Architecture & DesignIt’s Time for Developers to Gain Blockchain Experience

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Block Chain Development

A battle for the hearts and minds of developers is heating up once again as the rival architectures of building applications on blockchain-based platforms continues to evolve.

There are two basic types of platforms for building decentralized applications that create an immutable record of a transaction. The most widely employed thus far rely on smart contracts that are deployed on a shared platform. The other approach relies on a platform that runs blockchain applications in isolation from one another.

The former approach tends to be easier to build. This is because they are essentially stored on a blockchain platform in such a way as to be automatically executed when predetermined terms and conditions are met. However, because they run on a shared platform, the performance of smart contract applications can be adversely affected by the volume of transactions being simultaneously processed.

The latter approach makes it more challenging to build applications using tools written in JavaScript, Go, or Rust, but they typically scale higher. Lisk, for example, just updated the protocol it employs to enable developers to build and deploy JavaScript applications on its namesake platform that can now process up to 1 million transactions per day, according to Lisk CEO Max Kordek. “The goal is to get to a 6.5 million limit per day,” he says.

Developers, however, will still need to invoke interoperability capabilities to integrate applications running on the same platform, adds Kordek.

Developers should expect to find themselves soon building applications that will run across a range of blockchain platforms depending on the use case and preference of the organization that employs them. There are plenty of organizations that are already employing platforms from IBM and SAP to create smart contract applications. However, more sophisticated applications will naturally require a more robust platform.

Development teams will also need to master the various tokens that are employed to conduct transactions, not all of which are viewed as legitimate legal tender by every country around the world. In some cases, organizations are employing their own tokens to conduct transactions among trusted partners and suppliers that are then converted into local currency when a transaction is completed.

Regardless of how transactions are completed, it’s clear blockchain platforms are on the cusp of mainstream adoption. The important thing to remember is that while these platforms employ technologies originally created for digital currencies, their use cases now span everything from supply chain applications to ensuring that training certificates and, one day soon, vaccination cards are legitimate. So naturally, developers that have experience building these types of applications will soon find themselves in high demand.

In the meantime, savvy developers would be well-advised to at the very least start experimenting with the various types of platforms that can be employed to build these applications. It’s still early days, so each platform has its own nuances that need to be mastered, especially as the number of nodes being added to a distributed blockchain application starts to have an impact on latency. No matter what type of platform is employed to build an application, the laws of physics are never completely suspended. However, they can always be bent to one degree or another depending on how well any given platform is capable of when required to either scale up or out on-demand as required.

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