Talking Ethereum: The State of Developer Dialogue in 2016


Raine Revere is a developer and teacher with over 15 years of coding experience, and a leading voice in the developing field of ethereum smart contract security.

In this CoinDesk 2016 in Review special feature, Revere gives an introductory overview of the ethereum community, the ins and outs of its developer communications, and where he/she believes there’s room for dialogue to improve in 2017. 

As 2016 comes to a close, it is a great time to reflect on how the latest cryptographic techniques and distributed apps (dapps) have been pioneered and developed within the collective knowledge sharing of the open-source community – whether by a team or through the passion of the individual engineer.

Through my experience as an ethereum dapp developer, I have come to learn the ins and outs of this fledgling community and, as we head into 2017, I would like to share my observations and introduce you to the different types of developers often working behind the scenes.

For non-developers, this may be your first glimpse into who is behind ethereum and the social aspect of being a dapp developer. It will help you better understand where ideas come from, how developers communicate and how the technology evolves with community participation.

For developers new to the ethereum world, you will learn what the main resources are and how you can effectively ask for help.

Protocol developers

Ethereum itself is developed by a talented team of developers employed by the Ethereum Foundation.

These developers and researchers are responsible for security, network stability, consensus mechanisms, scaling, protocols and interfaces, fork implementation and rollout, guidance to miners, the smart contract programming language (Solidity), the web API and the Go ethereum (Geth) client – yes, a lot!

Ethereum Foundation developers carry the greatest responsibility, as they deal with both critical network functions such as consensus and security, along with protocol definitions that serve as the platform for app developers. These developers maintain private communication for internal work, yet they are intermittently active on public channels such as reddit and gitter and often interact with the broader community.

They are primarily concerned with building a stable and powerful foundation which will enable the long-term value of ethereum, yet they also carry the responsibility of taking short-term steps (such as proposing hard forks) in the case of emergent security or stability concerns on the network.

Dapp developers

The other segment of developers, making up the bulk of the developer community, are distributed application developers.

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