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5 Trends Impacting the Blockchain Developer Experience

In this article we explore 5 trends impacting the developer-experience (or DX) when it comes to building blockchain-based solutions. Specifically, applications and services that leverage a blockchain or distributed ledger or as part of their overall architecture.

This is, of course, is by no means a definitive list. As with everything in the industry, change is happening fast and as such, this is more of a selection of trends that are on the team’s radar. If there’s anything we’ve missed or should know about, we’d love to hear from you (or speak in person at TruffleCon 2019).

#1 Development tooling release velocity is on fire

Obviously we’re a little biased, but in this case, we’re talking about tools and utilities that are not chocolate-themed. It’s literally every day we collectively come across something new that makes our lives as developers (or users, auditors, admins, etc) easier.

This is a big deal for the long-term success of the wider ecosystem because happy and productive developers obviously strongly correlates with increased experimentation, the volume of shipped products and services, and expedites the process of on-boarding new people (developers or otherwise) into the blockchain space.

At Truffle, we’re also pushing harder than ever to make the DX as sweet as possible. Like, raspberry truffle sweet. This includes new features and enhancements to the existing suite (such as integration with Hyperledger Fabric's chaincode EVM), as well as the upcoming Truffle DB and Truffle Teams.

#2 Managed Blockchain Services are here

Managed Blockchain Services (MBS) are evolving rapidly. In the first half of 2019 alone we’ve seen the launch of new services from heavyweights such as Microsoft and Amazon, and players such as Kaleido evolving their stack with dizzying speed.

These services, of course, do all the heavy lifting when it comes to spinning up private or consortium networks, something that was historically cumbersome from a DevOps perspective. Excitingly, the maturation of these services is coinciding with an increased understanding of the use-cases for permissioned ledgers and accordingly, we’re seeing major projects and initiatives begin to roll out.

The managed nature of these services has allowed the teams behind them to really focus on streamlining the developer experience Which leads us to the next trend...

#3 We’re seeing glimpses of the DX of the future

In the words of William Gibson: “The future is already here - it's just not very evenly distributed” and with the blockchain DX it’s no different.

Our favorite example of a DX from the future is Kaleido’s Marketplace where within a few clicks you can add a token swap service, store data on IPFS, or pin a state proof to a public network.

Example A

It’s almost too easy. Seriously though, this evolution of developer experiences paves the way for how “delightful” things might one-day be when building equivalent services for public networks.

#4 Major corporations are pushing some seriously awesome open-source software

While veteran projects like OpenZeppelin continue to blossom, one interesting trend we’ve seen is larger organizations’ increasing embrace of open-source with the recent release of some exciting new projects.

Some great examples of this include Ernst & Young’s Nightfall, Samsung’s Blockchain SDK, Microsoft’s Confidential Consortium Framework, and the continued evolution of the JPMorgan-backed Quorum. We’re equally pumped by the launch of Cloudflare’s Ethereum gateway too!

It’s exciting to see companies of all shapes and sizes embracing the paradigm in ways that we can all benefit.

#5 Industries are becoming increasingly programmable, led by DeFi

While companies like Stripe have turned programming against “centralized” finance into an art form, they are inherently bound by the rules and regulations imposed by the industry itself. Decentralized Finance (or DeFi) on the other hand has no such intrinsic limitations. Want to open a Collateralized Debt Position? MakerDAO has a JavaScript library for that. DeFi is only limited by the imagination (and programming ability) of individual developers.

We’re rapidly seeing the decentralized equivalent of swaths of traditional financial services emerge, all of which are open and programmable in ways that the existing industry can only dream of.

And of course it goes far beyond finance. Everything from supply chains to in-game assets are steadily turning Ethereum into the “global platform for every asset”.

It’s never been a better time to building on Ethereum. From tooling to infrastructure to a world-class open-source ecosystem, the developer-experience continues to blossom.