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Breakpoint 2023: ExplorerKit: The Future Standard of Parsing?

Breakpoint 2023 explores the feasibility of ExplorerKit as the new industry standard for parsing blockchain transactions, events, and more.

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


During Breakpoint 2023, Nick Chen, co-founder and CEO of SolanaFM, along with staff engineer Zamiel Chia, introduced ExplorerKit (EK), a new open-source parsing tool that promises to revolutionize the way developers work with blockchain data. They pointed out the limitations of current parsing options in terms of performance and the difficulty in understanding various instructions and transactions that occur on the blockchain. Expanding on these topics, they highlighted how ExplorerKit provides a unified standard for parsing transactions, accounts, events, and errors—all using the IDL (Interface Description Language) standard. This simplification aims to greatly reduce the time developers spend on building parsing abstractions for different programs, thereby accelerating development cycles and reducing front-end application bundle sizes.

Key Points:

Introduction to ExplorerKit and Its Creators

Nick Chen and Zamiel Chia, the speakers from SolanaFM, introduced the audience to ExplorerKit, an SDK designed to parse blockchain data more efficiently. They underlined the need for such a tool since the blockchain developers often struggle with non-standardized processes for decoding and deserializing data, which can lead to increased complexity and development time.

The Problem with Current Parsing Tools

The current tools available for parsing blockchain data are limited and often require a substantial amount of manual effort from developers. The presentation highlighted the inefficiency in handling different types of blockchain data, such as the Phoenix order book program which isn't decoded or deserialized in a standard manner, leading to confusion and delays in development.

The Advantages of Using ExplorerKit

ExplorerKit offers a significant advantage by providing a unified standard for parsing various forms of blockchain data. It comes with support for both native and anchor-based programs, all of which conform to the IDL standard. This leads to a more efficient decoding process, adds robustness, and reduces the need for a diverse set of parsing tools.

Technical Demonstration of ExplorerKit

The speakers also gave a technical walkthrough of how ExplorerKit functions, showing the simplicity of its use, and the powerful results it delivers. By demonstrating the decoding of instructions and accounts with minimal code, they showed ExplorerKit's potential to streamline data visualization and interaction on the blockchain.

Facts + Figures

  • ExplorerKit is an open-source parser announced by Nicholas Chen and Zamiel Chia from SolanaFM at Breakpoint 2023.
  • It parses various blockchain data types, such as transactions, accounts, events, and errors using a unified standard.
  • ExplorerKit addresses the problem of non-decoded or non-deserialized instructions in the current SolanaFM explorer.
  • IDLs are utilized in ExplorerKit to achieve a standardized parsing process, even for native programs.
  • ExplorerKit can also reduce bundle sizes in front-end applications by reducing the need for multiple SDKs.
  • The tool supports two types of IDLs: anchor-based and shared through a keynoted B3.
  • ExplorerKit has been designed with a focus on both deserialization and serialization support, while also working towards supporting new encoding like ByteMark.
  • The open-source tool is expected to be compatible with the upcoming Web3.js client update.
  • SolanaFM encourages open-source contributions and has shared the ExplorerKit codebase on GitHub for community development and enhancement.

Top quotes

  • "We're going to open source our parsers because we know everyone else will value add themselves from here." - Nicholas Chen
  • "ExplorerKit is a parser. It parses everything in one unified standard." - Nicholas Chen
  • "You use EK and you go straight right on. You don't have to spend so much time." - Nicholas Chen
  • "Currently ExplorerKit is using anchor SDK as well to settle whatever parsing has to be done with an anchor IDL." - Zamiel Chia
  • "ExplorerKit was mainly built with the mind of trying to solve the problem with both the same generator IDLs and because of the same generator IDLs, then we've Solana." - Zamiel Chia
  • "We will generate an in-memory layout... it's like the blueprint to deserialize the instruction itself." - Zamiel Chia
  • "So with this, then let's see... We're able to decode a stake account." - Zamiel Chia
  • "I'm able to decode an account by itself with generic like the data that comes out from the parser is all the same." - Zamiel Chia
  • "But if we hook up the explorer key to an RPC, we will get the JSON parsed data on our site, all run with ExplorerKit." - Zamiel Chia
  • "Everyone has their own struggles in deserializing data and trying to access data from different types of programs." - Nicholas Chen

Questions Answered

What is ExplorerKit?

ExplorerKit is an open-source parser toolkit introduced by SolanaFM at Breakpoint 2023. It aims to become a standardized tool for developers to parse transactions, accounts, events, and errors uniformly across different blockchain programs, simplifying the deserialization process and enhancing developer efficiency.

Why was ExplorerKit created?

ExplorerKit was created to address the complexities and inefficiencies involved in parsing different types of blockchain data, which often require developers to use a variety of specialized tools. By providing a unified standard through the use of IDLs, ExplorerKit reduces development time and makes data easier to work with and understand.

How does ExplorerKit benefit developers?

ExplorerKit offers developers a simplified approach to parsing blockchain data by eliminating the need for multiple specialized SDKs. This results in reduced front-end application bundle sizes and shortened development cycles, allowing developers to focus on building more innovative and robust blockchain applications.

Can developers contribute to the ExplorerKit project?

Yes, developers can contribute to the ExplorerKit project as it is open-source and available on GitHub. SolanaFM has encouraged the community to publish IDLs, create issues for review, and help in increasing the coverage of programs that can be parsed using the toolkit.

What future improvements are planned for ExplorerKit?

Future improvements for ExplorerKit include adding serialization support for broader application use, improving encoding support for protocols like ByteMark, reducing the bundle size of the package, and expanding compatibility with the new Web3.js client update. They are also working on increasing the coverage of programs that can be parsed within the explorer environment.