Getting Started with Ethereum Blockchain Development Part 1

We will walk through the process of setting up a Blockchain development environment in this blog.

In this exercise, we will do the following

  • Setup a minimal Private Ethereum Blockchain Network with one mining node and one transaction node in Microsoft Azure
  • Setup the basic smart contract development environment on your local computer
  • Write and deploy a simple sample contract in the local machine
  • Deploy the same in the Private Ethereum Blockchain Network

We have a lot to do, so let’s get started …

If you choose to skip the Private Ethereum Blockchain creation and wanted to just test in your local environment you can skip the Step 1 of this Excercise.

Step 1: Setting up a Private Ethereum Blockchain in Microsoft Azure

Setting up your Azure account is beyond the scope of this exercise, it is free to sign up, and you receive a 100$ credit when you set up your Azure account which will be more than enough for you to complete this tutorial

  1. Go to and click on Create a Resource and select Blockchain, from the Featured, choose Eethereum Consortium Blockchain option
    Microsoft Azure Create BlockChain
  2. In the Basics page Enter the following and Click OK
        • Resource prefix
          Put a String  that will be used as a base for naming all the resources that will be created for this tutorial
        • VM username
          Leave the default which is gethadmin
        • Authentication type
          Let’s make it simple by selecting Password option
        • Password
          Type in a password that you will remember
        • Resource Group
          Create a new Resource group and name it
        • Location
          Select an Azure location of your choice

      Basics - Microsoft Azure Setup1

  3. In the Network Size and Performance Page Enter the following and Click OK
    • Number of Consortium members: 2
      This means the number of members of this blockchain. Each of this participants gets a mining node.
    • Mining Nodes: 1
      This means you will have 1 mining node per participants in this Blockchain. This node will be responsible for mining blocks in your blockchain
    • Mining Node Storage Performance: Standard
      Selecting the default and cheapest option
    • Mining node Storage replication: LRS
      Select the default value
    • Mining node virtual machine size: 2X Standard D1 V2
      We do not want a very powerful machine for this tutorial so let’s get a small one
    • Transaction Nodes: 1
      This node will be submitting its transactions this Blockchain
    • Transaction Node Storage Performance: Standard
      Selecting the default and cheapest option
    • Transaction Node Storage replication: LRS
      Select the default value
    • Transaction Node virtual machine size: 1X Standard D1 V2
      We do not want a very powerful machine for this tutorial so let’s get a small oneBasics - Microsoft Azure Setup2
  4. In the Ethereum Settings Options enter the following and Click OK
    • Network ID: 111222333
      This id is used to name this private Blockchain network, Only the nodes with the same id can peer with each other.
    • Custom Genesis Block: No
      Custom Genesis Block can be provided as a JSON if you are creating a Blockchain for a specific use. Since its the basic tutorial lets allow the mining node to create our Genesis Block.
    • Ethereum Account Password: <Enter a password of your choice>
      This will be the password of default ethereum account. Note this password down; we will use this later
    • Ethereum private key passphrase: 
      This passphrase will be used to create the private key of the default ethereum accountBasics - Microsoft Azure Setup3
  5. View the Summary on the next page, Click Ok
  6. Accept the Terms and Conditions and Click OK
  7. Let Azure do its job and wait for approximately 10 mins to see your Blockchain Network Completely in the Azure Portal
  8. Click on the Name of the Resource Group that you created -> Deployment and select to look at the details of your blockchainDeployment history - Microsoft Azure
  9. Note down the following information from the Details page
    • Admin Site URL
  10. Copy paste the URL of admin site into your browser, and you should see something similar to the below imageBlockchain Admin
  11. Our Blockchain Network is up and running. However, we need to we need to unlock the default account of this Blockchain to make any modifications to it. To unlock the default account, we have to SSH into the Transaction node.
  12. Open the Terminal on your Mac or Linux system or use Powershell in windows to SSH. Use the SSH-TO-FIRST -TX-NODE value that we copied from our previous step to Open an SSH Connection.
    Ignore the warning that you will receive when you first SSH to the transaction node about the authenticity of this host.Use the password that we provided for Ethereum Account Password: in the previous stepSSH 1
  13.  Type in the Following Command to connect to Geth in the Transaction node.
    $ geth attach

