Founder’s Guide to Building Decentralized Web Applications (Dapps)

author

Max Litvinov

Sep 28, 2021 | 21 min read

Blog

Decentralized Web Applications popularly known as Dapps have been gaining attention lately. In 2019, the Daaps market was valued at only USD 10.52 Billion, however, experts predict that by the year 2027, it’ll exceed USD 368.25 Billion. 

But why is building Dapps a big deal, are they any better than our traditional apps?

While it’s debatable, the short answer is, yes. To help you better understand “why?”, let’s start with the definition of Daaps.

What is Dapp – decentralized application?

Decentralized apps are programs built on blockchain technology or peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. Unlike regular applications controlled from a centralized location by a particular organization or government, Dapps back-end is decentralized and independent from individual control. These applications leverage smart contracts to build avenues where various industries, including the gaming and financial sectors, can perform tasks without centralized authorities.

In simpler terms, Decentralized Applications (Dapps) do not rely on the traditional client-server network model, which requires a central controlling authority to enable changes in the network and its maintenance. Instead, Dapps use a network of computers called nodes to function. These nodes are all equal participants in maintaining the network, and all actions are carried out independently at each node. As a result, all participating nodes have a complete record of the transactions. 

As much as other alternative blockchain networks exist, a more significant percentage of decentralized apps are built on Ethereum. The reason being, Ethereum has an excellent interface where developers can quickly and easily build decentralized apps. Also, the blockchain network allows for the quick launch of these applications.

If you want to tap into this lucrative business and wondering how to create Dapps, you are not alone. While hiring an in-house team of developers to build a decentralized blockchain app from scratch might seem ideal, it can be both a daunting task and expensive. Most companies outsource to reputable software development companies in Eastern Europe. Appvales is one of the leading in the region, and is well known for designing, building, testing, and deploying complex web and mobile applications. 

The company offers two options, you can let them handle the whole end-to-end product development of your Daap or they can serve as an extension to your product team through their dedicated engineers. Over the past few years, Appvales has successfully helped many companies bring their out-of-the-box business dreams to life, don’t hesitate to contact them

Daaps vs. Traditional web apps

The standard web app, for instance, Twitter or Uber functions on a privately owned computer system. That means the organization that owns and operates the computer system’s backend has unlimited authority over the app and its function. And with such great power, app-owning organizations can control how the users operate, for example, what they can post, visibility, etc.

DApps on the other hand operate on a blockchain network or a P2P network. Good examples of applications that run on a P2P network are Tor, Popcorn Time, and BitTorrent. These apps operate on computers that are part of the P2P network, and multiple people can consume, feed, or seed content, among many other functions without limitation.

In the context of blockchain, cryptocurrencies are the perfect example. They run on a blockchain network in a decentralized environment,  public and open-source. That gives them independence from control and interference by any single organization or government. For instance, if there was a Twitter-like dApp on blockchain, it would allow any user to publish messages. However, once posted, no one will be able to delete or alter the message. This includes the app developers and government.

Furthermore, Dapps brought a way to eliminate a single point of failure common with centralized ecosystems, and this is one of the reasons why its use case has exploded.

Key features of Dapps

Ever since the popularity of Dapps shot up and their benefits became well-known, many businesses are taking a keen interest in how to build decentralized applications.

However, before we get into the intricacies of how to create Dapps, understanding their key features is vital. This will give you a clearer understanding of how decentralized applications work, which goes a long way to ensure you make an efficient and functional program.

Most of the features of the decentralized technology will rub off on Dapps. So, without further ado, here are some of the critical elements that make Dapps interesting;

  • Decentralized: One of the most prominent features of Dapps, as their name suggests, is they are decentralized. The applications are built on the blockchain. Hence, the programs are run by network actors, and no single organization can control or shut down its functions.
  • Lack of intermediaries: Unlike centralized applications, Dapps cut out the need for intermediaries. Instead, smart contracts automate and manage the system. As such, it eliminates the need for a central figure to authorize activities on the network. 

If, for example, you were to build an app like Twitter on blockchain technology, app users would be able to post and tweet. However, even you, as the app owner, would not be able to delete the tweets. You do not have the authority to do so.

  • Open-source: Dapps are created using open-source codes which means that the codebase is open to the general public for continuous improvement and review. Thus, Dapps are easily customizable and can integrate with various systems, software, and tools, resulting in efficient use and administration of the application.
  • No downtime: One of the well-known characteristics of Dapps is there is never a central point of failure, as is the case with centralized applications running on a single hosting server. Dapps are connected to several nodes across the globe, which eliminates the risk of the entire network collapsing.  
  • Censorship resistance: Dapps can not be held at ransom by a centralized figure of authority since they are not controlled from one server.

