Get Started

Welcome to the Getting Started with Holochain guide! This is a four-page guide which will walk you through the process of installing the Holochain development tools and creating a simple forum application. By the end of this guide, you’ll be familiar with the core concepts of Holochain and have a basic understanding of how to develop peer-to-peer applications using the Holochain framework.

How to use this guide

Follow this guide step by step. All steps are essential to create the example applications. No additional code or steps are needed.

There’s a lot of additional explanation that isn’t necessary for building the application, but it’ll help you understand what you’re doing in more depth. Look for the book icon and the ‘Learn more’ heading.

1. Introduction to Holochain

Holochain is a framework for building peer-to-peer distributed applications, also known as hApps. It emphasizes agent-centric architecture, intrinsic data integrity, and scalability. Holochain enables developers to build applications that run on just the devices of the participants without relying on centralized servers or blockchain tokens.

2. Installing Holochain development environment

In this section, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of installing Holochain, its dependencies, and developer tools on your system so that you can develop hApps.

2.1. Hardware requirements

Before you install the Holochain development environment, make sure your system meets the following hardware requirements:

This may seem like a lot; it’s mainly due to Rust’s compiler, which requires a lot of system resources.

2.2. Windows prerequisite: WSL2

For Windows users, please note that the Nix package manager, which is used to install and manage the Holochain development environment, only supports macOS and Linux. You’ll need to install Linux under Windows with WSL2 (Windows Subsystem for Linux) (recommended) or dual-boot a Linux OS alongside your Windows 10 or Windows 11 OS to proceed.

Holochain is supported in WSL2 via the Ubuntu distribution.

2.3. Set up development environment

Once you’ve ensured that your system meets the hardware requirements and set up WSL2 on Windows or a dual-boot Linux OS (if applicable), you can proceed with the installation of the Nix package manager and the binary package cache for Holochain.

Open a command-line terminal (on Linux, on macOS) and run the following command:

bash <(curl

This command downloads the setup script and runs it, installing the Nix package manager and setting up a package cache for Holochain.

2.4. Verify installation

In a new terminal session type:

nix run --refresh -j0 -v github:holochain/holochain#hc-scaffold -- --version

Look out for binaries being copied from

downloading '<some-hash>.nar.zst'...

It proves that the package cache is configured correctly.

At the end of the output, Holochain’s scaffolding tool should print its version string:

holochain_scaffolding_cli x.y.z

Congratulations! The Holochain development environment is now set up successfully on your system.

Next up

Now it’s time to download, compile, and try an example Holochain application.

Try ‘Hello World’ →

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