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Version: 1.6.0

Global constants

Since the update to Hangzhou protocol, global constants can be registered on chain. These global constants are Micheline values stored on chain, and they can be referred to from a contract we are deploying. Using global constants, we will be able to originate contracts that (after expansion) surpass size limit for contracts.

API primer

val constant : string -> 'a
let constant : string => 'a

The primitive Tezos.constant allows you to use a predefined constant already registered on chain. It accepts a hash in the form of a string and will require a type annotation.

Using global constants

Global constants are introduced using Tezos.constant. This function expects a constant hash, i.e. a hash that corresponds to a particular constant that was registered on network.

For instance, the constant hash expruCKsgmUZjC7k8NRcwbcGbFSuLHv5rUyApNd972MwArLuxEZQm2 corresponds to the Michelson code

{ PUSH int 2 ; PUSH int 3 ; DIG 2 ; MUL ; ADD }

In a contract, we can make reference to a global constant by using the Tezos.constant operation:

const c : ((_p : int) => int) = Tezos.constant("expruCKsgmUZjC7k8NRcwbcGbFSuLHv5rUyApNd972MwArLuxEZQm2")
let main = (_p : unit, s : int) : [list<operation>, int] =>
[[], c(s)]

Note that the constant's type needs to be annotated.

When we compile a contract, we need to tell LIGO (and Michelson type-checker) which are the constants that we are assuming to be already registered in the context. They are passed to the compile contract sub-command in the --constants argument:

ligo compile contract ./gitlab-pages/docs/advanced/src/global-constants/global_call.jsligo --constants "{ PUSH int 2 ; PUSH int 3 ; DIG 2 ; MUL ; ADD }"

Registering global constants with tezos-client

Global constants can be registered on the chain by using tezos-client as follows:

tezos-client register global constant "{ PUSH int 2 ; PUSH int 3 ; DIG 2 ; MUL ; ADD }" from bootstrap1

which will register the global constant with source bootstrap1.

Compiling global constants

In general, we can compile a constant doing the following steps:

  • Use compile expression sub-command to compile the expression we are interested in capturing in a constant.

  • Register the output of compile expression using tezos-client.

  • Capture the constant hash given by tezos-client and use it in the code with Tezos.constant.

  • Compile the contract that uses the hash constant by passing the argument --constants.

In case that tezos-client is not available, LIGO provides a custom sub-command to compile constants, which works similar to the compile expression sub-command, but has the following differences:

  • The output is given as a escaped JSON string that can be given directly to the --constants argument of compile contract (or put in a JSON list in a file passed to --file-constants).

  • The hash of the constant is also given in output, so that it can be used without need to call tezos-client.


For LIGO users, we recommend to use compile constant as it simplifies the usage flow (see example below).

Usage example

Given the following contract global_const:

const helper = ([s, x]: [string, int]) =>
String.length(s) + x * 3 + 2;
const main = (p: string, s: int) : [list<operation>, int] =>
[[], helper ([p, s])];

We want to turn the function helper into a global constant. The first step is to ask LIGO to compile the constant:

ligo compile constant jsligo "helper" --init-file ./gitlab-pages/docs/advanced/src/global-constants/global_const.jsligo
# Outputs:
# Michelson constant as JSON string:
# "{ UNPAIR ;\n PUSH int 2 ;\n PUSH int 3 ;\n DIG 3 ;\n MUL ;\n DIG 2 ;\n SIZE ;\n ADD ;\n ADD }"
# This string can be passed in `--constants` argument when compiling a contract.
# Remember to register it in the network, e.g.:
# > tezos-client register global constant "{ UNPAIR ;
# PUSH int 2 ;
# PUSH int 3 ;
# DIG 3 ;
# MUL ;
# DIG 2 ;
# SIZE ;
# ADD ;
# ADD }" from bootstrap1
# Constant hash:
# exprv547Y7U5wKLbQGmkDU9Coh5tKPzvEJjyUed7px9yGt9nrkELXf

As we can see, the constant hash is:


We can now remove the helper function from the code, and replace the references to helper by

(Tezos.constant("exprv547Y7U5wKLbQGmkDU9Coh5tKPzvEJjyUed7px9yGt9nrkELXf") as ((_ps : [string, int]) => int))

The new version of global_call looks as follows:

const main = (p: string, s: int) : [list<operation>, int] =>
[ [], Tezos.constant("exprv547Y7U5wKLbQGmkDU9Coh5tKPzvEJjyUed7px9yGt9nrkELXf")([p, s]) ];

Save the constant's Micheline value in a file consts.json (that will be used when calling compile contract). This file must be a JSON list consisting of the string returned by compile constant:

["{ UNPAIR ;\n PUSH int 2 ;\n PUSH int 3 ;\n DIG 3 ;\n MUL ;\n DIG 2 ;\n SIZE ;\n ADD ;\n ADD }"]

We can compile the code using the compile contract sub-command, passing the file with constants in the flag --file-constants:

ligo compile contract ./gitlab-pages/docs/advanced/src/global-constants/global_call_2.jsligo --file-constants ./gitlab-pages/docs/advanced/src/global-constants/consts_jsligo.json
# Outputs:
# { parameter string ;
# storage int ;
# code { constant "exprv547Y7U5wKLbQGmkDU9Coh5tKPzvEJjyUed7px9yGt9nrkELXf" ;
# NIL operation ;
# PAIR } }

Remember that to deploy this contract, first the global constant needs to be registered in the network where we want to deploy it.

Global constants in the testing framework

In the testing framework, global constants can be registered to the context by using Test.register_constant. This primitive takes a michelson_program representing the constant to be registered, and returns an string that is the constant hash corresponding to the constant registered.

The string returned by Test.register_constant can be used via Tezos.constant, as in the examples above.

A simple usage case is the following, in which we obtain a michelson_program by using Test.eval:

namespace C {
type storage = int
type parameter = unit
const f = (x : int) => x * 3 + 2;
const ct = Test.register_constant(Test.eval(f));
const main = (p: parameter, s: storage) : [list<operation>, storage] =>
[[], Tezos.constant(ct)(s)];
const _test = () => {
let orig = Test.originate(contract_of(C), 1, 0tez);
Test.transfer_exn(orig.addr, Main(unit), 0tez);
assert (Test.get_storage(orig.addr) == 5);
const test = _test();