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Overview of Writing Programs

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.

Solana Development Lifecycle

  1. Setup your development environment
  2. Write your program
  3. Compile the program
  4. Generate the program's public address
  5. 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 programId).

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

Solana programs are typically written in the Rust language, but C/C++ are also supported.

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

The Hello world example is a good starting place to see how a program is written, built, deployed, and interacted with on-chain.

You can also explore the Program Examples for other examples of on-chain programs.

Limitations

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.