# Anatomy of an SDK Application

# Node Client

The Daemon, or Full-Node Client, is the core process of an SDK-based blockchain. Participants in the network run this process to initialize their state-machine, connect with other full-nodes and update their state-machine as new blocks come in.

Copy ^ +-------------------------------+ ^ | | | | | | State-machine = Application | | | | | | Built with Cosmos SDK | | ^ + | | | +----------- | ABCI | ----------+ v | | + v | ^ | | | | Blockchain Node | | Consensus | | | | | | | +-------------------------------+ | Tendermint Core | | | | | | Networking | | | | | | v +-------------------------------+ v

The blockchain full-node presents itself as a binary, generally suffixed by -d for "daemon" (e.g. appd for app or gaiad for gaia). This binary is built by running a simple main.go function placed in ./cmd/appd/. This operation usually happens through the Makefile.

Once the main binary is built, the node can be started by running the start command. This command function primarily does three things:

  1. Create an instance of the state-machine defined in app.go.
  2. Initialize the state-machine with the latest known state, extracted from the db stored in the ~/.appd/data folder. At this point, the state-machine is at height appBlockHeight.
  3. Create and start a new Tendermint instance. Among other things, the node will perform a handshake with its peers. It will get the latest blockHeight from them, and replay blocks to sync to this height if it is greater than the local appBlockHeight. If appBlockHeight is 0, the node is starting from genesis and Tendermint sends an InitChain message via the ABCI to the app, which triggers the InitChainer.

# Core Application File

In general, the core of the state-machine is defined in a file called app.go. It mainly contains the type definition of the application and functions to create and initialize it.

# Type Definition of the Application

The first thing defined in app.go is the type of the application. It is generally comprised of the following parts:

  • A reference to baseapp. The custom application defined in app.go is an extension of baseapp. When a transaction is relayed by Tendermint to the application, app uses baseapp's methods to route them to the appropriate module. baseapp implements most of the core logic for the application, including all the ABCI methods (opens new window) and the routing logic.
  • A list of store keys. The store, which contains the entire state, is implemented as a multistore (i.e. a store of stores) in the Cosmos SDK. Each module uses one or multiple stores in the multistore to persist their part of the state. These stores can be accessed with specific keys that are declared in the app type. These keys, along with the keepers, are at the heart of the object-capabilities model of the Cosmos SDK.
  • A list of module's keepers. Each module defines an abstraction called keeper, which handles reads and writes for this module's store(s). The keeper's methods of one module can be called from other modules (if authorized), which is why they are declared in the application's type and exported as interfaces to other modules so that the latter can only access the authorized functions.
  • A reference to a codec. The application's codec is used to serialize and deserialize data structures in order to store them, as stores can only persist []bytes. The codec must be deterministic. The default codec is amino.
  • A reference to a module manager and a basic module manager. The module manager is an object that contains a list of the application's module. It facilitates operations related to these modules, like registering routes, query routes or setting the order of execution between modules for various functions like InitChainer, BeginBlocker and EndBlocker.

See an example of application type definition from gaia (opens new window)

Copy type GaiaApp struct { *bam.BaseApp cdc *codec.Codec invCheckPeriod uint // keys to access the substores keys map[string]*sdk.KVStoreKey tKeys map[string]*sdk.TransientStoreKey // keepers accountKeeper auth.AccountKeeper bankKeeper bank.Keeper supplyKeeper supply.Keeper stakingKeeper staking.Keeper slashingKeeper slashing.Keeper mintKeeper mint.Keeper distrKeeper distr.Keeper govKeeper gov.Keeper crisisKeeper crisis.Keeper paramsKeeper params.Keeper evidenceKeeper *evidence.Keeper // the module manager mm *module.Manager // simulation manager sm *module.SimulationManager }

# Constructor Function

This function constructs a new application of the type defined in the section above. It must fulfill the AppCreator signature in order to be used in the start command of the application's daemon command.

