Developer tools

Because you are going to be writing code in Rust, be sure your development environment has the appropriate extensions and plug-ins for working with Rust. As you begin working with the Substrate node template, you'll see that it includes a core set of features and tools specifically designed for runtime development. However, there are also many other specialized tools available that you can install to complement and extend your development environment or to handle specific tasks.

A few of the tools you might find useful as you start developing a Substrate-based blockchain include the following:

  • Polkadot-JS API

    The Polkadot-JS API provides a library of methods that enable you to query and interact with any Substrate-based chain using JavaScript. You can add the @polkadot/apipackage to any JavaScript or TypeScript working environment.

    Most of the interfaces exposed by the API are generated dynamically by connecting to a running node. Because the configuration of the node determines which interfaces are exposed, you can use the API to work with customized chains that implement different features. To work with the API, you must identify the URL for the chain to connect to. After connecting to a node for the chain, the API collects information about the chain state and its features, then populates the API with methods based on the information collected about that specific chain.

  • Front-end template The Substrate front-end template provides a predefined front-end application that you can use to connect to a Substrate node back-end with minimal configuration. The template enables you to start experimenting with the basic features of a Substrate node without building your own custom user interface. The template is built using the Create React App starter project and the Polkadot-JS API.
  • Submit transactions command-line interface

    The subxt-cli is a command-line program you can use to download complete configuration information—the metadata—for a Substrate-based chain by connecting to a running node. Similar to the Polkadot-JS API, the metadata you can download with the subxt-cli program exposes information about a Substrate chain that enables you to interact with that chain. You can also use the subxt-cli program to expose information about the chain in a human-readable format.

  • sidecar

    The @substrate/api-sidecar package is a RESTful service that you can use to connect to and interact with Substrate nodes that are built using the FRAME developer framework. For information about the endpoints that the service supports, see Substrate API Sidecar.

You might also want to explore resources and community projects listed in Awesome Substrate.

For an overview of some of the most commonly-used tools, see command-line tools.

Where to go next