Progress Update (July 2022)
Welcome back! Since our last update in May, we’ve been working hard at Greymass to improve both our products (with a particular focus on Anchor, this time around) and the scalability of our team. Scalability has been a particular theme of ours for the last few months because w̶e̶ ̶t̶r̶i̶e̶d̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶c̶l̶o̶n̶e̶ ̶o̶u̶r̶s̶e̶l̶v̶e̶s̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶f̶a̶i̶l̶e̶d̶ there are so many ways that we want to contribute to the EOSIO community, but we have only a finite amount of time and manpower between our team members.
One of the biggest ways we’re tackling this issue is by continuing to develop Software Development Kits (SDKs) that will make work for our developers less time- and labor-intensive. We’re particularly excited about this approach because open-source SDKs not only benefit us, but all developers in the community. One SDK we completed and will be talking about in more detail in the Unicove section of this update is for account creation, and in the EOSIO Web Client SDK Proposal section we’ll be discussing an ambitious SDK project that will help bring more developers into the EOSIO ecosystem.
We’re also taking other approaches to increasing our team’s bandwidth, such as improving our Support Portal so that users get the help they need while simultaneously freeing up our developers’ and other team members’ time to work on other projects.
And finally, we’re still hiring. If you’re an open-source developer and you’re interested in joining a small team environment, then scroll to the bottom — we have an opportunity for you!
So without further ado, let’s take a closer look at what we’ve accomplished in the last six weeks:
We are currently in the process of rolling out a new version of Anchor for Android 0.40.2 to Play Store users. In addition to bug fixes, this update includes:
- Improvements to the account creation flow, so that users are given a simple way to use prepaid account creation codes. We also improved error handling, so that users get clear error codes if something goes wrong during account creation.
- A new custom-made keychain library that enhances user security and usability. One feature of this is that users with devices that don’t allow for biometrics (such as fingerprints or face scans) can now use their PIN to sign transactions.
We’re about to release a new version of Anchor for iOS 1.3.0 in the App Store. In addition to bug fixes, this update includes:
- Improvements to the link that users rely on to create their account at the end of the account creation process. Usually, users can click this link without issues. But we’ve now introduced a failsafe where users who encounter problems can manually enter their creation code in two places, so that they have more ways to finish creating their account.
- A help menu that lets users email Greymass Support directly, or proceed to the EOS forums. When we released this feature to Android users a few months ago, we found that it helped them find answers to their questions more quickly and have a more positive experience within the app. We’re excited to bring this to iOS users now as well.
We’re happy to announce that an issue for Anchor desktop users who rely on Ledger devices to store their private keys is now resolved. It was brought to our attention late last year that some Ledger users were having trouble with actions like adding or changing their private keys within the Anchor desktop wallet, due to a Ledger update that was incompatible with Anchor.
We’ve been in ongoing communication with the Ledger team to find a fix for this problem, and users should now be able to update their private key permissions in Anchor without any issues if they update to Ledger firmware 2.0.2 and install version 1.4.3 of the EOS app via Ledger Live. Many thanks to the Ledger team for working with us to resolve this!
In our last update, we mentioned that we were working on an SDK to improve account creation across all platforms. We’ve since finished development and integrated the new account creation flow into Unicove, so that new users can easily create accounts within a popup window after choosing + Create new account on the homepage.
While this operates similarly to our EOSIO Account Creator, it removes friction by allowing users to stay on the Unicove homepage while creating an account in the popup window. If you would like to incorporate this account creation flow into your own projects, you can see how we integrated it into Unicove here, and access the SDK here.
We’re particularly proud of this accomplishment because Aaron ran on the idea of expanding account creation to make it more accessible to all applications in the last Eden election. The fact that we were able to turn this idea into reality by the end of his term as an Eden Chief Delegate is something to celebrate, and we hope that the whole EOSIO community will find it useful. We would also like to congratulate the new generation of Chief Delegates who were elected on July 9th!
In addition to updating our products, we’ve continued to work on expanding our Support Portal, so that users feel more confident when they’re using Anchor. Recently released guides include account creation, import, and recovery instructions for all three versions of Anchor. You can check them out here.
We’ve also been developing our QA standards and practices for both Anchor and Unicove, in order to minimize bugs and make sure that users have a smooth experience with our products. To that end, we’ve been putting time into building out consistent testing across all platforms by:
- Documenting procedures to follow during the testing process.
- Creating a standardized QA test form to allow for external testing. (If you’d like to help us test our products in the future, be on the lookout for more information soon.)
- Designing QA workflows so that user-reported issues are replicated, reported, and resolved as quickly as possible.
- Investigating expanded virtual testing for the Android platform, so that all Android users have a flawless experience regardless of the device they have.
EOSIO Web Client SDK Proposal
As a followup to our work on the Wallet+ Blue Paper, we recently submitted a proposal in response to the EOSIO Web Client SDK Request For Proposal that was put out by the EOSIO+ Coalition.
If our proposal is accepted, then we will soon start developing a series of SDKs that will give developers a series of tools and turnkey solutions to simplify the process of building dApps on EOSIO-based chains. This will not only bring new developers and products into the ecosystem, but will also help users to have a simpler and more enjoyable experience when using new dApps. This is because the proposed SDKs will improve the user experience, reduce onboarding friction, and automate away most of the complexities of using EOSIO-based applications (like resource management, for example).
For those who would like the details of what the SDKs will contain, the scope of the project is very similar to what was laid out in Section IV of the Wallet+ Blue Paper. Some of the highlights include:
- An EOSIO Starter Kit that will allow any developer to easily build and integrate a web application with the EOSIO technology stack.
- An EOSIO Client Library that will handle the responsibilities of data access, wallet integration, user session management, transaction processing, and serve as a base user interface for common needs. We would build this in a modular fashion, so that it would be capable of meeting the needs of any EOSIO-based chain.
- An EOSIO Core Library that will be responsible for primitive data types, standard API access, transaction serialization, and other cryptographic operations.
- The development of a recognizable brand identity and website for the SDKs, to raise awareness about the resources and help new developers get started on creating applications on EOSIO.
If anyone is interested in working on the SDKs alongside us, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Growing the Team
As we mentioned in the intro, we’ve been focusing on ways that we can work more efficiently and provide greater value to the EOSIO community. To that end, we’ve recently hired two new team members: Tony Licavoli and Mara McLean.
Tony has over a decade of engineering experience, with a focus on DevOps and systems administration. He’s an active member of the EOS Community Discord and Telegram channels, so some of you may be familiar with him already! All the excellent updates to our support center and QA standards are his doing, and we can’t wait to see the other ways that he’ll raise the standards of Greymass’s services in the future.
Our other new team member, Mara, is a digital marketer with a background in SaaS startups. She joins us from Revenue.io, where she worked as their Content Marketing Manager. She is currently spearheading a project to refresh the Greymass website, in addition to fulfilling various content and marketing duties. (In fact, she’s the one writing this Progress Update. Hi!)
If you’re interested in joining the Greymass team, we’re currently on the lookout for developers who have experience with any of the following:
A minimum of 3–5 years of experience and a history of contributing to open source projects is preferred, but we will look holistically at the portfolio of anyone who applies. Our developers work with a high degree of independence and develop strong problem solving skills while reverse-engineering solutions and working on the cutting edge of distributed ledger technology. If that sounds appealing to you, reach out to email@example.com and we’d love to chat.