Let’s again use the Twitter example. If, for some reason, Twitter needed to shut down tweets today, all the owners need to do is cut off communication to the central server. However, if the application were built as a Dapp instead, this would not be possible. Since Dapps operates on a peer-to-peer network, one node could be communicating with other nodes in the network, which will keep the tweets flowing. As such, it is tough for one figure to censor the network or gain control of it.  

  • Incentive: Most Dapps employ one of the use cases of blockchain–cryptocurrency in their solution. For instance, a gaming Dapp can have a token attached to it to incentivize its users every time they play a game. The same goes for Betting Dapps, as users may have to place their bets with the token. Also, users and miners on the network can be rewarded with the token. 
  • Protocol / Algorithm: Dapps are built using specific algorithms that can aid in generating tokens that will serve as rewards for network participants
  • Blockchain Data: The blockchain is an essential feature of DApps as they are stored cryptographically on the distributed ledger. 

Dapps Types 

Dapps are classified according to the blockchain model and algorithm it is built on. If you are looking forward to building Dapps, these are the three types of Dapps you need to know. 

  • Type 1 Dapps: These Dapps are built on their blockchains, such as Ethereum and bitcoin. You can also find them on other alternative coins that have their blockchain.
  • Type 2 Dapps: in this category, we find decentralized applications that leverage on the Type 1 blockchain. To function, they have to issue out tokens necessary for their functionality and rewarding participants in the blockchain. Most Ethereum based smart contracts apps are built on the Type 2 Dapp.

One example of this type of decentralized application is the Omni Protocol built on the Bitcoin blockchain. Facilitated by smart contracts, Omni acts as a layer that allows users to trade and bet with tokens while eliminating the need for intermediaries.

  • Type 3 Dapps:  These types of decentralized programs leverage Type 2 Dapp protocol to underwrite any token they issue. A Type 3 Dapp is a great option, especially if you want to build a decentralized website. A good example is the SAFE Network (Secure Access for Everyone) which leverages the Omni protocol to issue Safecoins. The SAFE network is an autonomous decentralized data network that enables the creation of websites and applications that can withstand censorship. 

How Does The Process of Building Decentralized Application (Dapp) Look Like?

Dapps are the new frontier in the programming world and are an excellent way to increase revenue. As expected, many companies are eager to build on this ground-breaking technology.

In this section, we will look at things that should remain top of mind when you build a decentralized blockchain app. 

Let’s dive into details.

UI/UX design: 

The user interface and user experience (UI/UX) are the first things you should consider in your decentralized application design & development.

These two elements usually go together since the UI contains all aesthetic elements that would enable ease of interaction with the Dapp, significantly impacting the user experience. These aesthetic elements include icons, buttons, menu bars, colors, typography, etc. 

The importance of UI cannot be over-emphasized. An excellently designed UI is attractive, which improves user experience. In turn, you will witness increased traffic to your decentralized website or application.

Tech stack selection:

It is essential to ensure that you select the tech stack needed for the Dapp software development.  A technology stack contains the software, tools, frameworks, and programming languages required for the client-side and server-side to create and develop the decentralized site or application.

You may pick a tech stack based on your preferences. However, it would be best if you first considered the scope of the project. Which blockchain protocol, framework, hosting, or API would be your Dapp’s best suit? Which tools will facilitate a more accessible and quicker Dapp development process?

Development stage (backend + frontend): 

The efficiency and functionality of decentralized applications majorly depend on the front-end and back-end development. 

Front-end development involves writing codes that design the app’s visual elements, while back-end development is the programming of all background processes. Just like regular apps, developers write the DApp code in their preferred language. 

The use of smart contracts, for instance, is essential in the development of Dapp on Ethereum, which is something you need to consider. Also, the frontend code can be hosted on decentralized storage such as IPFS or Swarm.

Additionally, If you want to learn how to develop Dapps, you must grasp Solidity, the standard programming language developers use to build Dapps on its most popular platform – Ethereum. Other alternatives to Solidity include Vyper, an experimental language that increases simplicity and security. Vyper is much simpler and makes the code less buggy as it is human-readable. Simplicity is another interesting language that uses static analysis tools to cut down costs. It also uses Coq to avoid hacks and denial of service.  

Deployment and Testing:

After you have coded your Dapp, it’s time for deployment. However, don’t be in a rush.

Decentralized applications are hard to alter. Also, they will be stored in the blockchain for good. As such, you need to be sure that the application functions exactly how you want it.

