An overview of the blockchain development lifecycle
This process is a tried and tested method for blockchain developers in the industry. Organizing the process in this way yields the most efficient and ideal results. The blockchain application development process consists of eight steps, detailed below.
The eight stages of the blockchain development lifecycle:
Define the problem to be solved with the blockchain application
The first step in this process is to identify a problem that a blockchain can successfully solve. It can be both expensive and unnecessary to use a blockchain when it is not needed. Therefore, it is essential to identify a real problem that a blockchain can solve.
Choose the most appropriate consensus mechanism
Each blockchain project uses its own consensus mechanism. The most common are Proof of Work (PoW) and Proof of Stake (PoS). Other consensus mechanisms such as Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance, Proof-of-Burn, Proof-of-Activity, and Proof-of-Capacity can only be adopted if they are better suited to the project.
Choose a programming language and a blockchain
At this point, focus on designing the app’s user interface. The chosen blockchain to rely on will affect the programming language used, which in turn will influence how users interact with the chain. Also, interoperability is an additional consideration when thinking about languages. But what programming language is used for blockchain technologies?
Some of the popular programming languages for blockchain developers are:
After selecting a language, a blockchain developer must choose a database to work with. MongoDB and MySQL are two popular choices.
Select a blockchain development platform
At this point, developers need to identify which blockchain to rely on. This allows for immediate development without having to create a blockchain from scratch. The blockchain platform selection process depends on the required consensus mechanism. Take note of the issues resolved by each consensus mechanism.
Blockchain development often relies on popular platforms designed to facilitate the process. These platforms are used by both blockchain development companies and independent developers.
Some of the most common platforms are open source blockchain platforms, such as
Developers should choose a platform that uses a familiar blockchain programming language. Each platform listed here will facilitate the blockchain development cycle.
It’s best to look at each platform’s capabilities and drawbacks, which will help determine if the blockchain platform is right for the project.
Develop a strategy for the rest of the development process
In this step of the blockchain development process, evaluate the steps taken so far. Develop a plan and prioritize a strategy for a more comprehensive process. This strategy must take into account the characteristics of the chosen platform.
Start designing the blockchain architecture
Determine if the blockchain will include specific permissions for targeted user groups or if it will include a permissionless network. Next, determine whether the application will require the use of a private or public blockchain network architecture.
Also consider hybrid consortium or public permissioned blockchain architecture. With an authorized public blockchain, a participant can only add information with the permission of other registered participants.
Ultimately, the option to consider is the one that best fits the use case.
Developing the blockchain application
Configure key aspects of the application. Make sure permissions, block signatures, address formats, and key management are handled first. These elements cannot be changed once implemented, so it is best to give them some attention from the start.
After this step, start working on the application programming interface (API) of the blockchain application. APIs are used to perform auditing functions, generate key pairs, and store or retrieve essential data. The selection of blockchain APIs depends on the purpose of the application. These APIs will provide the most value to all users.
A developer must also implement middleware. Middleware is software that connects external systems to the blockchain, enabling communication between the components of the blockchain and the applications running on it.
Some APIs required by almost all blockchains include
APIs for digital signatures and generation of hash numbers are also needed for data authentication. The developer can use predefined APIs for blockchain applications or choose to create new ones from scratch. Relying on pre-built APIs speeds up the development process, while building APIs from scratch provides greater flexibility.
Test and release an alpha version of the application
In this stage, all the efforts accumulated during the previous stages bear fruit and a first version of the project is now ready to be tested. At this point in the development process, focus on core functions. Developers should try to catch potential issues as they arise.
It is better to start with the bare minimum. A minimum viable product (MVP) is all that is needed to prove the viability of the blockchain model. Once the application is stable, the developer can choose to integrate more complex functionalities.