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Getting Started on Algorand

It’s all about the tools! Algorand has introduced so many new developer tools over the past year that we decided to provide a recap, just in case you missed anything! The community has also been hard at work providing many new tools as well. Whether you are a new or experienced Algorand developer, here is a definitive list that every Algorand developer should be aware of. Information is on the new developer portal, nodes, node configuration, networks, debugging Algorand code, creating accounts, SDKs, Explorers and dispensers.

When starting development with any blockchain, where to begin can be a significant issue. The technology can seem overwhelming and the use cases vary, complicating the initial phases for developers interested in building an application. In this article, we are going to cover some of the basics of where to start, what tutorials are available, options for setting up your development environment, and how you can be rewarded for developing things on the Algorand blockchain.

Start Building

The Developer Portal provides the primary documentation for getting started with Algorand. The documentation is located under the docs menu item and provides details on all of Algorand’s features, install guides, consensus, reference documentation, and SDK installation. In addition, the documentation contains a menu item directed at developers just getting started, which is located under start building. This three-step guide walks developers through setting up your environment, connecting to an Algorand node, and submitting a transaction to the network.

Getting Started

Figure 1 - Start Building is as easy as 1-2-3, for Workspace Setup, Connect a Node, and Your First Transaction.

Features

Once you have these basics you can move on to the features guides that cover in detail how to make use of all the Algorand capabilities. These guides cover things like, creating accounts, building tokenized assets, submitting grouped or atomic transfers, and building smart contracts. Each of these guides also offers code samples in all of the SDKs (Python, JavaScript, Java, and Go).

Document Samples

Figure 2 - Discover all that is possible on the Algorand Developer Portal.

Tutorials, Articles and Solutions

The Developer Portal also contains Articles, Tutorials, and Solutions. The articles section covers recent developments and relevant technical content in article format. The Solutions segment of the portal contains write-ups of how various applications have been built using Algorand. The Tutorials section contains step-by-step guides that walk developers through commonly required functionality like building an Algorand Asset, setting up a private network, creating an account on TestNet, and much more. The tutorial section can be very helpful if you are just getting started. For example, once you have installed one of the Algorand SDKs, you may be interested in looking through the tutorial for setting up VS Code to debug an Algorand sample.

Algorand provides three networks for building, testing, and deploying your applications. These networks are BetaNet which contains features that are still under development, TestNet which is the primary network for developers to use to test their applications, and MainNet which is Algorands primary network for deployed applications. While BetaNet contains the latest features, TestNet and MainNet use the same binaries. In addition to these three networks, you can also create your own private network for local testing. Using a private network is a great way to begin your development and setting one up is fairly easy. Take a look at these tutorials.

Once you are ready to connect to one of the three Algorand Networks you will need to make a decision on how you want to connect. You have several options available. You can use a third-party service like PureStake, use the sandbox docker install, or install your own node. The following articles and tutorials will help you to understand what is involved in each of these methods.

Once you have connected to a node using one of these methods you can then begin creating accounts, transactions, assets, and more. The start building section of the portal covers creating your first transaction and how to use the Algorand dispensers on TestNet and BetaNet to add funds to a specific account. If you are using PureStake you may also be interested in these tutorials.

Standalone Accounts are used in many of the tutorials. These tutorials create accounts using the SDKs.

You can use either of the community block explorers to view the finalized transactions and related block information. Dispensers are available for both TestNet and BetaNet.

Tutorials, Articles and Solutions samples

Figure 3 - Tutorials have Step by Step instructions and completed code.

Contribute and Earn Rewards

At this point, you will be familiar enough with the Algorand blockchain to step into some of the more advanced features, like Atomic Transfers, Assets, and Smart Contracts which are documented in the portal. Many tutorials are also available for these features and we will continue to highlight tutorials in the future that will help you understand more of the advanced Algorand features.

As covered in our last post there are many ways you can also earn rewards by submitting your applications to the 250M Algo Grants program or the Development Awards Program. Additionally, you can help other developers learn Algorand and earn rewards for doing it by being part of the Developer Ambassador Rewards Program. We are very excited about these programs and hope that you will participate in them.

April 29, 2020