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Orbs Network Core Node

Orbs is a public blockchain infrastructure built for the needs of decentralized apps with millions of users. For more information, please check and read the white papers.

This repo contains the node core reference implementation in golang.

The project is thoroughly tested with unit tests, component tests per microservice, acceptance tests, E2E tests and E2E stress tests running the system under load.

Building Docker images only

If you only want to build the Docker images containing the node binaries, you don't need to have golang on your own machine (the node will be compiled inside the image).

  • Make sure Docker is installed.

    Verify with docker version

  • Run ./docker/build/ to create node image orbs:export.

  • Run ./docker/build/ to create gamma image:

    • orbs:gamma-server contains self-sufficient development binary (similar to Ethereum's Ganache) and gamma-cli to communicate with its server counterpart.

Building from source


  • Make sure Go is installed (version 1.10 or later).

    Verify with go version

  • Make sure Go workspace bin is in your path.

    Install with export PATH=$PATH:`go env GOPATH`/bin

    Verify with echo $PATH

  • Make sure Git is installed (version 2 or later).

    Verify with git --version

  • If you're interested in building Docker images as well, install Docker.

    Verify with docker version


  • Clone the repo to your Go workspace:

    cd `go env GOPATH`
    go get
    cd src/
    git checkout master
  • Install dependencies with ./ To understand dependency management flow please refer to the dependency documentation.

  • Build with go install

  • You can build all the binaries (orbs-node, gamma-cli and gamma-server) with ./


  • To run the pre-built binary (should be in path):

  • To rebuild from source and run (this will take you to project root):

    cd `go env GOPATH`
    cd src/
    go run *.go

Testing from command line

Test runner

We use the official go test runner go test. It has minimal UI and result caching.

Please install go-junit-reporter prior to running tests for the first time:

go get -u


  • Run all tests using a script:


  • Manually run all tests from project root:

    go test ./...

  • Manually run only fast tests (no E2E and similar):

    go test -short ./...

  • Check unit test coverage:

    go test -cover `go list ./...`

Test types

E2E tests (slow)

End-to-end tests check the entire system in a real life scenario mimicking real production with multiple nodes. It runs on docker with several nodes connected in a cluster. Due to their nature, E2E tests are slow to run.

  • The tests are found in /test/e2e
  • Run the suite from project root with go test ./test/e2e

Integration tests (slow)

Integration tests check the system adapters and make sure they meet the interface contract they implement. For example connection to a database or network sockets.

Acceptance tests (fast)

Acceptance tests check the internal hexagon of the system (it's logic with all microservices) with faster adapters that allow the suite to run extremely fast.

  • The tests are found in /test/acceptance
  • Run the suite from project root with go test ./test/acceptance

Component tests (fast)

Component tests check that a single service meets its specification while mocking the other services around it. They allow development of a service in isolation.

Unit tests (fast)

Unit tests are very specific tests that check a single unit or two. They test the unit in isolation and stub/mock everything around it.

  • The tests are found next to the actual unit in a file with _test.go suffix, eg. sha256_test.go sitting next to sha256.go

Testing on Docker

For Troubleshooting, see the Docker Guide

All tests run automatically when the Docker images are built. The script ./ is part of the Docker build.

  • Run ./docker/build/ && ./docker/test/ to build all images and run E2E tests in a dockerized environment.

  • The logs for all E2E nodes will be placed on your machine under the ./_logs directory of the project (and will be overridden on every E2E run).

Component tests on Docker

To detect flaky tests of specific components, run component tests multiple times on Docker:

  • To enable running component tests multiple times, edit and uncomment the line ./
  • To modify the number of times each component test runs, edit and modify the value of the COUNT variable (you may also need to modify the various timeouts)
  • optional To run a specific test (component, unit, of any other) multiple times (useful when debugging a specific scenario for flakiness), edit, comment the line run_component_tests, then uncomment the line starting with run_specific_test and modify the test name to run that one specific test multiple times on Docker.

After you've finished editing, run ./docker/build/ && ./docker/test/

You should probably not commit any of these edits you've made for testing, as they are transient in nature.

Developer experience

Git hooks

Please run git config --local core.hooksPath .githooks after cloning the repository.

Debugging issues on Docker

Occasionally, local tests with go test will pass but the same tests on Docker will fail. This usually happens when tests are flaky and sensitive to timing (we do our best to avoid this).

  • Run ./docker/build/ and ./docker/test/

  • If the E2E test gets stuck or docker-compose stops working properly, try to remove all containers with this handy command: docker rm -f $(docker ps -aq). But remember that ALL YOUR LOCAL CONTAINERS WILL BE GONE (even from other projects).

  • Debugging the acceptance suite is problematic out of the box, since the debugger (Delve) doesn't support any code importing the plugin package. Luckily, the acceptance suite relies on a fake compiler; to enable debugging:

    • in Goland
      1. Go to Preferences -> Go -> Vendoring & Build Tags
      2. Add the tag nonativecompiler under 'custom tags'
      3. Create a run configuration for the desired test (by clicking the "play" icon to the left of the test name)
      4. Run it once (to create the run config)
      5. Edit the run config and check "use all custom build tags"
      6. Debug your test


  • We recommend working on the project with GoLand IDE. Recommended settings:

    • Under Preferences | Editor | Code Style | Go make sure Use tab character is checked
  • We reccommend using the same version of Go as per our CI (1.12.9 at the time this line is written)

    • To change Go SDK version in GoLand, go to Preferences | Go | GOROOT, click the + button, choose Download, and choose the version you want to use for this project. As soon as the selected SDK version is installed, GoLand will notify you in the Event Log window. Then go to Preferences | Go | GOPATH and under Project GOPATH choose the location of the SDK you have installed.
  • For easy testing, under Run | Edit Configurations add these Go Test configurations:

    • "Fast" with Directory set to project root and -short flag added to Go tool arguments
    • "All" with Directory set to project root
    • It's also recommended to uncheck Show Ignored tests and check Show Passed in the test panel after running the configuration
    • If you have a failed test which keeps failing due to cache click Rerun Failed Tests in the test panel (it will ignore cache)
  • Running some tests that are unsafe for production deployments requires a special build flag, enable it if you're a core developer:

    • Under Preferences | Go | Vendoring & Build Tags | Custom tags add the tag unsafetests
  • You may enable the following automatic tools that run on file changes:

    • "go fmt" in Preferences | Tools | File Watchers, add with + the go fmt watcher
    • To run tests automatically on save, check Toggle auto-test in the test panel (it's now a core feature of GoLand)
  • Debugging tests may contain very verbose logs, increase console buffer size in Preferences | Editor | General | Console | Override console cycle buffer size = 10024 KB

  • If you experience lags or Low Memory warnings while working with GoLand, increasing its default VM heap size can help:

  • Go to Help | Edit Custom VM Options... and set:



To enable profiling: put "profiling": true in your config.json.

It will enable net/http/pprof package, and you will be able to query pprof via http just as described in the docs.

Debugging with logs

By default, log output is filtered to only errors and metrics. To enable full log, put "logger-full-log": true in your node configuration. It will permanently remove the filter.

If you want to enable or disable this filter in production, there is a way to do that via HTTP API:

curl -XPOST http://$NODE_IP/vchains/$VCHAIN/debug/logs/fiter-on


curl -XPOST http://$NODE_IP/vchains/$VCHAIN/debug/logs/fiter-off

Development principles

Refer to the Contributor's Guide (work in progress)




Orbs node virtual chain core reference implementation in Go



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