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Obsidian language development


Preliminary setup
  1. Install Oracle Java 11.
  2. Install IntelliJ and the Scala plugin (
  3. Install protoc ( On macOS: brew install protobuf.
  4. Install sbt (
  5. Install gradle. On macOS: brew install gradle.
Compiler setup
  1. In a terminal, go to the root of the Obsidian project folder.
  2. Run: make. This will build the compiler, generating a Jar file in target/scala-2.12/.
Editor setup

See obs-vscode-extension to set up VSCode for use with Obsidian.

Running the compiler from VSCode
  1. Make sure the bin directory of the Obsidian codebase is in your $PATH.
  2. Open a .obs file (Obsidian source code; you can start with a demo project in resources/demos).
  3. Use the Obsidian: Compile File command. On the Mac, you can find this by typing ⌘-Shift-P and typing "Obsidian".
Running the compiler from the command line
  1. To run the compiler, run bin/obsidianc foo.obs, where foo.obs is the path to the Obsidian file you want to compile. The file should include a main contract but can reference other files via import.
  2. A folder named after the input class will be generated at the root of the directory containing the structure needed for Fabric deployment

To generate the Fabric structure elsewhere, pass --output-path with the path to the directory.

Fabric deployment

To use the chaincode on Fabric, some pre-requisites have to be met. First of all, you should have Docker installed on your machine. Then:

  1. In a terminal, go to the root of the Obsidian project folder.
  2. Run the following command: curl -sSL | bash -s 1.4.4 -s

This installs all the platform-specific binaries you need to run a Fabric network and places them in the bin sub-directory of the Obsidian project. It also downloads all the required Docker images and places them in your local Docker registry, tagged as latest. For detailed instructions, go to

To deploy and invoke the generated chaincode in a real Fabric environment, follow these steps:

  1. Generate the chaincode following the compiler usage instructions above.
  2. Go into the network-framework folder and run the command ./ -s PATH_TO_CHAINCODE, where the path is from the root of the repository, i.e if the folder was generated with default settings, you simply specify the name of the folder (ex: StringContainer)
  3. Run ./ FUNCTION_NAME ARG1 ARG2 ..., for instance: ./ setS randomstring
  4. After you are done, run ./ to kill and cleanup all Docker containers.

If you wish to upgrade the chaincode on the network without destroying and recreating the entire network, you can run ./ This command uses the same path to the chaincode that you originally uploaded, so there is no need to pass any arguments.

Obsidian language development

IntelliJ setup (for working on the Obsidian compiler)
  1. Open the Obsidian project in IntellJ.
  2. Run > Edit Configurations…
  3. New Application Configuration.
  4. Set the main class as edu.cmu.cs.obsidian.Main
  5. Edit the configurations to run the program with the following arguments: PATH_TO_OBS_CODE.obs
  6. Run the program
  7. A folder named after the input class will be generated at the root of the directory containing the structure needed for Fabric deployment.
Runtime .jar generation (for those working on Obsidian itself)

If changes are made to the Obsidian_Runtime code, a new .jar has to be generated and published since the Fabric chaincode relies on it. To do so, go to the Obsidian_Runtime folder and run gradle publish. Then, push the modified .jar to the Git master branch, and it will be available online at

Compiler Configuration

Environment Variables:

  • OBSIDIAN_COMPILER_DIR: The root directory of the compiler repository. Needed to be able to locate some compiler resources.
Repository organization

Makefile: for building and testing the Obsidian compiler. Obsidian_Runtime: provides runtime support for running Obsidian programs. buildscript: scripts for running Obsidian programs on Hyperledger Fabric docs: the Obsidian web site. evaluation: starter code and some data from the Obsidian vs. Solidity RCT. fabric: files needed by the Obsidian compiler to prepare executable Fabric packages. formalization: a partial formalization in Agda of the core of Obsidian. network-framework: data needed for running Obsidian programs on Hyperledger Fabric. obs-vscode-extension: An extension for Visual Studio Code for editing and running Obsidian programs. used for testing Obsidian programs. papers: an archive of some Obsidian papers. project: this directory specifies how SBT should build the compiler. pygments_lexer_obsidian: a fork of the Pygments project to support the tokens needed for Obsidian programs. resources: Test files and case studies. solidity_user_guide: the user guide given to Solidity participants in the RCT. src: compiler source code. travis_specific: configuration for Travis continuous integration. user_guide: the Obsidian user guide (given to Obsidian participants in the RCT).


Obsidian language development




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