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Jun 27, 22  |  ibrahim imran

How to Interact with a Smart Contract: Complete Overview

The first-class inhabitants of the Ethereum blockchain, smart contracts play a crucial role in the growth of Ethereum. An overview of the functionality of smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain will be provided in this guide. This will cover both the process of setting up an Ethereum IDE and creating and deploying a smart contract. Other than this, it will give you a clear idea on how to interact with a smart contract as a whole. 

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Understanding Smart Contracts 

Real-world contracts and smart contracts are the same. The fact that they are digital is the only distinction. A smart contract is actually a computer program that is kept on a blockchain. When the predetermined criteria set forth by the parties involved are satisfied, smart contracts—for instance, one that issues a token when someone inputs fiat—start to operate autonomously.

Smart contracts enable reliable and secure interactions between unidentified parties without the need for centralized oversight. Solidity and Vyper are used to create smart contracts for Ethereum. High-level object-oriented language Solidity, intended for use with the Ethereum Virtual Machine, is influenced by C++, JavaScript, and Python (EVM). The Python-inspired experimental contract-based language Vyper was created.

Between the execution machine and the code, virtual machines create an abstraction layer. There can only ever be one state of the blockchain present at any particular block. EVM assists in maintaining the state of the Ethereum blockchain (Ethereum Virtual Machine). By describing the procedures for calculating a new valid state from one block to the next, the EVM achieves this.

We can use Y as a state transition function to model this mathematically. The formula for the function is Y(S, T) = S', where S is the previous block's valid state, T is the set of new valid transitions, and S' is the current block's valid state.

This function outputs a new valid state from an input of the previous valid state and a list of new valid transactions. In this extensive blog about EVM, you may read more about EVM and how Ethereum state functions.

The technical aspects of EVM were discussed above; let's now examine its practical use. The bytecode of smart contracts is executed in a sandboxed environment created by EVM. This indicates that the network, filesystem, and processes on the host machine are totally segregated from the machine code. A system monitors the execution cost for each instruction put into use on the EVM. This cost for executing the instruction is expressed in gas units. The user who wishes to carry out this command must set aside some ether to serve as a gas tax. Here is more information about gas and gas taxes. Turing is complete for the EVM.

This is accomplished by creating a system that charges for each software instruction that is run rather than for each money transaction, as is the case with Bitcoin. Since the Ethereum network is Turing complete, it qualifies as a distributed peer-to-peer computer on a global scale.

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How is a Smart contract Implemented?

Before we get into how to interact with a smart contract, let's understand how it's implemented first.

A broker is always consulted by people looking to sell their home. In order to complete the deal and function as an intermediary between the buyer and seller, the broker retains a portion of the total sum. Let's imagine that we remove the broker from the picture and design a smart contract in its place.

This is designed to sell the house to the buyer, transfer the rights, and transfer the money to the seller once a sum greater than a specific value is given for the property. By doing this, the middleman is taken out of the equation. The whole procedure is less expensive and more secure because the transaction happens directly between two parties.

Since smart contracts are kept on the blockchain, some characteristics are inherited by them. Immutability and global distributability are two of the qualities worth mentioning. The smart contract cannot be altered after it has been deployed since it is immutable. Additionally, because of global distributability, the result of the contract is verified by every user on the blockchain network. It is nearly impossible to tamper with the contract because if anyone tries to change it, other users on the network will declare it void.

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How to Interact with a Smart Contract?

When a smart contract is deployed, it is first compiled and then translated into bytecode. The blockchain is then used to store this bytecode, and an address is given to it. The person whose address created the contract (the sender) and the quantity of transactions sent by the creator are used to determine the contract address (nonce). The keccak-256 technique is used to RLP encrypt and hash the sender address and nonce.

Remix IDE, an open-source browser-based IDE for Ethereum smart contracts, is used mostly for deployment and testing of smart contracts, the majority of which are written in Solidity. Let's test Remix IDE's contract deployment capabilities by deploying our contract to the Ropsten Testnet. We'll need some test ETH for that. To start, you'll need to build an ETH wallet using the MetaMask browser extension and some practice ETH. By visiting the Ropsten faucet, you can obtain a test ETH. You must copy-paste the wallet address into the text field in the faucet after selecting the Ropsten Test Network in your MetaMask wallet. Click "Send me test Ether" after that.

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Create a new Solidity file, such as "contract.sol," in the Ethereum Remix IDE.

Into a fresh Solidity script, paste the following code:

// SPDX-License-Identifier: MIT
pragma solidity 0.8.1;
 
contract test {
    
    uint256 private count = 0;
 
    function increment() public {
        count += 1;
    }
    
    function getCount() public view returns (uint256) {
        return count;
    }
 
}

The code above is explained below.

Line 1: Defining the SPDX licence type, a change made after Solidity 0.68.

These licenses can assist in resolving/avoiding copyright issues whenever the source code of a smart contract is made publicly accessible. You can use the special license UNLICENSED or omit the entire comment if you do not want to provide a license type (doing so would only result in a warning rather than an error).

Line 2: Declaring the Solidity version.

Line 4: Beginning our test-related contract.

Line 6: Declaring an unsigned integer private variable of the type count and setting its value to zero.

Lines 8–10: Declare the function increment(), which increases the value of count by 1 and is of type public, making it accessible from outside the function and by other contracts.

Lines 12–14: Declaring a method called getCount() of type public and setting view as its immutability value, which limits its ability to write to the blockchain to reading only. Using the keyword returns to indicate that the function returns a value, which in this case takes the form of an unsigned integer. supplying the function with the count value.

By selecting "Compile contract.sol" after selecting the second icon on the left menu (the Solidity icon), you may compile the smart contract.

If the contract is successfully compiled, a green tick will be added to the compiler tab in the left menu. To deploy the contract, select injected Web3 from the dropdown menu under "Environment" by clicking on the third icon from the left menu, and then click "Deploy". Approve the MetaMask transaction.

Your contract has now been deployed, and you can find it in the "Deployed Contracts" section.

Truffle and other Ethereum libraries can be used to deploy smart contracts as well.

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How Do Smart Contracts Work?

Now that we're aware of how to interact with a smart contract, let's understand how smart contracts work for further clarification on this topic.

From the Remix IDE, we may interact with smart contracts and expand the contract under the deployed contract area. When you select "getCount," you will see that the count starts off at zero.

To raise the count's value by one, click on "increment" now. We must pay the gas fee because this is a write operation (confirm the transaction from MetaMask). When the transaction is finished, click "getCount," and you'll notice that the count has been raised by 1 as a result. We are changing the chain's count value and then querying the new value.

Several Ethereum libraries can be used to communicate with the contracts; here is an example in Ruby. You'll need the smart contract address and the ABI (Application Binary Interface) for that. The types and functions used in the contract are defined by the ABI. 

Conclusion

Congratulations on finishing the article! You are now fully aware of how the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) operates. You are familiar with how to set up the Ethereum Remix IDE for developing and testing smart contracts. You learnt how to obtain test ETH, created a smart contract, and deployed it on the Ropsten Testnet. Through Remix IDE, you also learned how to interact with a smart contract.

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