Copy package server import ( "encoding/json" "io" "os" "path/filepath" abci "github.com/tendermint/tendermint/abci/types" "github.com/tendermint/tendermint/libs/log" tmtypes "github.com/tendermint/tendermint/types" dbm "github.com/tendermint/tm-db" sdk "github.com/cosmos/cosmos-sdk/types" ) type ( // AppCreator is a function that allows us to lazily initialize an // application using various configurations. AppCreator func(log.Logger, dbm.DB, io.Writer) abci.Application // AppExporter is a function that dumps all app state to // JSON-serializable structure and returns the current validator set. AppExporter func(log.Logger, dbm.DB, io.Writer, int64, bool, []string) (json.RawMessage, []tmtypes.GenesisValidator, error) ) func openDB(rootDir string) (dbm.DB, error) { dataDir := filepath.Join(rootDir, "data") db, err := sdk.NewLevelDB("application", dataDir) return db, err } func openTraceWriter(traceWriterFile string) (w io.Writer, err error) { if traceWriterFile != "" { w, err = os.OpenFile( traceWriterFile, os.O_WRONLY|os.O_APPEND|os.O_CREATE, 0666, ) return } return }

Here are the main actions performed by this function:

  • Instantiate a new codec and initialize the codec of each of the application's module using the basic manager
  • Instantiate a new application with a reference to a baseapp instance, a codec and all the appropriate store keys.
  • Instantiate all the keepers defined in the application's type using the NewKeeper function of each of the application's modules. Note that keepers must be instantiated in the correct order, as the NewKeeper of one module might require a reference to another module's keeper.
  • Instantiate the application's module manager with the AppModule object of each of the application's modules.
  • With the module manager, initialize the application's routes and query routes. When a transaction is relayed to the application by Tendermint via the ABCI, it is routed to the appropriate module's handler using the routes defined here. Likewise, when a query is received by the application, it is routed to the appropriate module's querier using the query routes defined here.
  • With the module manager, register the application's modules' invariants. Invariants are variables (e.g. total supply of a token) that are evaluated at the end of each block. The process of checking invariants is done via a special module called the InvariantsRegistry. The value of the invariant should be equal to a predicted value defined in the module. Should the value be different than the predicted one, special logic defined in the invariant registry will be triggered (usually the chain is halted). This is useful to make sure no critical bug goes unnoticed and produces long-lasting effects that would be hard to fix.
  • With the module manager, set the order of execution between the InitGenesis, BegingBlocker and EndBlocker functions of each of the application's modules. Note that not all modules implement these functions.
  • Set the remainer of application's parameters:
  • Mount the stores.
  • Return the application.

Note that this function only creates an instance of the app, while the actual state is either carried over from the ~/.appd/data folder if the node is restarted, or generated from the genesis file if the node is started for the first time.

See an example of application constructor from gaia (opens new window):

