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README.md

Two Important Notes

  1. This code is alpha code. That means that we may (and probably will) make breaking changes as we move forward.
  2. We will be changing the name of our project in the near future. Stay tuned.

Contact Info

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Installing QBlocks

First things first. We start with the installation instructions.

What is QBlocks?

QBlocks is a collection of software libraries, applications, tools, and examples that allow you to retrieve Ethereum blockchain data (a) more quickly, (b) with higher information content, (c) in an fully decentralized way, (d) in a fully automated way, and (e) in a highly maintenance free way. The many potential use cases for QBlocks are described here.

More Quickly

QBlocks interacts with the Ethereum blockchain via the RPC interface to accumulate blocks, transactions, receipts, and event logs. Prior to storing the data, we optimize it for later retrieval. The primary goal of QBlocks is to return the data as quickly as possible while maintaining a fully decentralized stance. These optimizations include:

  1. attaching receipts and logs directly to transactions,
  2. identifying in-error transactions using the node's trace functionality,
  3. pre-processing incoming internal transactions,
  4. storing the data optimized for quick, later retrieval.

Depending on the use case, QBlocks is able to achieve more than 150 times speedup relative to the node's RPC interface.

Higher Information Content

An Ethereum node knows nothing about Solidity source code. It only deals with byte code and therefore can only return hexadecimal bytes. In order to make the data useful, each user must translate the data back into the language of the smart contract. For example, this data:

{
  "hash": "0xb9f174f61ef78661df519dba92f7a724593d1376e18edc8f2cc477684f089d13",
  "blockNumber": 2243947,
  "transactionIndex": 9,
  "timestamp": 1473657968,
  "from": "0x80f10e72de8a35d57efe477c1d1bd147be50307d",
  "to": "0xbb9bc244d798123fde783fcc1c72d3bb8c189413",
  "value": 0,
  "input": "0xc9d27afe00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001290000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001",
}

is simply vote on a DAO contract:

{
  "from": "0x80f10e72de8a35d57efe477c1d1bd147be50307d",
  "vote": {
    "proposal": 297,
    "supports": 1
  }
}

By default, QBlocks returns the raw hexadecimal data identical to the RPC, but with a simple switch, it can return what we call articulated data or data in the language of your smart contract.

QBlocks is able to articulate the data by using the smart contract's ABI file. If available, an ABI file contains all the information necessary to translate the RPC data back into the language of the smart contract. This functionality is implemented in the open source grabABI application. Instead of dealing with hashes and merkel roots and sha3, you deal with votes and transfers and withdrawals.

Fully Decentralized

Unlike other block chain scrapers such as http://etherscan.io, QBlocks is, by default, fully decentralized. QBlocks interacts with only your local Ethereum node. (Although, it can, if you wish, interact with any node such as Infura). This aspect of our system distinguishes QBlocks from other options. If you understand and believe in the benefits of decentralization, you will understand why this is important. If you don't, you'll undervalue this aspect of our work.

Fully Automatic (Yet Customizable)

The source code for all of the functionality mentioned above is generated automatically (i.e. programmatically) using the grabABI and makeClass apps. This makes standing up a monitor for any smart contract (or system of smart contracts) trivial. With a one line command to chifra, a fully functional C++ static library is created. At the same time, because the generated code is fairly simple C++ code, it is fully customizable.

Low Maintenance

Every smart contract, once deployed, is immutable. That means that the automatically generated C++ code is also immutable (if you want it to). You could literally automatically generate a data delivery layer for your smart contract that requires no further interaction. It can simply run forever, standing off-chain, but beside your smart contract, and deliver all your contact's data at high speed.

Structure of the Project

  1. src - source code for the QBlocks libraries, core applications, tools, and sample monitors.
  2. bin - location of primary executables generated by QBlocks
  3. docs - documentation