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EOSIO: Application Development and User Experience

A look at how EOSIO blockchain's developer tools from block.one — including its testnet, virtual machine, and SDKs — aim to expand the EOSIO ecosystem.

Gemini-EOSIO- Application Development & User Experience

Summary

Developed by Block.one, EOSIO is one of the most advanced blockchain projects in the world and has allocated a substantial quantity of resources toward optimizing its application development and its user experience. First, EOSIO prioritizes the advancement of an easy-to-use yet sophisticated developer platform. Second, it has designed extensive software development tools that continue to advance the EOSIO ecosystem. Finally, the EOSIO platform seeks to prioritize a high-quality overall user experience to help blockchain technology reach its full potential. The EOSIO platform has gone through extensive development, has numerous functionalities, and aims to be an enterprise blockchain solution.

EOSIO Software Development Tools

Since 2018, EOSIO has built a wide range of software development tools to streamline and increase the overall capability of the EOSIO blockchain ecosystem, including:

  • EOSIO Testnet and Contract Development Toolkit (EOS.CDT)

  • EOSIO Virtual Machine (EOS VM) and Ricardian Template Toolkit

  • EOSIO JavaScript (EOS JS) Library and History Tools

  • EOSIO Software Development Kit (SDK) for Java and Swift

  • EOSIO Universal Authenticator Library (UAL) and WebAuthn

  • EOSIO Quickstart Web IDE and Demux Database Scaling  

The EOSIO ecosystem’s developer testnet enables full developer documentation integration and ensures that software engineers can test their latest iterations before deploying them on the EOSIO mainnet. To add to this functionality, EOSIO’s Contract Development Toolkit (EOS.CDT) was developed to be a WebAssembly (WASM) ToolChain with a set of tools and utilities aimed at simplifying and improving the capabilities of EOSIO smart contracts.

EOSIO’s Virtual Machine (EOS VM) is a WASM engine built with three interpreters explicitly designed to compile, debug, and optimize smart contracts. The EOS VM enables developers to construct smart contracts 12x faster than the original EOSIO 1.0 blockchain. The EOSIO Ricardian Template Toolkit is a CDT (contract development toolkit) that provides a standardized framework for human-readable smart contracts, and was created to provide a standard interface to authenticate and provide permission for signing agreements.

EOS JavaScript (EOS JS) is a JavaScript library built to integrate with EOS-based blockchain networks through the EOSIO RPC Application Programming Interface (API). It was constructed to allow end-user applications to interact with EOSIO-specific blockchains. EOSIO History Tools also serve end-user applications. These tools are designed to utilize the State History Plugin to populate specific databases and give EOSIO applications scalable access to historical blockchain data. The system allows for application interaction and database maintenance to send data to and from the EOSIO mainnet.

The EOSIO Software Development Kits (SDKs) for Java and Swift were designed to allow software engineers to build applications for iOS and Android on EOSIO. They were built to provide idiomatic and simple ways to generate and interact with transactions — by collecting signatures to allow for transaction broadcasting to EOSIO nodes. Given that millions of users around the world use their mobile phones on a daily basis, iOS and Android application functionality is crucial for EOSIO’s usability.

EOSIO’s Universal Authenticator Library (UAL) was designed to provide a streamlined framework for different types of authentication software that are used to store users’ private keys when interacting with EOSIO-based applications. WebAuthn is a sophisticated user authentication standard used by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in collaboration with Google, Microsoft, and other leading technology firms. It enables hardware device authentication without the need for extensions or other software installed on a user's devices.

EOSIO Quickstart Web IDE is a state-of-the-art web-based development tool for creating EOSIO applications that run on the cloud. Its main purpose is to simplify and speed up the time it takes engineers to learn the ins and outs of EOSIO development. 

The EOS Demux data scaling solution is a specialized framework designed to deterministically scale data access. Demux provides the speed and adaptability of traditional database systems combined with the properties of blockchain-based immutability and trust.

Enhancements for EOSIO Application Developers

To complement the various tools that make the EOSIO blockchain platform so powerful, the project continues to enhance the software development process by increasing ease of use, adaptability, and overall performance.

In order for developers to access the block explorer (used for transaction and block inspection), launch Nodeos, and inspect data saved in tables, the EOSIO team is building an intuitive Graphical User Interface (GUI). This tool helps engineers work together to improve specific Nodeos capabilities. Further, EOSIO is exploring development tools that will allow smart contracts to be debugged more efficiently — ultimately minimizing future smart contract execution and processing problems.

It is critical to continually update core developer documentation to ensure it not only contains newly implemented code-specific modifications, but also offers multilingual support for developers around the world who speak limited to no English. The EOSIO development ecosystem is also constantly updating the functionality of their smart contracts so they perform optimally for real-world uses. Smart contracts need to be able to interact with each other and the entire EOSIO ecosystem without conflicts to ensure widespread applicability.

Simplicity and User Experience

A safe, simple, and intuitive user experience is crucial for blockchain technology to ultimately reach its full potential. The blockchain space is commonly criticized for unnecessarily complicated setup and maintenance procedures. Such complexities in turn can help hackers and other bad actors take advantage of inexperienced blockchain users. All of the above issues can often scare away many mainstream users. EOSIO focuses on designing products that implement technical innovation in a streamlined and easy-to-use manner, so that end-users can enjoy a safe and intuitive user experience. 

In financial technology such as blockchain, it is imperative to present tamper-proof representations of text, attachments, and images to clearly explain the purpose of the transaction the user is agreeing to sign. Maintaining a secure and consistent frontend for users is made possible in part by preventing phishing attacks, bait and switch attacks, and other types of potential security breaches that could otherwise place a user’s personal and financial data at risk. As we touched on above, WebAuthn goes a long way toward offering strong user authentication through security keys and by utilizing built-in fingerprint sensors to simplify the user experience.

Currently, users are expected to own or lease their own cryptocurrency holdings to pay for the transaction costs needed to use CPU and network resources. EOSIO is currently designing a new system for giving application developers the ability to set specific criteria for transactions and cover any customer costs — alleviating potential adoption barriers in relation to transaction costs.

Right now application user interfaces are built and hosted off-chain and are prone to single points of failure and unwanted censorship. To combat this inefficiency, EOSIO is also designing a new way to manage file storage in a decentralized environment on-chain.

EOSIO and Block.one Continue Ongoing Ecosystem Expansion

EOSIO and Block.one continue to expand their ecosystem at a commendable pace. In 2020, Block.one welcomed Google Cloud to the EOS community, announcing their intention to become a block producer candidate on the EOS public network, a public implementation of Block.one’s core protocol, EOSIO. Additionally, the company also introduced a new suite of enterprise services called EOSIO for Business. The solution will utilize the EOSIO software to provide Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS), developer training and certification programs, customized consulting and development services, and 24/7 technical support. In addition to these two major announcements, EOSIO has also announced a number of notable development milestones, including the inception of the blockchain-based social network, Voice.

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