Copy // simulation manager sm *module.SimulationManager } // NewGaiaApp returns a reference to an initialized GaiaApp. func NewGaiaApp( logger log.Logger, db dbm.DB, traceStore io.Writer, loadLatest bool, invCheckPeriod uint, baseAppOptions ...func(*bam.BaseApp), ) *GaiaApp { cdc := MakeCodec() bApp := bam.NewBaseApp(appName, logger, db, auth.DefaultTxDecoder(cdc), baseAppOptions...) bApp.SetCommitMultiStoreTracer(traceStore) bApp.SetAppVersion(version.Version) keys := sdk.NewKVStoreKeys( bam.MainStoreKey, auth.StoreKey, staking.StoreKey, supply.StoreKey, mint.StoreKey, distr.StoreKey, slashing.StoreKey, gov.StoreKey, params.StoreKey, ) tkeys := sdk.NewTransientStoreKeys(staking.TStoreKey, params.TStoreKey) app := &GaiaApp{ BaseApp: bApp, cdc: cdc, invCheckPeriod: invCheckPeriod, keys: keys, tkeys: tkeys, } // init params keeper and subspaces app.paramsKeeper = params.NewKeeper(app.cdc, keys[params.StoreKey], tkeys[params.TStoreKey], params.DefaultCodespace) authSubspace := app.paramsKeeper.Subspace(auth.DefaultParamspace) bankSubspace := app.paramsKeeper.Subspace(bank.DefaultParamspace) stakingSubspace := app.paramsKeeper.Subspace(staking.DefaultParamspace) mintSubspace := app.paramsKeeper.Subspace(mint.DefaultParamspace) distrSubspace := app.paramsKeeper.Subspace(distr.DefaultParamspace) slashingSubspace := app.paramsKeeper.Subspace(slashing.DefaultParamspace) govSubspace := app.paramsKeeper.Subspace(gov.DefaultParamspace).WithKeyTable(gov.ParamKeyTable()) crisisSubspace := app.paramsKeeper.Subspace(crisis.DefaultParamspace) // add keepers app.accountKeeper = auth.NewAccountKeeper(app.cdc, keys[auth.StoreKey], authSubspace, auth.ProtoBaseAccount) app.bankKeeper = bank.NewBaseKeeper(app.accountKeeper, bankSubspace, bank.DefaultCodespace, app.ModuleAccountAddrs()) app.supplyKeeper = supply.NewKeeper(app.cdc, keys[supply.StoreKey], app.accountKeeper, app.bankKeeper, maccPerms) stakingKeeper := staking.NewKeeper( app.cdc, keys[staking.StoreKey], app.supplyKeeper, stakingSubspace, staking.DefaultCodespace, ) app.mintKeeper = mint.NewKeeper(app.cdc, keys[mint.StoreKey], mintSubspace, &stakingKeeper, app.supplyKeeper, auth.FeeCollectorName) app.distrKeeper = distr.NewKeeper(app.cdc, keys[distr.StoreKey], distrSubspace, &stakingKeeper, app.supplyKeeper, distr.DefaultCodespace, auth.FeeCollectorName, app.ModuleAccountAddrs()) app.slashingKeeper = slashing.NewKeeper( app.cdc, keys[slashing.StoreKey], &stakingKeeper, slashingSubspace, slashing.DefaultCodespace, ) app.crisisKeeper = crisis.NewKeeper(crisisSubspace, invCheckPeriod, app.supplyKeeper, auth.FeeCollectorName) // register the proposal types govRouter := gov.NewRouter() govRouter.AddRoute(gov.RouterKey, gov.ProposalHandler). AddRoute(params.RouterKey, params.NewParamChangeProposalHandler(app.paramsKeeper)). AddRoute(distr.RouterKey, distr.NewCommunityPoolSpendProposalHandler(app.distrKeeper)) app.govKeeper = gov.NewKeeper( app.cdc, keys[gov.StoreKey], govSubspace, app.supplyKeeper, &stakingKeeper, gov.DefaultCodespace, govRouter, ) // register the staking hooks // NOTE: stakingKeeper above is passed by reference, so that it will contain these hooks app.stakingKeeper = *stakingKeeper.SetHooks( staking.NewMultiStakingHooks(app.distrKeeper.Hooks(), app.slashingKeeper.Hooks()), ) // NOTE: Any module instantiated in the module manager that is later modified // must be passed by reference here. app.mm = module.NewManager( genutil.NewAppModule(app.accountKeeper, app.stakingKeeper, app.BaseApp.DeliverTx), auth.NewAppModule(app.accountKeeper), bank.NewAppModule(app.bankKeeper, app.accountKeeper), crisis.NewAppModule(&app.crisisKeeper), supply.NewAppModule(app.supplyKeeper, app.accountKeeper), distr.NewAppModule(app.distrKeeper, app.supplyKeeper), gov.NewAppModule(app.govKeeper, app.supplyKeeper), mint.NewAppModule(app.mintKeeper), slashing.NewAppModule(app.slashingKeeper, app.stakingKeeper), staking.NewAppModule(app.stakingKeeper, app.accountKeeper, app.supplyKeeper), ) // During begin block slashing happens after distr.BeginBlocker so that // there is nothing left over in the validator fee pool, so as to keep the // CanWithdrawInvariant invariant. app.mm.SetOrderBeginBlockers(mint.ModuleName, distr.ModuleName, slashing.ModuleName) app.mm.SetOrderEndBlockers(crisis.ModuleName, gov.ModuleName, staking.ModuleName) // NOTE: The genutils module must occur after staking so that pools are // properly initialized with tokens from genesis accounts. app.mm.SetOrderInitGenesis( distr.ModuleName, staking.ModuleName, auth.ModuleName, bank.ModuleName, slashing.ModuleName, gov.ModuleName, mint.ModuleName, supply.ModuleName, crisis.ModuleName, genutil.ModuleName, ) app.mm.RegisterInvariants(&app.crisisKeeper) app.mm.RegisterRoutes(app.Router(), app.QueryRouter()) // create the simulation manager and define the order of the modules for deterministic simulations // // NOTE: This is not required for apps that don't use the simulator for fuzz testing // transactions. app.sm = module.NewSimulationManager( auth.NewAppModule(app.accountKeeper), bank.NewAppModule(app.bankKeeper, app.accountKeeper),

# InitChainer

The InitChainer is a function that initializes the state of the application from a genesis file (i.e. token balances of genesis accounts). It is called when the application receives the InitChain message from the Tendermint engine, which happens when the node is started at appBlockHeight == 0 (i.e. on genesis). The application must set the InitChainer in its constructor via the SetInitChainer (opens new window) method.

