Marc Garreau
Aug 1 · 4 min read

TL;DR — Version 1.5.0 is a major overhaul from the previous release, introducing a new user interface and several new features, including IPFS support, an RPC testing app, and support for Geth 1.9.0 features (e.g. GraphQL, Görli).

Grid?

Grid is still a relatively new project, so a quick primer: Ethereum Grid is a desktop application that allows users to discover, download, configure, and use Ethereum tools. Generally, these tools are only available to a technical audience via command line interfaces, but Grid provides a consistent user interface to explore and hack with various clients and developer tools.

Up until this version, we’ve labeled Grid releases as alpha software. Grid is still in the “early days,” but we’re calling this release a graduation to beta. For additional context on Grid, see this introductory post.

What’s new?

We’re in your base, hangin’ with your tray icons.

Nano

Early testers of Grid confirmed our suspicion that the app should primarily live in the background. We’ve introduced some new architecture and UI elements to realize that vision — which we refer to as “Nano.”

Nano is accessible via an Ethereum logo in your menu bar. Within Nano, you can install and run a plugin with one click. When you’re ready to customize the settings or view the logs of the plugin, just click on its name to open the more full-featured Grid UI.

Included in this new UI is a dark color theme across all windows in the app.

Greater Plugin Customization

As an example, Geth has over 100 unique flags available to customize your node. We picked out just a few of the most frequently used settings to display in Grid UI, but now you can view a preview of the flags that will be executed with the binary and make arbitrary edits to them.

Choose from common settings or set your own flags.

GraphQL Network Explorer

Speaking of Geth, version 1.9.0 shipped with GraphQL support, enabling users to query for block data with much greater ease. We’ve added support for using this exciting tool within Grid.

Run Geth, then launch the GraphiQL playground from the Apps tab.

IPFS Support

An IPFS plugin and app has been added to Grid. IPFS (InterPlanetary File Storage) is a decentralized storage solution and is the first Grid plugin we’re including that isn’t an Ethereum client. While IPFS already has a dedicated desktop client, we see value in having access to the tool within one developer playground.

With a few clicks, run an IPFS node and open the node explorer.

RPC Tester App

One great way to learn about Ethereum nodes is to play with their APIs. We’ve added a sandbox app for doing just that. It’s a simple, but powerful starting point and we’d love to hear what improvements would be useful for you.

Display Plugin Code and Metadata

Grid can verify plugin binaries and apps for authenticity with ethpkg, but we now make it easier for you to exercise caution by displaying the plugin code and metadata within the UI.

A “Details” tab displays metadata for plugins.

Onward

Thanks for following along! We’re hard at work making existing features more robust and exploring new integrations (e.g. Clef, Prysm).

We’re hungry for user feedback and are still discovering use cases for Grid as we expand its functionality. If you give it a spin, please reach out, especially if its close to being exactly what you need, but not quite there.

Are you a developer interested in using a particular tool within Grid? Are you a project maintainer interested in an integration within Grid? We want to hear from you via GitHub issue (public) or this form (private).

And, of course, the download link.

Ethereum Grid

Ethereum tooling made super-easy

Marc Garreau

Written by

Author of Redux in Action: http://bit.ly/redux-in-action. UX developer at the Ethereum Foundation.

Ethereum Grid

Ethereum tooling made super-easy

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