A smart contract is a computer program deployed and executed on a Blockchain network. Smart contract programming languages allow developers to write codes to implement smart contracts on the Blockchain.
Some languages were created from scratch for writing contracts, while some were from existing languages. It provides users access to economic primitives and sovereign ownership over digital assets.
Here are a few smart contracts programming language developers must know.
Solidity is the Blockchain programming language of the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). The language is also used across a range of EVM-compatible Blockchains. Solidity is a high-level language. It allows developers to write code faster than many low-level concerns.
But, the syntax might confuse developers who are inexperienced in object-oriented programming. At the same time, Solidify does not support native decimals. For advanced Web3 developers, coding in Solidity results in higher gas costs.
Vyper is a Web3 programming language for EVM-compatible Blockchains. It is a contract-oriented programming language. It has robust typing, small compiler code, and efficient bytecode generation. Vyper’s code is like Python. It makes it easy for Python developers to move into the Web3 development journey.
It has a simple language and compiler implementation. It helps with code auditability and readability. It makes it simple for developers to build secure smart contracts. It has the same tools and resources as Solidify.
Vyper lacks community support and native tools. It lacks modifiers, class inheritance, and recursive calls. At the same time, the language is not Turing-complete.
It lacks functions. It is due to deliberate design choices to maximize contract security and auditability. But, developers must work around these constraints. Since Vyper is still under development, it has fewer features.
Rust is a low-level statically-typed new programming language. It is quick and memory-efficient. It retains simplicity, memory efficiency, and reliability. It allows developers to build decentralized applications with high throughput.
Rust has good design and development practices. This way, developers can alter them as per their choice. It has no garbage collector, meaning there would be no surprise incident during the runtime. Moreover, its immutability allows developers to write predictable programs needed for the applications built on the Blockchain.
Its compiler has a color-coded output with a detailed error output for debugging. Rust shows the cause of an error by highlighting the relevant code with an explanation. In some cases, it offers a fix for the error. It contains some object-oriented features allowing developers to create structs and data. But Rust does not exhibit inheritance.
Yul is an intermediate programming language. The programming language is compiled into bytecode to address various backend needs. The Solidity compiler’s experimental implementation uses Yul as an intermediate language. It is used in inline assembly inside Solidity and in stand-alone mode.
The programming language supports EVM and Ethereum flavored WebAssembly (ewasm). Its design is a usable common denominator of both platforms. Yul is ideal for high-level optimization stages benefitting EVM and ewasm platforms.
Programs written in Yul are readable. It offers high-level constructs such as loops, function calls, and if and switch statements. It is simple to use and is beginner friendly. Yul is typed to prevent confusion on concepts like references and values.
Since Yul must be compiled to bytecode, it needs more time to complete the compilation process. It makes it time-intensive during the development.
Clarity is a smart contract programming language for the Stacks Blockchain. It uses a framework for writing decentralized applications (dApps) that integrates identity, digital assets, and data. It is a non-Turing-complete programming language. This means it cannot simulate every function of a Turing machine.
Turing-complete languages give flexibility, but various smart contract hacks compromise these. Its non-turing-complete approach allows developers to identify security issues before deploying new smart contract apps.
Clarity apps are also interpreted rather than compiled. It makes it simple for developers to find and fix bugs after application deployment.
C++ is supported by Blockchain projects such as Ripple, EOS, and Stellar. Moreover, C++ can be compiled into Wasm code.
But, C++ is not a memory-safe language. It can lead to security issues. Moreover, it can result in more extended programs than the latest smart contract-specific languages.
Python supports many application development concepts, such as structured and object-oriented programming. It allows developers to use modules to add functionality to current apps.
One of its advantages for smart contract developers is the ease of use. But, Python is an interpreted language that can lag the performance compared to other languages. Blockchain platforms supporting Python include Hyperledger Fabric, Ethereum, Steem, and Neo.
Cairo is a Turing-complete smart contract programming language. Cairo is used for STARK-provable programs for general computation.
Cairo is used within StarkNet. StarkNet is a layer-2 Blockchain built on top of Ethereum. While it helps build fast and scalable smart contracts, the external StarkNet/StarkEx ecosystem does not support it.
Various Blockchain supports different languages. There is no one-language-fits-all solution. Developers must select a language that has robust security features and execution performance.
Moreover, it must have developer community support, tools, and language learning ease. These factors ensure a secure and efficient smart contract development environment.
As per a recent report by Alchemy, “Web3 Development Report (Q4 2022),” over 7.75 million smart contracts were deployed on Ethereum in 2022. It includes 4.6 million in the fourth quarter alone. These statistics show a 453% increase in smart contract deployments compared to Q3 2022.
The statistics indicate that the Web3 development space is constantly growing. Thus, developers interested in Web 3.0 and just starting to build Blockchain must deeply understand how smart contracts work.