Get Building

In Quick Start you installed Holochain and built a templated forum application. Here you will use the scaffolding tool to build your own application and learn the basic commands for using the scaffold.


Holochain installed as per Quick Start

Scaffold a custom Holochain application

For this example we will scaffold the canonical example, a to-do hApp.

Run the holochain scaffolding tool by typing in your terminal:

nix run github:/holochain/holochain#hc-scaffold -- web-app

You should then see:

? App name (no whitespaces):

Type our hApp’s name using snake_casing: super_todos. You should then see:

? Choose UI framework: ›
❯ Vue

Use the arrow keys to select a UI framework for your front-end and then press <enter>.

For this example choose Svelte and press <enter>. You should then see:

? Do you want to set up the holonix development environment for this project? ›
❯ Yes (recommended)

Choose Yes and press <enter>.

You should then see Setting up nix development environment... with some details of what is being added, followed by instructions of next steps for setting up the development environment for your hApp and continuing to scaffold more of its elements. Let’s follow those instructions. First, enter the hApp project directory:

cd super_todos

Now fire up the nix development shell (which makes all scaffolding tools as well as the Holochain binaries directly available from the command-line) with:

nix develop

You should see:

Holochain development shell spawned. Type exit to leave.

Finally we need to install the npm dependencies with:

npm install

Now let’s continue scaffolding our happ by creating a new DNA using the scaffolding tool which is now directly available in the shell. Type:

hc scaffold dna

You should then see:

? DNA name (snake_case):

Many hApps have just one DNA, so in this case you can just type: todos You should then see:

DNA "todos" scaffolded!

DNAs are comprised of code modules, which we call zomes. A DNA should have at least two zomes, an integrity zome which declares your DNAs data structures and validation code, and a coordinator zome which contains, among other things, the API functions your UI will call to access your DNA.

Create your DNA’s first zomes with:

hc scaffold zome

You should then see:

? What do you want to scaffold? ›
❯ Integrity/coordinator zome-pair (recommended)
Only an integrity zome
Only a coordinator zome

Press <enter> to select Integrity/coordinator zome-pair. You should then see:

? Enter coordinator zome name (snake_case):
(The integrity zome will automatically be named '{name of coordinator zome}_integrity')

Type in a name for the zome. In this case we can just use the same name as the DNA todos. You should then see:

? Scaffold integrity zome in folder "dnas/todos/zomes/integrity/"? (y/n)

Press y (this option is for advanced users who may have set up a different folder structure). You should then see:

Integrity zome "todo_integrity" scaffolded!
? Scaffold coordinator zome in "dnas/todos/zomes/coordinator/"? (y/n) ›

Press y again.

You will then see Coordinator zome "todos" scaffolded! along with output from the intial downloading and setting up of the Holochain Rust HDK, followed by instructions for adding your first entry type.

Now we get to the really exciting part! In the next steps you will specify your data model, and the scaffolding tool will automatically add both zome and UI code to your hApp.

In our to-do hApp every to-do item is stored as an entry. So let’s add new entry definitions with:

  hc scaffold entry-type

You should see:

✔ Entry type name (snake_case): ·

Enter the name todo_item. You should then see:

Which fields should the entry contain?

? Choose field type: ›
❯ String
Option of...
Vector of...

The scaffolding tool is smart about adding different data type fields to your entry. For our example we will just have a text field describing the to-do item. So press <enter> to select String.

You should see:

? Field name: ›

Enter the name description. You should then see:

? Should this field be visible in the UI? (y/n) ›

Press y. You should then see:

? Choose widget to render this field: ›
❯ TextArea

Press <enter> to choose a TextArea because we want the description to be able to be multi-lines. You should then see:

? Add another field to the entry? (y/n) ›

Press n. You should then see:

? Which CRUD functions should be scaffolded (SPACE to select/unselect, ENTER to continue)? ›
✔ Update
✔ Delete

The scaffolding tool can add zome and UI functions for updating and deleting entries. In the case of our to-do app we want to be able to do both, which is the default, so just press <enter>. You should then see:

? Should a link from the original entry be created when this entry is updated? ›
❯ Yes (more storage cost but better read performance, recommended)
No (less storage cost but worse read performance)

Because Holochain stores data in append-only source chains, updating requires choosing a strategy of how to find updated data. The scaffolding tool allows you to choose between two strategies, one where updates are only linked to the previous version, and one where there is also a link added to the original entry for each update. For this use case either strategy would work fine, so press <enter> to choose the default. You should then see:

Entry type "todo_item" scaffolded!

The final step is create a collection that can be used to render all of to-do items that users create. To create a collection, type:

  hc scaffold collection

You should then see:

Collection name (snake_case, eg. "all_posts"): ›

Enter my_todos and press <enter>. You should then see:

? Which type of collection should be scaffolded? ›
❯ Global (get all entries of the selected entry types)
By author (get entries of the selected entry types that a given author has created)

Use the arrow key to select By author and press <enter>. You should then see:

? Which entry type should be collected? ›
❯ TodoItem

Press <enter>. You should then see:

Collection "my_todos" scaffolded!

You have now scaffolded your first Holochain hApp. To see it in action type:

npm start

After some compilation time you should see a browser window opened with the playground (our live Holochain state inspector) running in it, followed by two windows (opened by the hc-launch tool). These windows simulate two separate agents running our application.

The windows should not be very exciting yet, because we haven’t edited the hApp to use the generated UI elements, but what you see on the screen should be some hints on how to proceed.

So let’s follow those hints:

  1. Open the Svelte hApp file in ui/src/App.svelte and add two imports near the top, just below <script lang="ts">:

    import MyTodos from './todos/todos/MyTodos.svelte';
    import CreateTodoItem from './todos/todos/CreateTodoItem.svelte';
  2. Replace the “EDIT ME” text there with:

    <MyTodos author={client.myPubKey}></MyTodos>

Save the file, and you should see that the windows have been updated to show something that should look like this:

You now have a fully functional Holochain app up and running!

Next steps might include creating a collection of all to-do items, not just the ones you created, and adding a UI to see them. Enjoy and get building!

Learn More →

  • Find all the links to Rust docs, HDKs, and APIs in References.
  • Seeing strange language in these steps? Look up the words in the Glossary.
  • Go deep to understand how Holochain works in the Core Concepts.
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