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Breakpoint 2023: Solana RPC 2.0 Roundtable

Key insights from industry experts on the future of RPC 2.0 in Solana and its impact on blockchain development.

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

Summary

At Breakpoint 2023, a diverse panel of speakers gathered to discuss the future of Solana’s Remote Procedure Call (RPC) interface, with the conversation centered around the upcoming RPC 2.0. The discussion highlighted the different ways various blockchain developers and users interact with and view RPCs, and what improvements are sought in the next iteration. The panel featured Brian Long, Noah Prince, Nicolas Pennie, and Mango Max, who each brought their unique perspective and experience to the conversation.

Key Points:

The Different Interpretations and Uses of RPC 2.0

The Remote Procedure Call (RPC) in Solana is a critical infrastructure component that allows external applications to interact with the blockchain. However, it turns out RPC 2.0 has different meanings to different stakeholders. For example, Mango Markets is focused on high-performance RPCs for DeFi and traders, who require speed and efficiency. On the other hand, frontend developers like Noah are more concerned with the creative potential and what infrastructure is needed for innovation in app development.

Geyser and Webhooks in Solana's Blockchain

In the discussion, Max from Mango Markets explained that Geyser was a solution to effectively stream account information out of the validator into another system to run queries more efficiently. This innovation came in response to issues experienced in 2021 when RPC nodes took on heavy loads, leading to performance bottlenecks. Noah Prince added insights into webhooks, which push data to a consumer in an event-driven architecture, and Web sockets, another method for data transmission that allows live data feeds through open connections.

The Dream of Decentralized Applications

A topic Noah brought to the table was the evolution of Web3, which initially allowed developers to simply write frontend code without worrying about backend infrastructure. However, as Solana's ecosystem and account data grew, performance issues arose, and developers found themselves dealing with data pipelines again. Noah highlighted their love for the composability of Web3 and the potential for building applications that anyone could deploy without the need for managing custom backend infrastructure.

Searching and Indexing Data on Solana

The panel spent considerable time discussing the complexities and challenges of indexing data on Solana for efficient searching and querying. Currently, developers often download entire datasets to perform search operations locally, resulting in inefficient processes. Nicolas emphasized the difficulties and trade-offs involved in specifying a comprehensive querying API across the network, with concerns about the size and complexity of indexing.

Facts + Figures

  • RPC is a critical component that allows external applications to interact with Solana's blockchain.
  • Geyser solution came out in response to RPC nodes' performance bottlenecks in 2021.
  • The panelists included Brian Long, Noah Prince, Nicolas Pennie, and Mango Max, representing varied perspectives on RPC 2.0.
  • Initially, Web3 development on Solana allowed simple frontend development, pushing backend complications downstream.
  • The current search and indexing methods involve downloading entire datasets for local operations, which is inefficient.
  • Opinions on indexing range from necessity in all programs to being complicated and adding extra layers of complexity to RPC providers.

Top quotes

  • "Mango Markets has been working on an RPC 2.0 spec, mostly on high performance for DeFi and for traders."
  • "Noah is here because he likes to rant. He said it's pretty good Twitter rants."
  • "He's the guy who actually does stuff at Helius."
  • "Geyser was this, I think, the big cure to the initial issues with Git program accounts."
  • "Traders don't use simulations. You lose too many milliseconds, you lose the ARB."
  • "I think there's like a, I think the graph on Ethereum does something like this, but I haven't dug too deep into it."
  • "I hadn't had my coffee so."
  • "If you want to go hard mode and go raw, then yeah, you can do some stuff if you want, but uh, most people won't."
  • "We can probably solve for 99% of these use cases."

Questions Answered

What is RPC 2.0 in the context of Solana?

RPC 2.0 in the context of Solana refers to the next iteration of the Remote Procedure Call interface, which is an essential infrastructure component for external applications to interact with Solana's blockchain. The improvements sought in RPC 2.0 are designed to address issues such as performance bottlenecks, efficiency in handling data, and simplifying the development process for DeFi, traders, and app builders.

Why is the concept of Geyser important?

Geyser is important because it was introduced as a solution to handle performance issues with RPC nodes. Back in 2021, the community faced bottlenecks where queries to RPC nodes were causing slowdowns and inefficiencies. Geyser streamlines the process by streaming account data out of the validator into another system. This allows for more efficient management and querying of account data.

How does the development journey look like on Solana from a beginner to a large-scale application?

According to Noah Prince, the development journey in Solana starts at localhost, permitting developers to test and run code in a controlled environment. From there, it progresses to DevNet, where a version is tested in a Solana test network. Finally, the application moves onto the Solana mainnet, where it experiences real-world use and traffic. Throughout this process, developers aim to maintain consistency of APIs and performance across different deployment environments.

What are the challenges faced by developers in searching and indexing data on Solana?

Developers face challenges in searching and indexing data on Solana because it involves downloading and processing entire datasets for local search operations. This process is highly inefficient and demands considerable resources. There are ongoing discussions about the complexities and trade-offs involved in specifying a comprehensive querying API that could streamline these operations.

What's the debate on indexing in Solana about?

The debate on indexing in Solana revolves around the decisions on whether to make indexing a universal feature across all RPC providers or allow it to vary depending on individual providers' capability and offerings. This also ties into the discussion on who bears the cost of indexing — whether it should be offset to RPC provider infrastructure layers or passed down to the developers and users of the network.