2019 Summer Mentee Project Update: Developing Explorer Capabilities for Hyperledger Sawtooth

Blockchain itself is, first of all, a back-end technology. That produces a lack of transparency: one can’t see a list of transactions, blocks and signers’ public keys without use of CLI or some node’s API. Both ways usually only let you see raw data with no handy navigation. That’s why there’s often an explorer for certain blockchains.

My project was to develop a Hyperledger Sawtooth explorer. I wanted not only to allow users to explore the blockchain data provided by the API through a nice graphical interface, but also to add some extra features to enhance Hyperledger Sawtooth transparency even more.

To build this app, I used the stack I’m most familiar with: Express.js with MongoDB for the back end and Vue.js with Vuetify for the front end. The main algorithm behind my explorer’s work can be described as this:

1. On launch, back end requests the node of an address that was put to an environment variable. The request is to subscribe for standard Sawtooth events: state-delta and block-commit. In that request, it asks node to send back all events that occurred after the last one known to it. On first launch this means all events.

2. Back end parses all events and saves received data in Mongo.

3. Back end also provides an API for the front end to fetch this data from the database.

4. Front end fetches all the needed data and shows it in according places also providing navigation between transactions/blocks/signers an so on.

As for the general impact of my project, I really hope it would make Hyperledger Sawtooth more transparent both for those who already are in Hyperledger community and for those who are yet to consider choosing Sawtooth as a tool for their projects.

The most vivid impression I have after working on a project related to Hyperledger Sawtooth is the responsiveness of the community members. Some issues I encountered took literally days to solve until I asked a question in Sawtooth RocketChat. That’s my advice for other new members of the community – do not hesitate to ask. If you’re polite, you’ll most probably get a helpful answer.

To sum up, I’d like to say that I was really happy to take part in this internship. It opened the world of open source to me and allowed to really improve as a developer. For that I’d like to thank Hyperledger and my mentors Andrew Backer and Ricardo Garcia from a company called ScanTrust. In short, they provide consumer-oriented businesses with smart blockchain-secure QR codes to stick on every selling piece to enable buyers to see whether this single item was produced, where it’s said to be or it is a counterfeit. If you are a business and looking for such kind of software, go check them out.

Thanks for reading! Find out more about my project here.

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