Embarking on a journey of building in web3 comes with its own unique set of challenges and rewards. We continue introducing you to tools that can help you on your building journey, and as always, in the webFree series, we highlight the tools that are available to you for free. In this article, we are going to take a look at testnets and developer tools that help you test and streamline your building process so that you can focus on the user experience and value that you are delivering with your dApp.
Testnets, short for test networks, are replicas of blockchain networks, specifically designed for testing purposes. Developers test new contracts and new features, making sure that the programs run without issues. Even when the chain itself needs an update, it also first comes to a testnet.
Developers can do all of that without spending actual tokens to launch their contracts and update them, i.e., for FREE. So, it's important to remember that by design, the digital assets on testnets have no value. Testnet tokens are separate from the official (mainnet) tokens. You can get them for free from a faucet!
Goerli (named after "Goerlitzer Bahnhof" in Berlin) is the first native multi-client testnet designed to simulate the behavior of the Ethereum mainnet. Like Ethereum, it is also a PoS (Proof-Of-Stake) network, that has been appreciated by the developers for its stability, speed, and low transaction fees since 2019. It has native integrations with MetaMask, Infura, Alchemy, and other apps and tools.
If you want to test a project on Goerli, you will need to acquire some of its native testnet GoETH. With a free Alchemy account, you can get up to 0.02 ETH per day.
Goerli has faithfully served its users, but as the usage grew exponentially, the chain has become less reliable, which led to the decision to wind it down. It will be supported until Q4 2023 so the developers and users can migrate to Sepolia.
Sepolia (named after a neighborhood in Athens, Greece, where one of the Ethereum developers grew up) is currently the recommended testnet for smart contract development. It has been around since 2021 and migrated to PoS in 2022. It has ongoing support from the Ethereum Foundation, supports the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), and uses the latest version of the Geth client.
Sepolia has a permissioned validator set, it is run by client and developer teams, which means a more predictable network state.
One of the main issues that led to the folding of the Goerli testnet was the issue of token supply, which at one point even led to GoETH having actual value (unintended) and some speculation springing up (degens are gonna degen). The way Sepolia addressed the issue was by using a mintable uncapped ERC20 token.
As Goerli was starting the wind-down, Tim Beiko announced that the Ethereum developers believe that another testnet is necessary and have, in fact, planned to launch one later in 2023.
It has been known that Sepolia’s permissioned nature makes it less desirable for testing staking infrastructure and L2s.
After an involved discussion, the community agreed to call the new testnet Holešky, instead of Holli, which is somewhat closer to Holešovice, a train station located in Prague, which it is named after.
Holešky is scheduled to launch on Ethereum Merge Day, September 15, 2023.
The new testnet is part of the testnet lifecycle plan that is being implemented by the Ethereum developers. It is designed as Goerli’s successor and allows public validators. This makes it more suitable as a staking, infrastructure, and protocol-developer testnet.
Ethereum developer ecosystem has blossomed with a multitude of developer tooling platforms that help streamline the testing and deployment of dApps.
Moralis is a platform that provides an infrastructure allowing developers to quickly create applications. Moralis’ APIs are cross-chain compatible, allowing you to build on most major chains: Ethereum, BNB, Solana, Polygon, Arbitrum, Optimism, Aptos, etc.
The Moralis platform offers several key features, including web3 authentication, on-chain notifications, as well as a host of APIs supplying on-chain data. Creators of dApps can use this infrastructure to integrate into their solutions to save development resources and focus on UX and the solution itself.
Let’s take a closer look:
The platform has a free tier that allows you to familiarize yourself with the toolkit.
Tenderly is an Ethereum developer platform that focuses on real-time monitoring, debugging, and simulating smart contracts.
Tenderly offers multiple tools that fall into the following categories:
Visual Debugger: This tool helps developers inspect transactions, trace function calls, and debug their smart contracts.
Simulation and Gas Profiler: Developers can simulate transactions on any network. This feature helps in estimating gas costs before actually executing the transaction on the network.
Monitoring and Alerting: Tenderly provides the ability to monitor smart contract activity in real time. Users can set alerts for various events such as transactions, function calls, contract deployments, and gas usage.
Analytics: Tenderly provides various performance metrics for smart contracts, such as gas usage, function call frequency, and more.
Tenderly APIs are part of the core infrastructure, enabling workflow automation and easy integration.
Simulation API enables you to run transaction simulations programmatically. Projects can use Transaction Simulator to fork any Tenderly-supported network and run tests. Once the dapp is live, Simulation API can be employed to allow users to dry-run transactions and execute them in demo mode.
Tenderly Web3 Gateway is a production node that offers access to the blockchain (read, stream, and analyze blockchain data). It allows projects to reduce the infrastructure overhead.
Fleek aims to simplify building and integrating dapps with web3.
Fleek provides a suite of tools to support dApps, including:
Decentralized Hosting: Websites hosted on Fleek are stored on IPFS, providing them with decentralized and censorship-resistant characteristics.
Domain Management: Fleek provides a service to manage blockchain-based domain names, such as those from the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) and the InterPlanetary Name Service (IPNS).
Storage: Fleek provides decentralized storage options, again leveraging IPFS, but also Filecoin. It offers so-called “pinning,” compression, and image resizing. All of that makes it possible to retrieve files up to 10x faster compared to retrieving them from IPFS directly.
The world of decentralized applications offers immense opportunities for innovation, and now that it is a few years old, it has matured to a degree where it offers tools to streamline a lot of development. By utilizing these free tools, you can build, test, and deploy dApps seamlessly and affordably. Although the path may seem daunting, the rewards are worth it. With these insights, you're ready to explore and experiment in web3. Stay tuned for the next installment of webFree series!
Check out the previous episodes in the series: