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A Complete Guide to Web3 Developer Stack - What You Need to Know

Nov 02, 2022  |  Bakhtain Afzal

Despite the advent of Bitcoin and Ethereum and emerging categories like DeFi, NFTs, GameFi, and DAOs. Web3 developers are fewer than 1% of the 31.1M software developers globally.

So why are so few web3 developers today? First, web3 developers have fewer tools and infrastructure than web2 developers. It's harder to create, experiment, and deploy with web3 because of this. 

The number of monthly active web3 developers reaches all-time highs by 2022. To support this rising contingent, a strong ecosystem of teams is striving to simplify the web3 developer journey. Which will unlock the next stage of development and innovation.

To learn more about the web3 developer stack, keep reading the detailed guide.

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Development in Web2 vs Web3

Software development makes computer applications. Programs include three key elements:

  • Start-up (what users interact with)
  • Users don't view the back end.
  • Database (where crucial info is stored)

The front-end a user sees in a mobile or desktop browser is similar in web2 and web3. Uniswap's web3 app looks like a web2 app since both front-ends employ React, a popular development framework for web and mobile apps.

Under the hood, web2 and web3 vary. Web3's user-defined ownership is enabled via new backend frameworks and database types.

Whereas web2 apps use centralized databases, web3 apps use decentralized databases (blockchains). It needs new backends and primitives like wallets.

Thanks to decades of cumulative development, web2 technologies are very developer-friendly. Web2's out-of-the-box solutions, established infrastructure, common code libraries, and easy-to-use frameworks make developing simple.

Web3, on the other hand, takes specialized skills to connect with sophisticated infrastructure. And sometimes entails duplicate operations due to a less established stack, forcing teams to reinvent the wheel.

The Web3 Developer Stack

Let's look at the growing Web3 developer stack layer by layer.

Protocol

A web3 developer must choose a blockchain protocol initially. Bitcoin is distinct from Ethereum, Solana from Ethereum, etc.

For speedier and cheaper apps, developers may choose Optimism, Arbitrum, etc. Applications that need to transfer value from one chain to another should use Hop* or Synapse*.

After making these decisions, developers can add user application building blocks.

Structure Basics

Next, a developer must determine how their app interacts with blockchains. 

Infrastructure Primitives

Here are infrastructure primitives.

Node Infrastructure

A node is where an app interacts with a blockchain. These machines scan the blockchain and update it when a user uses an app.

Wallet and Key Management

Blockchain wallets, like Coinbase Wallet, help users maintain private keys for web3 transactions. 

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Identity 

Protocols like ENS* serve as a user's identification across apps. Developers may use Spruce* to validate user credentials and authenticate Ethereum activities. Developers may utilize the Spruce ID toolkit to enable ENS account logins. Companies like Lit Protocol give developers tools for authorizing access to information, software, and data via tokens or NFTs.

Decentralized Compute

Application processing relies on compute resources. Most of the web's computing is controlled by AWS. Decentralized computation shifts towards community-owned networks where there’s a provision of compute resources permissionless at a cheap cost. 

Decentralized Storage

Storing all web3 app data on blockchain nodes is costly. Instead of a centralized database, web3 developers can employ peer-to-peer data storage technologies such as IPFS, Arweave, and Ceramic Network. Web3's Mirror is built on Ethereum but keeps blog material on Arweave.

Oracles

A typical Ethereum app keeps transaction history and "state" on the blockchain (balances, smart contracts, and other variables). It can't store or interact with other data, such as transaction history from other blockchains or the weather in San Francisco. Oracles like Chainlink or Flux* connect blockchains to on-chain and off-chain data.

Many blockchains exist, but few can trade value and use information cross-chain. LayerZero, Axelar Network, and Astar Network provide SDKs and APIs that enable developers to construct portable apps that can interface with multiple blockchains.


Web3 Development Tools

Over the infrastructure primitives that allow apps to interface with blockchain networks are tools that allow developers to engage with the primitives more easily.

Frameworks and IDEs

Developer frameworks are code libraries created by other developers. Web3 frameworks like Truffle, Moralis*, Tatum, and ThirdWeb* allow developers to reuse code for smart contract apps instead of starting from scratch. Apps may be tested and deployed. Foundry and HardHat integrate source code editors, build automation, and debugging tools into a unified interface.

Low-code / no-code platforms allow user-facing apps to be designed/deployed using drag-and-drop interfaces. Companies like Settlemint give web3 developers smart contract templates for NFTs.

Index and query

Data indexers help find and retrieve data in a database. Google search is Web2's most popular data indexing tool, allowing users to query online databases in sub-seconds. Decentralized indexing services allow app developers to acquire, analyze, and query blockchain data in Web3. 

Test, Stimulate Monitor

It's crucial to test and simulate web3 apps before releasing them into the open. Companies like Tenderly* and Kurtosis* offer tools for simulating smart contracts and transactions and troubleshooting any difficulties

Audit and Security 

Blocknative* offers dashboards and tools to monitor transactions before they go on-chain.

Due to the possibility of smart contract attacks, these platforms allow developers to apply security and audit best practices. OpenZeppelin, Forta, Certik, and Certora offer services, frameworks, and monitoring tools for developers to reduce security risks and vulnerabilities.

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Communication 

Web3 programs deliver messages to end users. A crypto wallet may inform a user about transaction confirmations. Companies like XMTP Labs* and EPNS create secure messaging protocols and decentralized communication networks. This is to boost user engagement and enable Web3 app alerts.

Analytics 

Many tools and services allow developers to examine, analyze, extract, and visualize blockchain data. Dune*, Nansen*, and Messari* offer APIs and reporting tools for data visualization in web3 apps. Flipside Crypto* delivers SDKs and APIs to produce and share crypto data insights.

App Enablement Layer

The application enablement layer relates the other layers to Web3 usage. Each industry has its developer solutions for NFTs, DAOs, DeFi, and gaming.

Gaming tools (Venly, Joyride, Horizon Blockchain Games) create virtual worlds and blockchain-based games.

Are Web3 Devs in Demand?

With the Covid-19 pandemic and the rise of Web3, tech workers are in demand. Especially those with knowledge of blockchains and their applications. Like cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Web3 Developer Salary

Web3 seniority pay. Senior developers average $120k per year, with a starting compensation of $65k and a maximum of $200k. Junior devs make the least. The average annual compensation is $60k, with a minimum of $25k and a high of $120k.

Final Note 

Protocols, infrastructure, and developer tools make up the web3 developer stack. Web3's flexible and interoperable design allows for limitless application combinations.

While the highlighted foundation and layers will largely remain intact. We expect the entire stack to grow considerably in the following years.

However, by now you must have a good understanding of the web3 developer stack. At the same time, if you look forward to availing of web3 development services, you can avail them from Distinguished. A B2B business platform where you can come across many service providers that bring your unique project idea into reality.


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