How to Build Decentralized Applications (dApps)

Encora | July 07, 2023

A decentralized application (dApp) functions on the blockchain through a smart contract that distributes ownership and control across a peer-to-peer (P2P) network rather than a single server. There are three main components to a dApp - a smart contract, a front end, and a back end. 

This guide explains how to make decentralized apps, with particular attention to the strategies, infrastructure, and technology practices required for data-driven success. 

1. Define the Objectives and Requirements

The first step is to determine the purpose of the dApp. Identify the problems it must solve and the challenges it must address. List pertinent functionalities, requirements, and laws the dApp must follow. Attending this first step will define the scope and purpose of the dApp, which serve as the rubric and guide for future decisions. 

2. Determine the Target Audience

The next step is to clarify and define the dApp’s target audience. Determine how users will encounter the dApp, and these considerations will shape many of the features and functionalities. Understanding and considering the target audience is necessary to ensure the dApp aligns with the users, satisfies expectations, and performs well in the market. 

3. Choose a Platform

There are many blockchain platforms. Choosing the platform that fulfills the requirements, meets the objectives, and caters to the target audience is important. Some popular blockchain platforms include: 

  • Ethereum - Ethereum is the most well-known and widely used platform. It serves many purposes and is suitable for many different types of dApps. 
  • Solana - Solana is ideal for gaming and DeFi dApps that require high bandwidth, high capacity, and low latency. 
  • Avalanche - Avalanche is a secure and scalable platform that is suitable for a wide variety of dApps that require low latency and exceptional throughput. 

4. Test the App 

Testing should begin as early as possible in the dApp development lifecycle. Follow a thorough quality assurance (QA) process to test the front-end, back-end, and smart contracts as they are built and deployed. A testnet is required to test a smart contract. A testnet is a blockchain component used for testing without risk to the actual or main chain. This step is crucial because once a smart contract is deployed on the blockchain, it cannot be changed. Bugs must be identified before the smart contract is officially deployed. 

5. Make the Smart Contract 

Once the platform is selected, it is time to create the smart contract. The smart contract is the location for the decentralized logic, or code that describes the actions the dApp performs automatically. The actions could be transactions, algorithm computations, or other functions. The code is compiled into bytecode and then deployed onto the blockchain. 

6. Build the Front-End

The front end is the aspect of the dApp that the user experiences. The UI for a dApp built on blockchain is mainly similar to an app that connects to a central server excerpt for some essential qualities: 

  • The code for a dApp is public, so the UI must be transparent and easy to understand. 
  • The UI must align with the data on the blockchain because the data in a dApp cannot be changed once it exists on the blockchain. 
  • If the dApp facilitates transactions, it is essential to note that transactions executed on blockchain may not always happen instantly, so remember that users will need visual indicators that the transaction is in progress until it is verified on the chain. 

7. Build the Back-End

When it is time to build the back end of the dApp, begin by choosing a programming language like Python, Go, or Node.js. Write the necessary code and configure the back end to connect to the blockchain and interact with the smart contract. This process may involve managing user authentication, integrating with external APIs, managing databases, or navigating other types of business logic. 

8. Deploy

The penultimate step is to deploy the dApp to make it available to the public. They are fully deployed once the back-end and smart contract exists on the blockchain. The front end must be deployed on a web server or decentralized storage system interface so users can access and interact with the dApp. 

9. Maintain and Upgrade 

Conducting maintenance and upgrades is an ongoing process. While the smart contract will stay the same, the front end will need regular updates. Stay on top of security concerns and best practices, and upgrade the front end to keep pace with evolutions in the blockchain platform.

Build a dApp with Encora

Encora is committed to helping businesses in Latin America (LatAm) and beyond build dApps that drive growth and success. Encora’s expertise and experience in developing dApps empower any company’s journey toward data-driven excellence. Contact us to learn more about building a dApp.

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