Aion4j: two new tools for building smart contracts with Java
How do Java and the blockchain fit together? The BloxBean project released Aion4j, a set of Java development tools and frameworks that will help developers build smart contracts using the Aion Virtual Machine. Their proposed goals include increasing the productivity and confidence of smart contract developers.
Java developers and the blockchain, is it a match? Java programmers interested in developing smart contracts have a new tool on the horizon.
The BloxBean project launched Aion4j, a set of dev tools and frameworks for building smart contracts on the Aion Virtual Machine. Currently in its conceptual stage, it presents several goals on its roadmap. Let’s take a look at its proposed goals, what it includes, and what potential problems it solves.
According to the GitHub repo, the following lists the proposed goals for Aion4j’s lifespan:
- A set of developer tools and frameworks to help smart contract development on the Aion Platform. The idea is to leverage on the existing tools (IDE, Frameworks etc.) in the Java ecosystem.
- Abstract all the complexities of blockchain interaction from a Java application and provide a POJO / Interface based programming model.
- Enable Java developers with familiar tools to iterate faster during development with a relatively smaller learning curve. (Through an embedded FastVM runtime and libraries)
- Help developers to develop with their existing Java development tools.
These goals aim to make it easier for mainstream Java developers learning how to develop smart contracts by using skills and language knowledge they already have. It introduces concepts and provides the necessary development tools for a streamlined, productive process.
By the latest Oracle estimate, Java runs on 3 billion devices and the TIOBE index lists it as the number one most used programming language. This shows that Java knowledge is common, and tools for making Java blockchains easier may lower the bar necessary for entry.
The Aion Foundation release announcement also notes that: “By supporting Java, AVM has already opened the possibilities of using established development tools in the Java ecosystem instead of re-inventing the wheel.”
Read more about the Aion VM in their docs here. It runs Java bytecode on the blockchain.
The Aion4j Maven plugin for AVM provides end to end tooling support for building smart contracts.
According to the Aion network’s launch announcement, key features found in this plug-in include:
- Maven-based AVM project creation
- Compile & package
- Unit test
- Deploy, test, and debug on embedded AVM or Nodesmith during development
- Test and deploy on remote Aion Kernel
- Use Maven commands to interact with the Aion blockchain
- Client side transaction signing
Aion4j provides a plugin for smart contract support inside the IntelliJ IDE.
This provides an embedded AVM execution environment inside of the IDE. Users can test and deploy their smart contracts inside of the IDE during development. The IntelliJ plugin contains features that developers will need to write their smart contracts, so that they will not need to go outside of the IDE during development.
Because of this, no other software is necessary for writing and testing smart contracts.