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In the Eyes of a Blockchain Developer: Zach Alam from Onboard.one

Jul 31, 2019 8:00:00 AM / by dfuse

Taking the initial steps to building on a blockchain can be rather daunting if you don’t know the tips and tricks that will save you hours of development and research time. dfuse is talking to experienced developers in the community so as to pass this valuable information along. This week we spoke with Zach Alam from Onboard.one.

Could you introduce yourself?

I’m Zach Alam, a blockchain developer living in Las Vegas. I’ve been a developer for roughly 10 years now. My first project in the blockchain space was a Bitcoin geotagger which was awarded 1st place in the 2014 Coinbase Hackathon. Ever since, I’ve had a strong interest in the economic and technical implications of cryptocurrency. Currently I’m focusing a large amount of my time on EOSIO powered blockchains.

Could you present the the projects eoslisten.com and @REXalerts?

I’ve built two projects with dfuse:

  • eoslisten.com is a real-time transaction visualizer of EOS token transfers. It’s forked from the Bitcoin project bitlisten.com. Interesting fact: I had to add a filter that hides low value token transfers. Showing all the transactions the network is processing at once would absolutely crash most devices.
  • https://twitter.com/rexalerts is a Twitter bot that posts when a larger payment is made to REX. For those that are unfamiliar; REX (or the Resource Exchange) is a way for EOS token holders to “loan” out their tokens’ resources and earn “interest” from borrowers. The RexAlerts bot is always listening for payments over 100 EOS and notifies followers when they occur.

What were the main challenges you faced when developing these projects?

One of the trickier parts when dealing with public blockchains is the vast amount of data. Since anyone can write to the chain there is a lot to look through. Finding tools that allow you to filter out all the noise was definitely a challenge for me. Fortunately the WebSocket functionality of the dfuse API allows you to pinpoint the data you’re looking for and get it in real time. @Rexalerts and eoslisten.com would have been a lot harder to build without it.

What lead you to get involved in EOSIO? What keeps you around?

As a programmer I’m not a huge fan of devops work. I like to focus on code and forget about cloud payments, scaling, or uptime. Blockchains are very powerful in this aspect and this is what led me to EOSIO. This protocol has many superior features, here are just a few that stand out to me:

  1. human readable account names
  2. smart contracts that can be updated
  3. the ability to modify account permissions
  4. no transaction fees
  5. fast, half second block times

Furthermore, I’m really excited about the upcoming YubiKey integration that block.one announced during their June 1st Keynote. I believe this will make it easier to onboard more individuals to EOSIO.

What advice would you give to a developer who wants to build a project on blockchain?

Advice?

Don’t overthink, just build. Some of the best code in this world was written in garages, basements, coffee shops, etc.. Sometimes we spend too much time planning and not enough time creating. The biggest advantage you have when building a “new” project is that no one uses it. That’s a lot of time to break things without consequences.

Useful tools:

EOS account creator: https://www.eosnameservice.io/

Contract development toolkit: https://github.com/EOSIO/eosio.cdt

Kylin Testnet: https://www.cryptokylin.io/ (deploy & test contract for free)

Starting from scratch?

For new EOS developers, the elemental battles tutorial is a comprehensive & easy to follow tutorial: https://battles.eos.io/

What does Onboard.one do when working with projects?

Onboard.one is a consulting and development service focused on Blockchain. We actively take on and encourage clients to leverage the benefits of EOS and EOSIO protocols. If you're interested in using Blockchain technology (ie: tokens, smart contracts, etc..) in a new or existing project please reach out at https://onboard.one/

 

If you think that you have some great insight to share and would like to be featured on “In the Eyes of a Blockchain Developer”, please feel free to reach out to us! We would love to share your story and help inspire the many developers who join the blockchain space each and every day.

topics EOSIO, developer, Interview, Zach Alam, Onboard.one