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Solana Changelog - Test validator fix, new Syscall, RPC updates, and more

By Changelog

Published on 2024-06-19

Dive into the latest Solana improvements including a test validator fix, new GetEpochStake syscall, RPC updates for interest-bearing tokens, and continued Core BPF migration progress.

The notes below are AI generated and may not be 100% accurate. Watch the video to be sure!

Solana Changelog: Test Validator Fix, New Syscall, RPC Updates, and More

In the latest episode of the Solana Changelog, hosts Nick and Jonas from the Solana Foundation DevRel team dive into the recent developments and improvements in the Solana ecosystem. This week's updates showcase Solana's commitment to enhancing performance, security, and developer experience. Let's explore the key highlights and their implications for the Solana network.

Test Validator Fix: Resolving Cloned Account Issues

One of the most significant updates this week addresses a recent issue with cloning accounts in local validators, particularly when using Anchor. Jean-Chin Quair's commit "Try to reset deploy slot on all cloned accounts" provides a quick fix to this problem, demonstrating Solana's rapid response to developer concerns.

Jonas explains:

"This was a bug where recently people had problems cloning accounts in their local validator, especially using Anchor. Jacob created an issue, and now it's already fixed. So that was very quick and very nice."

This fix is crucial for developers working on Solana projects, as it ensures smoother testing and development processes in local environments.

New Ledger Tool Option: Recording Transactions

Another notable improvement comes in the form of a new option added to the ledger tool. This update allows for writing all transactions directly to disk, which can be incredibly useful in troubleshooting network issues or during restarts.

Jonas highlights the importance of this feature:

"Whenever there's a problem and maybe there's an outage or the network needs to be restarted, now we have a way to write all the transactions actually on the disk. Then you can directly look at them and see which ones actually caused the issues. It would be very helpful in case we ever go down again, which we don't hope."

Nick adds that this tool will also benefit core engineers and the fire drill team in their testing processes:

"It also helps all the core engineers that are doing all the immense testing and probably the fire drill team as well, to do all the testing that they do for testing out new features. So if they're working on a new feature or new bug fixes, they can test it locally in kind of siloed clusters."

This enhancement demonstrates Solana's commitment to maintaining network stability and providing robust tools for diagnosing and resolving potential issues.

Updated Validator Requirements: Keeping Pace with Network Growth

As the Solana network continues to grow and evolve, so too do the requirements for running a validator. The latest update to the documentation recommends increased hardware specifications for validators:

  • 16 cores with 3 GHz
  • 500 GB for snapshots
  • 1 TB for all three account indexes

Jonas notes that these recommendations apply not only to consensus nodes and voting validators but also to RPCs supporting the network by handling transactions.

These updated requirements reflect Solana's commitment to maintaining a high-performance network capable of handling increasing demand and complexity.

RPC Updates: Improved Support for Interest-Bearing Tokens

John Cinque's recent commit brings important updates to RPC endpoints, particularly in handling interest-bearing tokens. This enhancement improves the accuracy of UI amount calculations for tokens using the interest-bearing extension on the token extension program.

Nick explains:

"He updated one of the RPC endpoints, I think actually two of the RPC endpoints, to include some information about interest-bearing tokens. So if you're using the interest-bearing extension on the token extension program, this update actually includes some of that additional information within getting parsed token accounts to actually get the correct UI amount for some of these."

While this update currently applies to specific RPC responses, there are plans to extend this functionality to other areas in the future. This improvement showcases Solana's ongoing efforts to provide accurate and comprehensive information to developers and users interacting with various token types on the network.

New Syscall: GetEpochStake

A significant addition to Solana's capabilities comes in the form of a new syscall, GetEpochStake. This syscall, which will be enabled through a feature gate, opens up new possibilities for on-chain operations.

Jonas highlights some potential use cases:

"It unblocks a few things in the validator. Actually, you can now have on-chain validator governance, for example, and secondary consensus mechanisms. So this was not possible before, so it's nice to have."

Nick adds that this new syscall will also be beneficial for SIMD89, further expanding its potential applications. The introduction of GetEpochStake demonstrates Solana's commitment to providing developers with powerful tools to build more complex and innovative applications on the network.

Optimizing Transaction Processing: Earlier Fee Payer Validation

An important optimization comes from J-Starry's commit, which refactors the point at which validators perform the fee payer check during transaction processing. This change allows validators to process fewer invalid transactions, reducing unnecessary compute usage.

Nick explains the significance of this update:

"Basically refactored when that fee payer check happens. So it makes it so validators will actually process less transactions, they'll do less compute on invalid transactions. So it's a little bit of a nice little optimization there."

This optimization showcases Solana's ongoing efforts to improve network efficiency and reduce unnecessary resource consumption, ultimately contributing to better overall performance.

Core BPF Initiative: Address Lookup Table Program Migration

The Core BPF initiative continues to make progress, with Joe Buffalo preparing the Address Lookup Table (ALT) program for migration to Core BPF. This move, currently under a feature gate, represents another step in Solana's ongoing effort to optimize its core programs.