To confirm that the Dapp is efficient, launch it on a testnet. Ensure the codes are examined, test them for functionality, and fix any bugs before the codes go live. It is only after thoroughly testing the Dapp and affirming its efficiency that you can launch it.

These are the primary development stages you should familiarize yourself with if you want to know how to create a decentralized website or application that is both efficient and functional.

You can also choose to build the Dapp from scratch or on an existing network or protocol. However, there are unique challenges that come with learning how to develop Dapps. For instance, the development process is intensive, one of the key reasons why you may need to outsource. The importance of a development team that has an in-depth understanding of the features required, smart contracts, and the ideal decentralized application platform cannot be over-emphasized.

Minimal Team Roles Needed: 

When it comes to building a decentralized app it takes a team of dedicated and experienced software developers to take your idea from the ideation stage to deployment. 

Here are the team members you should round up to work on the Dapp to ensure its success.

  • Project Manager

The success of your decentralized web application lies in the competence of the project manager. 

The project manager is in charge of planning, budgeting, and ensuring the completion of the project by overseeing the people working on it. 

  • Front-end developer

The design of your Dapp, structure, and functionality lie in your front-end developers’ expertise. The aesthetic and functional design is balanced and optimized to ensure users can access and navigate the application via mobile or desktop fast and with ease.

  • Back-end developer 

The back-end developer builds and maintains the components that make up the application’s background processes. They write codes that execute user commands and actions.

  • Blockchain developer

Since the Dapps is built on blockchain technology, there is a need for blockchain developers. These developers are responsible for deploying smart contracts, data structures, and cryptography.  

  • Business analyst

There is a bridge between your tech idea and its delivery to your target audience, and a business analyst can ensure the application’s success in the market. They will conduct business analysis on the application, your target audience, and its overall profitability.

  • DevOps engineer

A DevOps engineer ensures balance in the Dapp development life cycle, from inception to programming, deployment, and maintenance. 

  • Quality assurance engineer

A quality assurance engineer ensures that every aspect of the decentralized web applications works as it should from the commencement of the project to its launch. They test the application at each stage to ensure it is up to standards and in compliance with the relevant regulations.

How Much Would It Cost to Build a Decentralized Application (Dapp)?

There are multiple factors to consider when building a decentralized app, and one of them is the cost. 

How much will it cost to take the Dapp from the Ideation stage to deployment?

This is a question many entrepreneurs want to be answered.

Dapp development will cost anything from $10,000 to $100,000. 

These figures are far-stretched because the cost of building a Dapp depends on various moving parts. For instance, the project’s complexity- its functionality, mutability, and interconnectivity with other ecosystems – is a major factor determining the amount of money you will invest in a decentralized application.

Also, you have to consider the price of third-party tools that a developer will integrate into the application. An excellent example of these third-party tools includes analytics, bug tracking tools, etc. Besides, continuous integrations and maintenance of your decentralized mobile apps is another expense to expect.

How We Built Yield Farming Pool Web Application Using React.js and Avalanche 

It took eight weeks to build the PenguinFinance Dapp using React.js – a programming language, and Avalanche, one of the fastest smart contracts available. In the end, we birthed Penguinfinance, a decentralized web application and crypto platform that provides yield farming on the Avalanche network. One of the features that make Avalanche ideal to create a decentralized website is that its validators secure its activities on the network using the proof-of-stake protocol. It is also very fast, low cost, and high performing. 

Key features 

Some of the key features of the Penguin Finance Dapp includes

  • Unlock Wallet. Users can compare their achievements actively, creating a competitive environment that makes an entirely transparent market for this cryptocurrency. 
  • Launchpad. This feature gives users of the platform fair access to funding. It is also a convenient way to deposit and withdraw currency, working with crypto exchanges and cold wallets.
  • Events. Users can participate in community events and get incentivized. Community events also include competing for the position of Emperor.
  • Compounder. Users can buy deposits from other users. 

Security and functionality are other factors that a software developer will look out for while creating a Dapp solution. With the PenguinFinance project, we successfully deployed the project with our team of dedicated experts. 

Would you like to build a decentralized application platform, just like Penguin Finance? Appvales.com is your best bet. Contact us today, and let’s talk about building a great crypto website.

Boutique App Development Company

Appvales is a mobile development partner that helps you design, build, test and deploy apps. We can handle end-to-end product development or collaborate with your product team with dedicated mobile developers.

Get project estimation bg bg
author
Written by:

Max Litvinov

CEO at Appvales

IT enthusiast, investor, entrepreneur. Bringing the offshore mobile development to the next level.

Boutique App
Development Company

You have an app idea. We know how to build it. Let's talk.

Get project estimation bg