similar to what we did in our article about factories.

In this tutorial we will only write the smart contract part, we’ll cover the user interface and other topics such as writing tests in next tutorials.

First, we will use Embark Framework to create our code base. In your favorite terminal type:

Embark created the folders for our application, you can load the folder in your favorite IDE and we’ll create our first Smart contract: the user account. We will call it MDBAccount.sol and place it in the folder app/contracts .

 

We will use the struct  keyword to define a new type, a Post. A Post will store the message that was posted and the timestamp the user posted the message.

If you already followed the basic tutorials, the code is pretty straightforward:

We will try and deploy this first contract. In a terminal we will start our testing blockchain:

embark simulator

and then in an other terminal window:

embark run

We can see our contract was deployed.

So let’s try to see if our contract works, we’ll access the contract from the console using:  MDBAccount.getNumberPosts().toNumber()  and  MDBAccount.getOwnerAddress .

As you can see, we have a serious problem, the owner address is set as 0x00 which is definitely not ours. So due to the modifier we won’t be able to interact with our contract. We need to tell Embark to supply our address as the first argument of the constructor.

For this, we’ll go in the config/contracts.json  file and past the address of our contract. To know it, just type: web3.eth.accounts[0]  in the Embark console. Mine is: 0x4d89d68b3325e620339fbd3c5ad7c4a8c22cd7dd . So let’s add it on the contracts configuration file:

If you save the file, you’ll see that the Embark console will deploy the contract again automatically, we can now play with our contract:

 

You can try yourself using the following calls:

  • MDBAccount.getNumberPosts().toNumber()
  • MDBAccount.post("Hello World")
  • MDBAccount.getPost(0)[0]  //Getting the message of the post
  • MDBAccount.getPost(0)[1].toNumber()  //Getting the timestamp

It was nice to play around with our simple contract, we will now make the MDBService  in a new app/contracts/MDBService.sol  file which will be in charge of managing the accounts.  As our MDBService contract will use the MDBAccount contract we need to import it. The import keyword just copy the content of a file.

The whole code for registering our new accounts and retrieving them:

As the accounts contract will be created by our MDBService contract, we need to specify to Embark that we don’t want it to be deployed in the file config/contracts.json .

Now your contract should appear as not deployed in the list:

We can quickly test our contract by calling register and get the address of our account with the console.

This is everything for the smart contract part of our brand new DApp. We voluntary didn’t test much interacting with the service and sending data to our post through it because in the next tutorial we will cover good practice for testing your smart contracts with Embark Framework.

 

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