    Geth is a javascript runtime environment (JSRE) provided by Ethereum to interact with Ethereum. You can find more details about Geth here

  14. In the Geth Console type in the following command to unlock the default account.

    eth in this context is a shortcut for web3.eth

    SSH 2

  15. This will ask for the Passphrase, Provide the passphrase we created in the previous step. You should get a response “true” if the passphrase is correctSSH 3

That’s it your Ethereum Private Blockchain is ready to roll

Step 2: Setting up your Local Development Environment with Ethereum Essentials

Lets now set up your local development environment with the essentials. We will need to do the following.

  1. Download and install Visual Studio Code from
    Install the following plugins for Visual Studio Code
  2. Download and install NPM (Node Package Manager)
    Go to and download the latest LTS Version of Node. At the time of writing this blog 8.9.4 is the current version, so we are going with that.Node.js
  3. Install the following Node packages using NPM (For opening npm use console in mac and  Linux or use Powershell with option Run as Administrator in Windows)
    1. windows-build-tools (Only on Windows)
      Windows-build-tools are used to compile native node modules in windows. you can find more information about windows-build-tools at

      npm install --global --production windows-build-tools
    2. truffle
      Truffle is a development environment for ethereum; We will use this to create and compile our smart contract. you can find information about truffle at
      Use the following command for windows

      npm install -g truffle

      and this one for Mac or Linux

      sudo npm install -g truffle
    3. Ethereum-testrpc
      testrpc is an Ethereum client used for testing and development. More information about testrpc can be found at
      Use the following command for windows

      npm install -g ethereumjs-testrpc

      and this one for Mac or Linux

      sudo npm install -g ethereumjs-testrpc

Step 3: Create your first Smart Contract

In this step, we will create a smart contract, test it locally in testrpc and deploy it to your newly created Blockchain network and run it.
We will be writing this contract using Solidity. Learn more about Solidity and its syntax at

The Smart Contract that we are going to just print HelloWorld. We will use Truffle to do the following

  • Initialize the project
  • Add a Smart Contract
  • Compile the contract
  • Deploy the contract to local testrpc server and to the Private blockchain
  1. Setting up the Project

    1. Create a new folder called “HelloWorld” on your local machine and open the PowerShell or terminal window pointing to HelloWorld folder
    2. Initiate the Project by calling the unbox command.
      $ truffle unbox

      Truffle Boxes are boilerplates that you can use for kickstarting your development. You can read more about truffle boxes from
      unbox command without any arguments creates a default MetaCoin contract.
      Since we are not dealing with MetaCoin in this exercise, we will clean this project up in a later step. Open the folder using the Visual Studio Code, and you should see a structure similar to this.
      HelloWorld 2018-03-03 14-19-15

  2. Create a new Smart contract

    You can either create a contract manually, or you can use truffle to create a new contract. We are going to use truffle to create the new contract.
    Type in the following command in the terminal / PowerShell

    $ truffle create contract HelloWorld

    If you look in the contracts folder of your project, you can see that Truffle had created a new Solidity file HelloWorld.sol Another Option is to create a new file manually in contracts folder with the name HelloWorld.sol

    Your Contract name must match with the Solidity file that you create for that contract.

    HelloWorld.sol — HelloWorld 2018-03-03 14-22-29

  3. Write the Logic of our Smart Contract

    Truffle “create contract” has created a basic skeleton for our contract. Since the logic of our smart contract is very simple to copy paste the following code to the HelloWorld.sol

    pragma solidity ^0.4.4;
    contract HelloWorld {
      function HelloWorld() {
        // constructor
      function sayHello() public returns (string) {
            return ("Hello World!!!");

    Before we compile our contract, Let’s clean up our project. Delete the following files from the contacts folder.

    1. ConvertLib.sol
    2. MetaCoin.sol
  4. Compile our Smart Contract

    Since we are using truffle to compile our contract, type in the following command  in the terminal to compile our smart contract

    $ truffle compile

    Truffle will compile the code and will generate a build folder in the project. If Examine the build/contracts folder You will find HelloWorld.json which has the deployable binary.

