How Kurtosis is giving NEAR developers tools for better development and testing

Kurtosis is a new platform that gives developers building blockchain applications tools for developing and testing their applications locally, using complete private networks. For NEAR developers, Kurtosis provides a sandbox node, indexer, wallet, explorer, and a smart contract helper—all available out-of-the-box. (Get started here.) 

Kurtosis’ co-founders Galen Marchetti and Kevin Today, two former Palantir engineers, see a need for developers building distributed systems to have complete environments to build on throughout the entire development cycle. By developing on the system as a whole, rather than single components, Kurtosis users mitigate unexpected events (black swans) that arise between system components during development and testing. The pair sees these black swans as one of the most pressing obstacles currently facing developers trying to deliver innovative blockchain solutions.

Why Kurtosis is coming to NEAR

Kurtosis’ mission is to “supercharge the world’s innovation by empowering teams to ship robust software, faster than ever before.” By launching on NEAR’s sharded blockchain, the Kurtosis team is one step closer to realizing their vision. 

NEAR on the Kurtosis platform is:

  • user-friendly
  • scalable
  • Free to use

Identifying “black swans” in software development

Networked systems are becoming more and more complex, both in Web2 and the blockchain-enabled Open Web. This leads to unexpected events that can shock a system and, in worst case scenarios, damage it before launch. If nothing is done to remedy this, testing will continue to decline as unpredictability will continue to rise.

“Engineers need a new tool to tame the complexity of the distributed age that marries the ease and safety of unit tests with the representativeness of testing in production.” 

-Galen Marchetti

Kurtosis gives developers the tools to simulate black swans like outages and malicious attacks, or just random system failures, and then mitigate them before they get too big and volatile.

Bringing holistic integration testing to early development work

The Kurtosis teams recommend that developers adopt a holistic integration testing program early on in the development process. With Kurtosis’s development and testing environment, this can be done frequently and repeatedly, as needed. 

“The Kurtosis testing platform is now available for all teams who seek to build reliable distributed systems in real, high-stakes environments.”

-Galen Marchetti

With Kurtosis, NEAR ecosystem developers can run a test of real world scenarios in an isolated private testnet. With these Docker-based testnets, teams can efficiently work out any kinks well before any final audits and the eventual mainnet launch. 

How Kurtosis works

The Kurtosis engine is a container orchestration platform that solves many complex problems involved in tying together different software solutions. Kurtosis stores the logic for setting up a prototyping or testing environment in a module. 

NEAR worked with Kurtosis to set up the NEAR Kurtosis module to enhance the entire ecosystem’s development workflow. Kurtosis modules can run locally on a developer’s laptop over dockerd or in any CI environment installed with a docker daemon (CircleCI, TravisCI, Github Actions). This module system works well with workflows for local prototyping and end-to-end testing.

The NEAR module is equipped with a NEAR sandbox node, indexer, wallet, explorer, and a smart contract helper—all set up through their own Docker installation. Users can link their NEAR CLI (Command Line Interface) to this local network like any other NEAR network. This means the development workflows that work on the shared testnet also work on the local network.

Kurtosis’ early results on NEAR

The NEAR module very quickly showed much promise. Users report the Kurtosis module as being the “the easiest way to set up a local devnet by far,” containing a full-fledged network that is “really fast”. For developers, the Kurtosis module presents several concrete advantages:

  • The developer is the only load against the network, so the network remains fast
  • All account names are available
  • Multiple networks can be started in parallel
  • Internet access isn’t required

Kurtosis is opening up free usage of the NEAR module to the entire ecosystem. For developers building an application on the NEAR blockchain, Kurtosis offers a great experience for setting up local environments and running CI-based tests. 

For a deeper look into Kurtosis, watch this 5-minute NEAR module demo video or head over to the documentation page to get started. To get support, visit Kurtosis in the #kurtosis channel in the NEAR discord.

About NEAR

NEAR is a high-performance blockchain that is designed to be super-fast, incredibly secure, and infinitely scalable. NEAR’s vision is to create a network that enables people to re-imagine finance, creativity and community in new and inclusive ways.

NEAR is built by an award-winning team of engineers and entrepreneurs to be simple to use, inclusive and good for the environment. NEAR is backed by top VCs such as A16Z, Pantera Capital, Electric Capital, Dragonfly Capital, Coinbase Ventures, Blockchain.com, and Baidu Ventures.

Join NEAR’s community:

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