Nick elaborates on the initiative:

"Joe Buffalo, he's been basically the master of the core BPF initiative. The address lookup table, the ALT program, is ready to be moved to core BPF. So it's under a feature gate and once it's enabled, then we'll have just another program on core BPF. And that initiative just keeps on going."

The Core BPF initiative aims to improve the performance and efficiency of Solana's core programs, contributing to the overall scalability and capabilities of the network.

SIMD-153: ZK ElGamal Proof Program

A new Solana Improvement Document (SIMD) proposal, SIMD-153, introduces the ZK ElGamal Proof program. This proposal aims to decouple zero-knowledge functions from specific programs, making them more widely available as syscalls in the Solana runtime.

Jonas explains the significance of this proposal:

"It's about the ElGamal proof program. So it's what we talked about, I think two weeks ago. So this is more zero-knowledge functions directly as syscalls in the runtime, basically. And like you can do, for example, validate that private key, public key is actually owned by someone else as a zero-knowledge proof and so on."

He further elaborates on the importance of decoupling these functions from the token program:

"The SIMD is mostly about it that it gets decoupled from the token program. Because as you know, like these have been added for the confidential transfers. But theoretically, you can use these ElGamal proofs for all kinds of cool use cases."

While this change may slightly delay the implementation of confidential transfers on mainnet, it opens up a wider range of possibilities for zero-knowledge applications across the Solana ecosystem.

Optimizing Vanity Program ID Generation

An exciting development for developers comes from KV's Twitter thread detailing optimizations for generating vanity program IDs. This optimization significantly speeds up the process of creating custom program addresses on Solana.

Nick expresses his enthusiasm for this development:

"I love vanity addresses. KV here wrote this sweet Twitter thread to describe how you could actually optimize the way that the vanity addresses for programs are created. It just speeds it up a lot, which is like really fun and really cool."

Jonas adds some technical details about the optimization:

"He has very good tricks on how he makes it faster. For example, you don't need the elliptic curve point arithmetic if you just use create account with seed."

While the optimized tool is not yet open-source, KV plans to release it soon, including a GPU version for even faster generation of longer vanity addresses. This development showcases the innovative spirit within the Solana developer community and provides a fun and practical tool for creating unique program identifiers.

Phaser Template Update: Enhancing Web3 Game Development

With the upcoming Solana Game Jam on the horizon, there's exciting news for game developers. The Solana/Phaser template has been updated to incorporate the Tiplink official wallet adapter, offering enhanced functionality for web3 game development.

Jonas highlights the significance of this update:

"This one is really cool because it lets you have a wallet just with the Google email address. So I think this is really cool. Maybe more game SDKs will actually integrate this."

This update simplifies the onboarding process for players, potentially broadening the reach of Solana-based games. The open-source nature of this template encourages further innovation and collaboration within the Solana gaming community.

Optimizing Solana Programs: Lessons from Stockpile V2

Developer Joey's article on optimizing the Stockpile V2 program offers valuable insights for Solana developers looking to improve their program's efficiency. The article details Joey's firsthand experience in optimizing compute usage within his program, with a focus on implementing quadratic funding mechanisms.

Nick emphasizes the relevance of this article:

"He details a whole bunch of stuff in there, talks a lot about quadratic funding and how that works and how to optimize that specifically. So it was a nice little, really great developer-focused article."

Jonas adds that with the new Solana scheduler, optimizing programs for compute unit (CU) efficiency has become even more critical. This article, along with other resources provided by the Solana team, offers developers practical guidance on improving their program's performance.

Solana 1.18 Release: Understanding the New Scheduler

An informative article from Helios, authored by Ichigo, provides an in-depth look at the Solana 1.18 release, with a particular focus on the new scheduler. This article offers valuable insights into the inner workings of Solana, covering topics such as ingress, signature verification, and the banking stage.

Jonas recommends the article:

"It's a very good read. So I would totally recommend this as a new scheduler. It's like this dependency graph of accounts to be able to better put the transaction in the block."

This article serves as an excellent resource for developers and enthusiasts looking to deepen their understanding of Solana's architecture and recent improvements.

Stack Exchange: Fostering Community Knowledge Sharing

The Solana Stack Exchange continues to be a vibrant hub of knowledge sharing and problem-solving within the community. This week's top contributors include familiar names like Jimmy, Joey, Ari White Seal, Jonas, Shalda, and Lula7.

Nick and Jonas express their appreciation for the ongoing efforts of Stack Exchange contributors:

"Great work, everyone on Stack Exchange this past week. Really, really cool stuff."

The active participation on Stack Exchange demonstrates the strength and collaborative spirit of the Solana developer community, ensuring that knowledge and solutions are readily available to those building on the platform.

