Developers can write and deploy their own programs to the Solana blockchain. While developing these "on-chain" programs can seem cumbersome, the entire process can be broadly summarized into a few key steps.
On-chain program development lifecycle #
- Setup your development environment
- Write your program
- Compile the program
- Generate the program's public address
- Deploy the program
1. Setup your development environment #
The most robust way of getting started with Solana development, is installing the Solana CLI tools on your local computer. This will allow you to have the most powerful development environment.
Some developers may also opt for using Solana Playground, a browser based IDE. It will let you write, build, and deploy on-chain programs. All from your browser. No installation needed.
2. Write your program #
Writing Solana programs is most commonly done so using the Rust language. These Rust programs are effectively the same as creating a traditional Rust library.
You can read more about other supported languages below.
3. Compile the program #
Once the program is written, it must be complied down to Berkley Packet Filter byte-code that will then be deployed to the blockchain.
4. Generate the program's public address #
Using the Solana CLI, the developer
will generate a new unique Keypair for the new
program. The public address (aka
Pubkey) from this Keypair will be used
on-chain as the program's public address (aka
5. Deploying the program #
Then again using the CLI, the compiled program can be deployed to the selected blockchain cluster by creating many transactions containing the program's byte-code. Due to the transaction memory size limitations, each transaction effectively sends small chunks of the program to the blockchain in a rapid-fire manner.
Once the entire program has been sent to the blockchain, a final transaction is
sent to write all of the buffered byte-code to the program's data account. This
either mark the new program as
executable, or complete the process to
upgrade an existing program (if it already existed).
Support languages #
There are also various community driven efforts to enable writing on-chain programs using other languages, including:
- Python via Seahorse (that acts as a wrapper the Rust based Anchor framework)
Example programs #
You can also explore the Program Examples for examples of on-chain programs.
As you dive deeper into program development, it is important to understand some of the important limitations associated with on-chain programs.
Read more details on the Limitations page
Frequently asked questions #
Discover many of the frequently asked questions other developers have about writing/understanding Solana programs.