In general, the InitChainer is mostly composed of the InitGenesis function of each of the application's modules. This is done by calling the InitGenesis function of the module manager, which in turn will call the InitGenesis function of each of the modules it contains. Note that the order in which the modules' InitGenesis functions must be called has to be set in the module manager using the module manager's SetOrderInitGenesis method. This is done in the application's constructor, and the SetOrderInitGenesis has to be called before the SetInitChainer.

See an example of an InitChainer from gaia (opens new window):

Copy app.MountTransientStores(tkeys) // initialize BaseApp app.SetInitChainer(app.InitChainer) app.SetBeginBlocker(app.BeginBlocker)

# BeginBlocker and EndBlocker

The SDK offers developers the possibility to implement automatic execution of code as part of their application. This is implemented through two function called BeginBlocker and EndBlocker. They are called when the application receives respectively the BeginBlock and EndBlock messages from the Tendermint engine, which happens at the beginning and at the end of each block. The application must set the BeginBlocker and EndBlocker in its constructor via the SetBeginBlocker (opens new window) and SetEndBlocker (opens new window) methods.

In general, the BeginBlocker and EndBlocker functions are mostly composed of the BeginBlock and EndBlock functions of each of the application's modules. This is done by calling the BeginBlock and EndBlock functions of the module manager, which in turn will call the BeginBLock and EndBlock functions of each of the modules it contains. Note that the order in which the modules' BegingBlock and EndBlock functions must be called has to be set in the module manager using the SetOrderBeginBlock and SetOrderEndBlock methods respectively. This is done via the module manager in the application's constructor, and the SetOrderBeginBlock and SetOrderEndBlock methods have to be called before the SetBeginBlocker and SetEndBlocker functions.

As a sidenote, it is important to remember that application-specific blockchains are deterministic. Developers must be careful not to introduce non-determinism in BeginBlocker or EndBlocker, and must also be careful not to make them too computationally expensive, as gas does not constrain the cost of BeginBlocker and EndBlocker execution.

See an example of BeginBlocker and EndBlocker functions from gaia (opens new window)

Copy gov.NewAppModule(app.govKeeper, app.supplyKeeper), mint.NewAppModule(app.mintKeeper), distr.NewAppModule(app.distrKeeper, app.supplyKeeper), staking.NewAppModule(app.stakingKeeper, app.accountKeeper, app.supplyKeeper), slashing.NewAppModule(app.slashingKeeper, app.stakingKeeper), ) app.sm.RegisterStoreDecoders()

# Register Codec

The MakeCodec function is the last important function of the app.go file. The goal of this function is to instantiate a codec cdc (e.g. amino) initialize the codec of the SDK and each of the application's modules using the RegisterCodec function.

To register the application's modules, the MakeCodec function calls RegisterCodec on ModuleBasics. ModuleBasics is a basic manager which lists all of the application's modules. It is instanciated in the init() function, and only serves to easily register non-dependant elements of application's modules (such as codec). To learn more about the basic module manager, click here.

See an example of a MakeCodec from gaia (opens new window):

Copy staking.BondedPoolName: {supply.Burner, supply.Staking}, staking.NotBondedPoolName: {supply.Burner, supply.Staking}, gov.ModuleName: {supply.Burner}, } ) // MakeCodec creates the application codec. The codec is sealed before it is

# Modules

Modules are the heart and soul of SDK applications. They can be considered as state-machines within the state-machine. When a transaction is relayed from the underlying Tendermint engine via the ABCI to the application, it is routed by baseapp to the appropriate module in order to be processed. This paradigm enables developers to easily build complex state-machines, as most of the modules they need often already exist. For developers, most of the work involved in building an SDK application revolves around building custom modules required by their application that do not exist yet, and integrating them with modules that do already exist into one coherent application. In the application directory, the standard practice is to store modules in the x/ folder (not to be confused with the SDK's x/ folder, which contains already-built modules).

# Application Module Interface

Modules must implement interfaces defined in the Cosmos SDK, AppModuleBasic and AppModule. The former implements basic non-dependant elements of the module, such as the codec, while the latter handles the bulk of the module methods (including methods that require references to other modules' keepers). Both the AppModule and AppModuleBasic types are defined in a file called ./module.go.

AppModule exposes a collection of useful methods on the module that facilitates the composition of modules into a coherent application. These methods are are called from the module manager(../building-modules/module-manager.md#manager), which manages the application's collection of modules.

# Message Types

Messages are objects defined by each module that implement the message interface. Each transaction contains one or multiple messages.

