Progress Update (October 2022)
Hello, and welcome to Greymass’ monthly progress update. Spooky season has officially arrived, and you can safely bet that Halloween candy is the fuel of choice behind all the great product and project updates we have for you this month.
But before we jump into all the techy updates, just one quick announcement: Greymass is hiring! If one of the positions below appeals to you, you can get more details here.
Web SDK Developer
We’re looking for an experienced developer focused on modern web development to help us build the next generation of Antelope web software development kits (SDKs). You will be directly contributing to making Antelope a developer-friendly community that can foster the next generation of blockchain-based technologies, by creating tools that make it easy to build on Antelope-based chains.
Web API Developer
We’re looking for a developer with strong backend development skills and data modeling experience to help bring both Robo and Fuel to the next level. Fuel is a product that Greymass developed to be a turn-key solution for resource billing on Antelope chains, written in Node.js + MongoDB, while Robo is a scalable blockchain history provider written in Golang + BadgerDB. These projects are intended to provide value to users and developers on Antelope-based chains.
We’re looking for a product manager to lead the development of our main products, namely Anchor and Unicove. Anchor is our security-first wallet and authenticator for storing private keys, while Unicove is still in the early stages of becoming a flexible web wallet to help users manage their tokens and perform transactions. As a product manager, your focus would be helping these products to achieve their full potential as public goods for the Antelope community.
After a little while lurking in the shadows, Anchor Desktop is back in the spotlight this month with two updates to help make users’ lives easier.
In version 1.3.6, we resolved a few issues with Owner Key Certificate creation and restoration. Users should now more easily be able to back up their private keys with the certificate, which helps you to recover your wallet and keys in the event that they are ever lost.
We also provided fixes for private keys with invalid checksums, which should allow users to utilize their key to sign transactions even if the checksum is invalid. (We use checksums to check if keys are valid or not, but sometimes an invalid checksum gets in the way of signing transactions. We’ve fixed this so that the checksum won’t prevent you from importing keys in the future.)
In version 1.3.7, we improved the reliability of verifying Owner Key Certificates during restoration, so that users can more easily restore their wallets and accounts when using the Anchor-provided certificate.
We also changed the account creation process to provide redundancy, allowing Account Creation URLs to be used in situations where the clickable link for creating an account wasn’t working.
We are currently investigating an issue where Anchor iOS and the Chrome browser currently aren’t playing well together, due to a change made by either Apple or Google. We hope to provide a fix once we’ve located the cause of the issue, but we recommend that all Anchor iOS users set Safari as their default browser for the time being.
We’re nearing the final stages of updating the systems that Unicove uses to supply token balance information. Unicove will soon be integrated with cc32d9’s light-api for account balances, and the release of this update will fix known Telos balance issues for users.
We’re also currently in the process of migrating Unicove’s code to SvelteKit. While users will not notice a shift, this change sets the stage for us to develop more advanced features for Unicove in the future, such as token purchases.
We mentioned in our last update that Greymass had officially signed a contract with the Antelope Coalition to provide new software development kits (SDKs) to help developers build web apps within the ecosystem. Development of these SDKs is now underway, from both a branding and architecture standpoint.
SDK Branding Work
Since the SDKs’ ultimate goal is to make it easier for developers to create new web apps on Antelope chains, it will need to have a recognizable brand identity to help awareness of it spread by word of mouth — because a super-useful developer tool that developers don’t know about is actually not a useful tool at all.
In order to make sure that the completed SDKs have a strong brand identity and awareness in the community, we recently completed a workshop to define the brand’s guidelines, including:
- The brand’s mission
- The brand voice, including personality, tone, and intended audience
- Writing guidelines for marketing materials and developer documentation
We are now actively working on defining the brand’s visual identity, and exploring various options for the logo, brand colors, typography, and more. Once this branding work is complete and approved by the Coalition, we look forward to sharing it with the community.
SDK Architecture & Scaffolding Work
But brand alone does not an SDK make! SDK development has also necessitated the creation of a Github project, repositories, and other scaffolding necessary for an open-source project of this scale.
Architectural design for the software development kits is also well underway, with our team considering the best ways to help app developers quickly and easily create user-friendly apps. This means figuring out how to package easily-deployable code that will give developers access to both existing and yet-to-be-created resources, such as resource providers, protocols, APIs, and toolkits for core app functionality and user interfaces.
In order to conceptualize this architecture and what we want it to accomplish, our team has taken to the idea of “code golf”: how to get developers to their desired outcome in the fewest keystrokes possible, similar to the way that golfers try to go around the course in as few strokes as they can. In the future, we may call for community developers to help us test our solutions, to make sure that we’re developing SDKs that live up to this code golf mentality.
In Other News: Leap Upgrades & New Content
The Leap Upgrade
In the lead-up to the Leap Upgrade on September 21st, Greymass updated all of our servers to Leap 3.1. In practice, this means that every server and API node needed to be taken offline, rebuilt, and then brought back online strategically to prevent any service disruptions. Certain projects like Fuel, our History API, and the Snapshots servers required additional effort to get them fully updated and compatible with the new features that Leap 3.1 makes available to developers.
Since the successful network upgrade, we’ve also worked to update the code of Roborovski to support Leap 3.1, and added support for Leap 3.1 to version 0.6.3 of the @greymass/eosio version JS library and included fixes for invalid private key checksums in version 0.6.4.
New Podcast Episodes and Blog Posts
September was also a good month for content! Most notably, we’ve revived the Coffee with Greymass podcast from its lengthy hiatus. Our two September episodes cover the Leap Upgrade and how Greymass came to be, so be sure to give them a listen.
We’ll also be doing a Q&A episode soon, so if you have any questions, you can send them to us on Twitter @greymass or shoot us an email at email@example.com. So if you’ve ever wondered about our name, or why account creation costs $1.99, or if we have an AI robot working for us… now’s your chance to get some answers!
People who prefer reading over listening also get new content this month, with two guides that we recently published on Medium:
- Your Guide to the Leap Upgrade for Antelope (Previously EOSIO). If you’re still wondering what the Upgrade was, how it worked, and what it means for you, then our guide has you covered.
- Your Guide to Voting on EOS. Greymass has been dedicated to helping people vote on EOS since Day 1, and even now, many years later, we’re still passionate about helping people exercise their right to vote for block producers on the network. If you’re new to voting on EOS or need to explain BP voting to a friend, then this blog post is perfect for you.
For those who want to make sure that they never miss a Greymass update, you can follow us on Medium or sign up for our newsletter.
And that’s all we have for now. If you have any requests for ways we can improve Anchor or Unicove, or ideas for the upcoming SDKs, you can find us in Discord or at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you in November, folks!