  5. Deploy Smart contract in local testrpc

    We are using truffle to deploy our contract, to let the truffle know that we are deploying this contract in our local folder we first have to make sure that we have localhost as a destination in the truffle.js file. You can find the truffle.js file in the root folder of your project. Truffle unbox command should have pre-populated with the localhost network. Open your truffle.js and make sure that you have the following entry.

    module.exports = {
      networks: {
        development: {
          host: "localhost",
          port: 8545,
          network_id: "*" // Match any network id

    Truffle requires having a “Migrations contract” to use the migrate feature. You would have noticed that we did not delete “Migrations.sol” in the contracts folder when we did the clean up in the previous s step. Open 2_deploy_contracts.js from migrations folder. This is the file that truffle uses to determine the contracts to deploy,  Clean up this file to remove the reference to the files that we deleted and add a reference to our HelloWorld Contract. Change the 2_deploy_contracts.js  to this.

    var HelloWorld = artifacts.require("./HelloWorld.sol")
    module.exports = function(deployer) {

    We now need to start our local testrpc server. Open a new Terminal / PowerShell window and type the following command

    $ testrpc

    That will start your testrpc server, testrpc comes with 9 accounts, and the first one is the default account. The private keys listed below are the private keys of the accounts. testrpc runs on port 8545


    Run the following command in the terminal to deploy the contract to testrpc server.

    $ truffle migrate

    truffle migrate
    If you see a screen similar to this means your contract has been successfully published to the testrpc server.

  6. Execute the Smart Contract

    We will use truffle console to execute our HelloWorld contract.
    Truffle console is a javascript console that can be used to interact with smart contracts.
    Type the following command on the terminal to open truffle console.

    $ truffle console
    1. Since this is a javascript console define a variable that will hold the reference to the contract.
      var hwcontract

      Just like the Google Chrome or any other javascript consoles when you define a variable you will get a message “undefined” You can ignore it. 

    2. In the testrpc, we need to Get a reference to our contract asynchronously since truffle executes the commands line by line make sure that the complete
    3. Execute the contract in the asynchronously

      You should be able to see the Hello World in the console

      Congratulations you had successfully executed your first smart contract in testrpc.

  7. Deploy HelloWorld contract to our Private Blockchain

    To deploy this contract to our newly created blockchain, we need to update the truffle.js with the network information of the blockchain network that we had created in our previous step.
    Update the truffle.js with the following snippet.
    Replace the xxxx with the hostname of ETHEREUM-RPC-ENDPOINT that we copied in the previous step.
    Remember the host value should be just the hostname of our endpoint. So do not add the https or the port name to the host value, just add hostname.

    network_id is the id that we entered as network id when we created our blockchain

    module.exports = {
      networks: {
        development: {
          host: "localhost",
          port: 8545,
          network_id: "*" // Match any network id
        },prod: {
          host: "xxxxxx",
          port: 8545,
          network_id: "111222333"
    1. We need to unlock the default account of our blockchain before we start the deployment, Repeat the steps 12, 13, 14 and 15 from Step 1 to unlock the default account
    2. Now Use the truffle with network parameter to migrate out the contract to the network.
      Go to the terminal issue and type in the following command

      $ truffle migrate --network prod

      This might take some time.
      Once the migration is completed, you should see a screen like this
      HelloWorld deployment success

  8. Execute your Smart contract in the real Blockchain

    We will use truffle console here also to execute our contract.
    In order to connect to a remote network we need to use use the network parameter while starting the truffle console.
    Type the following command on the terminal to open truffle console.

    $ truffle console --network prod
    1. Like in the previous step define a variable that will hold the reference to the contract.
      var phwcontract
    2. Get a reference to our contract
    3. Execute the contract. If you notice here instead of calling the contract asynchronously, we are directly executing the contract here.

      The execution on the real blockchain is going to be a lot slower than the testrpc. However, you should be able to see the response like this in your console.

Congratulations, you successfully created and deployed your first smart contract. This is just a beginning. We will do more exciting programs in the future.

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