Spectrum Pre-Alpha Demo — New Year Eve Special

Chris Hitchcott (Digix Core Dev)

Happy holidays everyone!
This week I’ve been completing the additional functionality for the alpha demo of Spectrum promised last week. We’re pleased to announce a demo of spectrum is available — both as a video and live demo website.

For a visual step-by-step run through of the current functionality, please check out this video below.

Please be aware that the current implementation is most certainly in the “MVP Technical Demo” state and does in no way reflect the final UX or feature set — it does showcase the bare bones core functionality of Spectrum, including multiple accounts, multiple networks, persistent sessions, transaction signing, and a rudimentary but functional token transfer Dapplet. There may be yet-to-be-descovered bugs and the ‘optimised network communication’ middleware hasn’t been implemented yet. We’re also aware of an issue with localStorage when using multiple tabs, which will be addressed before the next release.

Or, you can have a play yourself at the following URL (http://spectrum-alpha.digixdev.com/). As always, with pre-release software, assume ZERO security at the moment — there are no guarantees about not losing funds sent to Spectrum accounts! Additionally, the Ethereum nodes are currently set by default to Infura, and there are no guarantees they will remain online (we are currently discussing long term support); you can always configure Spectrum to use an alternative.

Since last week’s announcement, a couple of additional opportunities have identified that we think will add to the success of the project.

Even better mobile support

Spectrum Mobile Support

A relatively little-known feature of both iOS Safari and Android Chrome is the ability to add web-apps to the home screen and have them act like native applications and have them run even without an internet connection. Spectrum will implement these features to give an even better user experience for mobile users who are used to using apps rather than traditional websites. We’re also adding QR-code links and scanning to our feature list to enable super-easy payments and generic dapplet transaction signing.

Community Organizing
After announcing Spectrum last week a number of parties were interested in helping contribute in various ways including dapplet porting and contributing to the core codebase. As such, the coming sprint will be focused on creating a community-orientated repository including project management tools, dapplet creation tutorials, documentation and of course a bit of refactoring to make the source code ready for public use.
We’ve decided to set this up before the 1.0 release to encourage early developer adoption. If you are interested in contributing to Spectrum, please stand by for future announcement, and if you have previously reached out, I’ll be in touch with more details soon.

Webpack is freaking awesome
One thing that wasn’t noticed until I got to the bundling stage of deploying the demo was how fantastic a choice Webpack was as the build pipeline for this project.

Thanks to Webpack’s aggressive merging and ES6 tree-shaking functionality, we present to you spectrum in a minuscule 606KB gzipped bundle (which, considering it includes all the crypto libraries is impressive).

606KB bundle

Beyond this ‘default’ config, there are even more opportunities to fine-tune Webpack to achieve insanely small (possible <100KB initial payload, with feature-specific lazy-loading) load times for the best possible UX. I am now officially a Webpack zealot; if you are ever considering building a web application, give it a try!

2017: The Year of Metropolis
With an increasing number of higher-level applications coming out in 2017 we’re, really excited to be contributing to the Metropolis vision of Ethereum in the coming year. I wish all our readers a happy new years celebration and prosperous 2017. We at Digix are certainly looking forward to it!