Conclusion: Solana's Continuous Improvement and Innovation

This week's Solana Changelog highlights the platform's commitment to continuous improvement and innovation. From optimizing core processes and introducing new capabilities to enhancing developer tools and fostering community knowledge sharing, Solana continues to evolve as a leading blockchain platform.

The updates discussed in this episode showcase Solana's focus on performance, security, and developer experience. With ongoing initiatives like the Core BPF migration, new syscalls, and RPC enhancements, Solana is positioning itself for sustained growth and adoption in the rapidly evolving blockchain landscape.

As the ecosystem continues to expand, with exciting developments in areas like gaming and zero-knowledge applications, Solana remains at the forefront of blockchain innovation. The platform's responsiveness to developer needs and its commitment to providing robust tools and resources ensure that Solana will continue to attract and support a diverse range of projects and applications.

Stay tuned for more updates and improvements as Solana continues its journey towards becoming the most performant and developer-friendly blockchain platform in the world.

Facts + Figures

  • A fix for cloning accounts in local validators, particularly when using Anchor, was implemented and quickly resolved.
  • A new option in the ledger tool allows writing all transactions directly to disk, aiding in troubleshooting and testing processes.
  • Updated validator requirements now recommend 16 cores with 3 GHz, 500 GB for snapshots, and 1 TB for all three account indexes.
  • RPC endpoints were updated to include information about interest-bearing tokens, improving UI amount calculations.
  • A new syscall, GetEpochStake, was introduced, enabling on-chain validator governance and secondary consensus mechanisms.
  • Transaction processing was optimized by performing fee payer checks earlier, reducing compute on invalid transactions.
  • The Address Lookup Table program is ready to be moved to Core BPF, continuing the Core BPF initiative.
  • SIMD-153 proposes decoupling the ZK ElGamal Proof program from the token program, expanding its potential use cases.
  • An optimization for generating vanity program IDs can now handle up to nine digits in the public key.
  • The Solana/Phaser template was updated to use the Tipllink official wallet adapter, enhancing web3 game development.
  • The Solana 1.18 release introduced a new scheduler using a dependency graph of accounts to optimize transaction placement in blocks.
  • Stack Exchange continues to be an active hub for Solana developers, with several regular contributors recognized for their efforts.

Questions Answered

What improvements were made to the test validator?

A fix was implemented to resolve issues with cloning accounts in local validators, particularly when using Anchor. This quick resolution demonstrates Solana's responsiveness to developer needs and ensures smoother testing and development processes in local environments.

How has the ledger tool been enhanced?

A new option has been added to the ledger tool that allows for writing all transactions directly to disk. This feature is crucial for troubleshooting network issues, assisting during restarts, and enabling core engineers and the fire drill team to conduct more effective testing of new features and bug fixes in isolated clusters.

What are the updated hardware requirements for Solana validators?

The latest documentation recommends increased hardware specifications for validators. These include 16 cores with 3 GHz, 500 GB for snapshots, and 1 TB for all three account indexes. These updated requirements apply to both consensus nodes and RPCs, reflecting the growing demands of the Solana network.

How have RPC endpoints been improved for interest-bearing tokens?

Recent updates to RPC endpoints now include information about interest-bearing tokens. This enhancement improves the accuracy of UI amount calculations for tokens using the interest-bearing extension on the token extension program, providing more precise information to developers and users interacting with these token types.

What new syscall has been introduced and what does it enable?

A new syscall called GetEpochStake has been introduced. This syscall, once enabled through a feature gate, will allow for on-chain validator governance and secondary consensus mechanisms. It opens up new possibilities for developers to build more complex and innovative applications on the Solana network.

How has transaction processing been optimized?

Transaction processing has been optimized by refactoring the point at which validators perform the fee payer check. This change allows validators to process fewer invalid transactions, reducing unnecessary compute usage and improving overall network efficiency.

What progress has been made in the Core BPF initiative?

The Address Lookup Table (ALT) program is now ready to be moved to Core BPF, representing another step in Solana's ongoing effort to optimize its core programs. This migration, currently under a feature gate, is part of the broader Core BPF initiative aimed at improving the performance and efficiency of Solana's fundamental components.

What does SIMD-153 propose regarding zero-knowledge proofs?

SIMD-153 proposes decoupling the ZK ElGamal Proof program from the token program. This change would make zero-knowledge functions more widely available as syscalls in the Solana runtime, expanding their potential use cases beyond confidential transfers to a broader range of applications across the Solana ecosystem.

How has vanity program ID generation been improved?

An optimization for generating vanity program IDs has been developed, significantly speeding up the process. This optimization can now handle up to nine digits in the public key and plans are in place for a GPU version that could enable even longer vanity addresses. This development provides developers with a fun and practical tool for creating unique program identifiers.

What updates have been made to support web3 game development on Solana?

The Solana/Phaser template has been updated to incorporate the Tipllink official wallet adapter. This enhancement simplifies the process of integrating wallets into web3 games, allowing players to use their Google email address for wallet creation. This update aims to improve the onboarding experience for players and potentially broaden the reach of Solana-based games.

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