Specify the origin for a call

In Add a pallet to the runtime, you added functions from pallet_nicks to the Substrate node template runtime.

The Nicks pallet allows blockchain users to pay a deposit to reserve a nickname for an account they control. It implements the following functions:

  • The set_name function to enable an account owner to set the name of his or her own account if the name is not already reserved.
  • The clear_name function to enable an account owner to remove the name associated with an account and return the deposit.
  • The kill_name function to forcibly remove an account name for another party without returning the deposit.
  • The force_name function to set an account name for another party without requiring a deposit.

This tutorial illustrates how you can call these functions using using different originating accounts and why calling the functions using different originating accounts matters.

Before you begin

Before you begin, verify the following:

  • You have configured your environment for Substrate development by installing Rust and the Rust toolchain.
  • You have the Substrate node template installed locally.
  • You have the Substrate front-end template installed locally.
  • You have completed the Add a pallet to the runtime tutorial and successfully compiled the runtime that includes the nicks pallet.
  • You are generally familiar with software development and using command-line interfaces.

Tutorial objectives

By completing this tutorial, you will accomplish the following objectives:

  • Call the set_name function using an account that has permission to execute the call.
  • Call the clear_name function using an account that has permission to execute the call.
  • Call the force_name function using an account that isn't allowed to execute the call.
  • Call the kill_name function using an origin that doesn't have administrative privileges.
  • Call the kill_name function using the Root origin account.
  • See how calling function using different origin accounts can lead to failed or successful results.

Identify the administrative account

As you saw in Add a pallet to the runtime, the Config trait for the nicks pallet declares several types. For this tutorial, the focus is on the ForceOrigin type. The ForceOrigin type is used to specify the account that can perform certain operations. For this pallet, the ForceOrigin type specifies that account that can set or remove a name for another account. Typically, only an account with administrative privileges—such as a root superuser account—can act on behalf of another account. In the case of the Nicks pallet, only the owner of an account or the Root account can set or remove a reserved nickname. You configured this Root account in the implementation (impl) block when you identified the FRAME System Root origin as the nicks pallet administrator. For example:

type ForceOrigin = frame_system::EnsureRoot<AccountId>;

In the development chain specification for the node template, the Sudo pallet is configured to use the Alice account as the FRAME system Root origin. As a result of this configuration, by default, only the Alice account can call the functions that require the ForceOrigin type.

If you attempt to call the kill_name or force_name with an account other than the Alice account, the call will fail to be executed.

Set the name for an account

To demonstrate how the origin for a call affects operations, let's set and try to forcibly remove the account name for another account. For this demonstration, be sure you have:

  • The node template running in development mode: ./target/release/node-template --dev
  • The frontend template running and connecting to the local node: yarn start
  • Your browser connected to the local web server: http://localhost:8000/
  • Change the active account in the front-end template from Alice to Bob.
  • With Extrinsic selected in the Pallet Interactor:

    • Select the nicks pallet.
    • Select the setName function.
    • Type a name for the account.
    • Click Signed to submit this transaction signed by Bob.

    Because Bob is the owner of this account, the transaction is successful. As the owner of the account, Bob can also execute the clearName function in a signed transaction to remove the nickname for the account.

  • With Extrinsic selected:

    • Select the nicks pallet.
    • Select the clearName function.
    • Click Signed to submit this transaction signed by Bob.

      Because Bob is the owner of this account, the transaction is successful. For Bob to set or remove the nickname for another account, he must call the forceName or killName function using the ForceOrigin that was configured for the pallet.

  • With Extrinsic selected:

    • Select the nicks pallet.
    • Select the forceName function.
    • Copy and paste the account address for Charlie as the target.
    • Type a name for the account.
    • Click Signed to submit this transaction signed by Bob.

    Because you signed this transaction using Bob's account, the function is dispatched using the Signed origin rather than the Root origin. In this case, the function call itself is successful. However, the name reservation can't be completed and a BadOrigin error is emitted as a result.

    BadOrigin error

    As you can see in the Events, the transaction resulted in a withdrawal from Bob's account as a fee for submitting the transaction, but there were no state changes because the Root origin didn't submit the transaction. The failure to change state also illustrates the verify-first-write-last principle for database reads and writes to ensure only successful operations are committed to disk.

Use the Root origin to dispatch a call

The Sudo pallet enables you to dispatch a call using the Root origin. In the Nick pallet, the forceName and killName functions must be called using the Root origin as specified by the ForceOrigin configuration. In the front-end template, you can access the Sudo pallet to dispatch a call using the Root origin by clicking SUDO.

For this demonstration, be sure you have:

  • The node template running in development mode: ./target/release/node-template --dev
  • The frontend template running and connecting to the local node: yarn start
  • Your browser connected to the local web server: http://localhost:8000/
  • Change the active account to Alice.

    As mentioned in Identify the administrative account, Alice is the account associated with the Root origin when running the chain in development mode.

  • With Extrinsic selected in the Pallet Interactor:

    • Select the nicks pallet.
    • Select the forceName function.
    • Copy and paste the account address for Charlie as the target.
    • Type a name for the account.
    • Click SUDO to submit this transaction using the Root origin.
    Use SUDO to submit a transaction
  • With Extrinsic selected:

    • Select the nicks pallet.
    • Select the killName function.
    • Copy and paste the account address for Bob as the target.
    • Click SUDO to submit this transaction using the Root origin.

    In this case, the Sudo pallet emits a Sudid event to inform network participants that the Root origin dispatched a call, but an error occurred.

    Submitting a killName function emitted an error

    This dispatch error includes two pieces of metadata:

    • an index number that indicates the pallet from which the error originated.
    • an error number that indicates the error emitted from that pallet's Error enum.

    The index number corresponds with the position of the pallet within the construct_runtime! macro, with the first pallet in the construct_runtime! macro having an index number of zero (0).

    In this example, the index is 6 (the seventh pallet) and the error is 2 (the third error).

    construct_runtime!(
    pub enum Runtime where
      Block = Block,
      NodeBlock = opaque::Block,
      UncheckedExtrinsic = UncheckedExtrinsic
    {
      System: frame_system,                                        // index 0
      RandomnessCollectiveFlip: pallet_randomness_collective_flip, // index 1
      Timestamp: pallet_timestamp,                                 // index 2
      Aura: pallet_aura,                                           // index 3
      Grandpa: pallet_grandpa,                                     // index 4
      Balances: pallet_balances,                                   // index 5
      Nicks: pallet_nicks,                                         // index 6
    }

    Regardless of the value of index, the error value 2 corresponds to the Unnamed error in the Nicks pallet. This is the error you would expect if Bob has not reserved a nickname or has previously cleared the name reservation.

    You can confirm that Alice can use SUDO to invoke the killName function to remove the nickname reserved for any account that has currently has a name reserved.

  • With Extrinsic selected:

    • Select the nicks pallet.
    • Select the killName function.
    • Copy and paste the account address for Charlie as the target.
    • Click SUDO to submit this transaction using the Root origin.
    Submitting a successfuk killName transaction

Where to go next

This tutorial introduced the use of Root and Signed origins to specify the account used to submit a transaction and demonstrated the results of using different originating accounts to call functions. There are several tutorials that can serve as next steps for learning more about Substrate development.

In addition to tutorials, you might want to explore the following resources to learn more.