Embark is Awesome!

Andrej
Andrej
Oct 23 · 6 min read

Hi, I’m Andrej and I will show why Embark is my favorite framework in Dapp development so far.

According to official documentation:

Embark is a platform that enables easy development and deployment of decentralized applications.


Installation

In order to make Embark work on our computer, we need to have some tools installed first.

Node

Please install Node.js in version 8.11.3 LTS or higher.

Version check:

npm --version

IPFS (Optional)

IPFS is decentralized storage and it is used in blockchain development because Ethereum blockchain is made for recording transactions, not storing data. Checkout IPFS’ installation guide to learn how to install IPFS on our local machine.

Version check:

ipfs --version

Ethereum Node (Optional)

Embark can spin up an Ethereum node for us. My recommendation for running a real node is geth. Check out the installation guide for your platform. Embark already comes with Ganache CLI, a blockchain node emulator, which is accessible via Embark’s simulator command.

Version check:

geth version

Embark

Installation command:

npm -g install embark

Version check:

embark --version

Creating Embark Apps

You can find Full Code for demo example here.

Creating a new app

embark new <DappName>

New React.js app with blockchain tools will be created.

Creating apps from templates

If you prefer working with typescript run this command:

embark new <DappName> --template typescript

If you are more comfortable working with Vue.js run this command:

embark new <DappName> --template embark-framework/embark-vue-template

If you prefer Vyper over Solidity in Smart Contract development use this command:

embark new <DappName> --template embark-framework/embark-vyper-template

And so on… By far you already can see how embark is powerful. Here is the list of all templates at the moment.

Creating “contracts-only” apps

The following command will create a project with all Embark services disabled except the blockchain service.

embark new <DappName> --contracts-only

One doesn’t have to manually migrate smart contract to Ethereum blockchain like when one works with Truffle. Embark does that work for us “on save”.


Running Apps

Clone demo example from GitHub. After that run this command:

embark run

By default, this will make Embark do a couple of things:

  • It initializes Embark
  • It starts the dashboard
  • It loads plugins
  • It spins up a blockchain and IPFS client, a web server and other necessary services
  • It compiles and deploys your app
  • It monitors running processes and recompiles and redeploys your app if needed
  • It starts Cockpit

You will see CLI Dashboard and web app on localhost:8000.

This app contains 4 tabs for 4 different services that Embark provides:

Embark spins up the dashboard view automatically for us, whenever we run embark run inside an Embark project. Here’s what it looks like:

When you type token command into CLI Dashboard it will generate token for Cockpit on localhost:55555

Cockpit looks like this:

On Dashboard tab one can see all services available and output of CLI Dashboard or Embark’s Blockchain simulator (which is actually Ganache CLI). Cockpit comes with Dark Mode also.

Under Deployment tab one can see all smart contracts currently deployed to blockchain.

Under Explorer tab one can see all info about Accounts on blockchain net one use (local geth node, some testnet like Ropsten, Rinkeby, etc. or Ethereum Main Net), Blocks mined, Transaction recorded, Contracts deployed, etc. This Explorer tab is like Etherscan.

Under editor tab one can see IDE for contract creation with Interact console and Debugger. It is similar to Remix IDE or Chain IDE. My recommendation for development however is Remix IDE because it is the most powerful at the moment and has the best features and additional plugins, in my opinion.

Under Utils tab one can see various useful utilities like ETH Converter, P2P Messaging, Ethereum Name Service, Digitally Sign Transactions, and Transaction Decoder.


Running an app without the dashboard

If we don’t need the dashboard, we can prevent Embark from starting it by using

embark run --nodashboard

Starting a blockchain separately

Sometimes we want to spin blockchain node first before running app itself.

embark blockchain

Using the blockchain simulator

Another feature of Embark is to start a simulated blockchain. This can be useful for testing purposes as there’s no need to wait for transactions to be mined. You might have heard of Ganache CLI, which is a great project that implements such a simulated blockchain.

embark simulator

Testing Smart Contracts

Embark comes with specific testing APIs. Any JavaScript file within test/is considered a spec file and will be executed by Embark as such. Embark uses Mocha testing framework as a test runner behind the scenes.

Running tests

Once we’ve written our tests, we can execute them using Embark’s test command:

embark test

Embark allows you to generate a coverage report for your Solidity Smart Contracts by passing the --coverage option on the embark test command.

embark test --coverage

When selecting a file, a more detailed report is produced. Here’s what it looks like:

Graph

Another interesting Embark CLI command is

embark graph

It generates documentation based on the smart contracts configured.


Conclusion 🚀

Embark is very powerful framework and very well documented.

Full Code for demo example can be found here.

I’m Andrej and if you find this article useful 👏🏻

Andrej

Written by

Andrej

♎️ Libra Programming Course is coming soon... 🚀

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