In this article, we are going to discuss the life cycle of smart contract development, what steps should be taken to develop and deploy secure smart contracts.The potential ability of smart contracts has gone beyond simple asset transfer to holding agreement between two or multiple parties at large scale this reduce the role of lawyers, as smart contracts gain attraction in areas from adjudicating traditional legal contracts to producing customisable smart contract templates that’s why smart contract security is necessary.
What is a Life cycle of smart contract development?
Life Cycle of smart contract development is a process that takes place to securely develop and deploy smart contracts on the blockchain.
- Understand the use-case of a smart contract.
- Create a basic architecture of smart contracts interaction or flowchart how functions will interact with each other.
- Start development using any IDE or development tools like Truffle, remix with proper documentation of each and every function.
- Once the development is completed start testing smart contracts on test-net or private blockchain. (this is called manual testing).
- Record all the transaction while testing on test-net, analyze results of all transactions with an actual use case or business logic of smart contract.
- Unit testing will be the next step in smart contract development life cycle, there are multiple frameworks for the unit and integration testing that can be used to test smart contract. Example: Truffle framework.
- Once unit testing is done using the truffle framework on ganache, smart contract author should go for 3rd party Audit of smart contract.
- Last but not least, bug bounty programs are also very efficient to secure smart contracts. Communities like 0x protocol are offering $100,000 in bounty programs.
Understand the Use case :-
Use case of smart contracts should be clear before development is started, a developer should gather all the information of smart contracts business logic, also all the 3rd party libraries that developer will use while developing a smart contract.
Architecture design of the smart contract :
A basic architecture depicts the business logic of a smart contract. Architecture design in the initial phase help developers to follow the exact path during the development phase.
Sample architecture diagram to show how the smart contract work-
In this phase actual development is started, a developer can use any Code editor or IDE to develop a smart contract, also follow best practices while developing smart contracts, link to follow best practices.
Available IDE: Remix Ethereum
In this phase smart contract should be tested well on test-net (Rinkeby/Ropsten), all the transaction and state changes should be recorded to verify that smart contract’s behavior is same that intend to be.
Remix.ethereum is the best IDE to manually test smart contracts use matamask to send transactions to the blockchain.
Also, remix.ethereum will help to remove all the syntax error and also you can debug all your transactions using debugger of remix IDE.
Sample transaction hash record in order to verify transaction and event logs
You can check out how to debug smart contract transaction using remix in our recent blogs.
Unit testing can be done using truffle framework, a developer should write test cases for all the functions of smart contract, test cases should reflect correct the business logic of smart contract.you can see the sample truffle unit test result in the below picture.
A sample result of unit testing through Truffle framework
Third party security audit:
All the Smart contracts ready for production should be audited before deploying on the main net because even though business logic of smart contracts is tested on test-net several times, a smart contract cannot be declared as secured or bug-free contract, a smart contract may contain some logic errors that can be identified by the audit.
You can also check out our blog on audit checklist, how an audit can be helpful to secure smart contracts and pull you out from becoming a next victim of attackers.
Bug bounty programs are very useful in identifying bugs in smart contract, as your smart contract will come under the eye of multiple experienced auditors or developers to find the loopholes in smart contract, even after two successful 3rd party audits, 0x protocol project has also conducted a bounty program in order to find the potential bug in smart contract.
QuillHash bug bounty Program
All the recognized security tools must be used on smart contracts in order to get the confirmation of secure code before deploying on main-net, also ask your auditor to provide you results of all the security tools listed below.
Code coverage is a special tool that evaluates how efficient your test cases, Solidity-coverage is used to know how much your test cases are penetrating your smart contract functions. by this you will be able to know that your unit test cases have touched all of your functions and business logic is validated in unit testing.
Sample coverage report
Up-gradable Smart contracts are also considered as a part of a life cycle of a smart contract, you can check out about up-gradable smart contracts in below link.
Some security and visualizing tools :
Static and Dynamic Analysis:
Linters improve the code quality
Thanks for reading. Hopefully this guide has been useful to you and will help you to understand the develop the smart contracts on Ethereum blockchain and Also do check out our earlier blog posts.
At QuillHash, we understand the Ethereum blockchain and have a team of developers who can develop blockchain applications like smart contracts, dApp, DeFi, DEX on the top of Ethereum blockchain.
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