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Getting started

This section is aimed at newcomers to Ligo and Tezos smart-contracts. In this tutorial, we will go through the following steps :

  • Writing a simple contract
  • Testing the contract
  • Deploying the contract to Tezos

Before to start

Two choices are offered, ideal if you want to work with Ligo :

  • Install necessary stuff onto your machine
  • Use webide, ideal if you want a quick view of ligo. You'll be able to do, test, dry-run, and deploy the code !

Building a smart-contract.

We will use a simple smart contract in this section and the following one. A counter that is available on a homepage.

First, create a ligo_tutorial folder on your computer.
mligo is the extension of cameligo file and jsligo for the jsligo file.

Here you are using jsligo syntax so create a file named main.jsligo, with the following content

namespace Counter {
type storage = int;
type ret = [list<operation>, storage];
// Three entrypoints
const increment = (delta : int, store : storage) : ret => [list([]), store + delta];
const decrement = (delta : int, store : storage) : ret => [list([]), store - delta];
const reset = (_p : unit, _s : storage) : ret => [list([]), 0];

What is a namespace ?

A namespace is the jsligo keyword to declare a Module in Ligo it provides a scope to the identifiers (names of types, functions, variables, etc) to prevent collisions between them. Only exported identifiers can be accessed from the outside using dot notation. More details in Module section


What is a storage ?

Storage is the datas stored in your smart-contract, in michelson and on-chain. When you deploy your contract you will pay for the storage, so keep it as light as possible and use it only for data which has to be in blockchain. See Optimisation section for more details.

When you will need to deploy a contract, the storage will need an init value (flag --init onto octez-client) defined in Michelson. It's possible to express it in Ligo using compile storage command.

ligo compile storage <your_main_file> <ligo_expression> -m <your_module_in_main_file>

What is an entry ?

An entry-point is a pure function marked with @entry annotation that can be formalized as [list<operation>, storage] = f(parameter, storage) where :

  • f is the entry-point function that is called
  • parameter contains the inputs that are sent by the caller when the contract is called
  • storage is the state of the storage. The input is the current state of the storage, and it outputs the next state
  • list<operation> is a list of commands that will be executed by the block chain (for instance transfers)

It's also a function that the RPC node of the Tezos blockchain will expose. It'll be possible to interact with your smart-contract by calling them.

Compile a contract

Now we are going to compile the contract If you are using the Web-ide ensure to target the module Counter in config.json file and click on Compile, This will allow you to see the produced Michelson.

On your machine we will use the ligo compiler CLI, open a terminal in the folder. (or the vs-code built-in terminal with Ctrl+shift+²) and run the following command:

ligo compile contract main.jsligo -m Counter -o

The compile contract takes a filename, the file you want to compile. The -m parameter indicates the namespace or module corresponding to the contract to compile inside the file. The -o parameter indicates to store the result in instead of outputting it in the terminal.

LIGO will aggregate all functions marked with @entry inside the module/namespace and build a contract function from them that dispatches according to the parameter passed. This function is the default contract function compiled ($main).

Now, you should have a Michelson contract in the folder ready to be deploy. But before that, we want to test it to be sure that it behaves as expected because once publish, it cannot be modified.

Testing the contract

Because we can never underline enough the importance of tests in the context of smart contract; we will now test our contract three times on different levels :

Test the code from the command line

Using the interpret command, one can run LIGO code in the context of an init file. For instance

ligo run interpret "<code>" --init-file main.jsligo

will run <code> after evaluating everything in the contract file. This is useful to test arbitrary functions and variables in your code.

For instance, to test the add function you can run

ligo run interpret "Counter.increment(10,32)" --init-file main.jsligo

which should return 42. Running several of this command will cover the complete code.

To run the contract as if it was called on the blockchain, the command dry-run can be used. It takes the contract, the parameter and the initial storage, and we also need to pass the namespace/module using -m:

ligo run dry-run main.jsligo "Increment(32)" "10" -m Counter

which will return (LIST_EMPTY(), 42).

Combine several of those command to fully test the contract use-cases.

Test the code with LIGO test framework.

In LIGO, you are able to write tests directly in the source file, using the Test module. We generally encourage writing tests in a separate file, but we will use the same file for this example.

Add the following line at the end of main.jsligo

const test_increment = (() : unit => {
let initial_storage = 10 as int;
let orig = Test.originate(contract_of(Counter), initial_storage, 0tez);
Test.transfer_exn(orig.addr, (Increment (1)), 1mutez);
return assert(Test.get_storage(orig.addr) == initial_storage + 1);
}) ()

This executes the same test as the previous section.

Now simply run the command

ligo run test main.jsligo

The command will run every function main with test and return their values.

More on the syntax for the test framework here and more on how to write and test namespace/module contracts here.

Publishing the contract

For deploying the contract on Tezos, we will use the octez-client interface as we did on the previous section.

First, you will need an account address. You can get one using any wallet listed here. Once you have your first account configured, go to a faucet, select the ghostnet testnet and claim XTZ tokens. clikc on the faucet and you will receive some tokens to play with.

Then we are going to point the Tezos client to a Ghostnet testnet node

octez-client --endpoint config update

Ghostnet is a testnet, which is a separate network from the Tezos mainnet, which can be used for testing.

Export the mnemonic from your wallet (almost every wallet does it, look on settings or read wallet documentation to see how to do it), then import your account locally. Type on the terminal

octez-client import keys from mnemonic myWallet

Paste the mnemonic when prompt appears

You are now ready to originate your contract with your user. On your wallet, copy your public hash key address tz1... or tz2... and replace the placeholder <my_tz_address...> on the command you need to run :

octez-client originate contract counter \
transferring 0 from <my_tz_address...> \
running \
--init 10 --burn-cap 0.1 --force

Again, you will receive several messages from the node and you should get the confirmation that the contract has been published. Note the KT1... address available in logs, you'll be able to find your contract onto an indexer like tzkt through url like don't forget to put your KT1 address

You can know call your contract with

octez-client call counter from <my_tz_address...> \
--arg "(Left (Right 32))" \
--burn-cap 0.1

arg is obtained by compiling ligo expression onto michelson

ligo compile parameter main.jsligo "Increment (32)" -m Counter

If you do so, back to tzkt, you will see several information on the operation, including the new contract storage.

Testing the Michelson contract locally

It can be annoying to deploy you contract onto a node to test it. We advise testing that the Michelson code locally using mockup environment. It'll allow to automate end to end tests in simulated environment

This conclude this part of our tutorial. You should now be able to compile, test, publish and call a contract. Now you can go to the tacos shop tutorial to know more about programming with LIGO or you can start developing your own contract using the LIGO syntax you are more familiar with.