When a valid block of transactions is received by the full-node, Tendermint relays each one to the application via DeliverTx (opens new window). Then, the application handles the transaction:

  1. Upon receiving the transaction, the application first unmarshalls it from []bytes.
  2. Then, it verifies a few things about the transaction like fee payment and signatures before extracting the message(s) contained in the transaction.
  3. With the Type() method of the message, baseapp is able to route it to the appropriate module's handler in order for it to be processed.
  4. If the message is successfully processed, the state is updated.

For a more detailed look at a transaction lifecycle, click here.

Module developers create custom message types when they build their own module. The general practice is to prefix the type declaration of the message with Msg. For example, the message type MsgSend allows users to transfer tokens:

Copy // MsgSend - high level transaction of the coin module type MsgSend struct { FromAddress sdk.AccAddress `json:"from_address" yaml:"from_address"` ToAddress sdk.AccAddress `json:"to_address" yaml:"to_address"` Amount sdk.Coins `json:"amount" yaml:"amount"` }

It is processed by the handler of the bank module, which ultimately calls the keeper of the auth module in order to update the state.

# Handler

The handler refers to the part of the module responsible for processing the message after it is routed by baseapp. handler functions of modules are only executed if the transaction is relayed from Tendermint by the DeliverTx ABCI message. If the transaction is relayed by CheckTx, only stateless checks and fee-related stateful checks are performed. To better understand the difference between DeliverTxand CheckTx, as well as the difference between stateful and stateless checks, click here.

The handler of a module is generally defined in a file called handler.go and consists of:

Copy func NewQuerier(keeper Keeper) sdk.Querier { return func(ctx sdk.Context, path []string, req abci.RequestQuery) (res []byte, err sdk.Error) { switch path[0] { case QueryResolve: return queryResolve(ctx, path[1:], req, keeper) case QueryWhois: return queryWhois(ctx, path[1:], req, keeper) case QueryNames: return queryNames(ctx, req, keeper) default: return nil, sdk.ErrUnknownRequest("unknown nameservice query endpoint") } } }

  • One handler function for each message type defined by the module. Developers write the message processing logic in these functions. This generally involves doing stateful checks to ensure the message is valid and calling keeper's methods to update the state.

Handler functions return a result of type sdk.Result, which informs the application on whether the message was successfully processed:

Copy // Result is the union of ResponseFormat and ResponseCheckTx. type Result struct { // Code is the response code, is stored back on the chain. Code CodeType // Codespace is the string referring to the domain of an error Codespace CodespaceType // Data is any data returned from the app. // Data has to be length prefixed in order to separate // results from multiple msgs executions Data []byte // Log contains the txs log information. NOTE: nondeterministic. Log string // GasWanted is the maximum units of work we allow this tx to perform. GasWanted uint64 // GasUsed is the amount of gas actually consumed. NOTE: unimplemented GasUsed uint64 // Events contains a slice of Event objects that were emitted during some // execution. Events Events }

# Querier

Queriers are very similar to handlers, except they serve user queries to the state as opposed to processing transactions. A query is initiated from an interface by an end-user who provides a queryRoute and some data. The query is then routed to the correct application's querier by baseapp's handleQueryCustom method using queryRoute:

Copy func handleQueryCustom(app *BaseApp, path []string, req abci.RequestQuery) (res abci.ResponseQuery) { // path[0] should be "custom" because "/custom" prefix is required for keeper // queries. // // The QueryRouter routes using path[1]. For example, in the path // "custom/gov/proposal", QueryRouter routes using "gov". if len(path) < 2 || path[1] == "" { return sdk.ErrUnknownRequest("No route for custom query specified").QueryResult() } querier := app.queryRouter.Route(path[1]) if querier == nil { return sdk.ErrUnknownRequest(fmt.Sprintf("no custom querier found for route %s", path[1])).QueryResult() } // when a client did not provide a query height, manually inject the latest if req.Height == 0 { req.Height = app.LastBlockHeight() } if req.Height <= 1 && req.Prove { return sdk.ErrInternal("cannot query with proof when height <= 1; please provide a valid height").QueryResult() } cacheMS, err := app.cms.CacheMultiStoreWithVersion(req.Height) if err != nil { return sdk.ErrInternal( fmt.Sprintf( "failed to load state at height %d; %s (latest height: %d)", req.Height, err, app.LastBlockHeight(), ), ).QueryResult() } // cache wrap the commit-multistore for safety ctx := sdk.NewContext( cacheMS, app.checkState.ctx.BlockHeader(), true, app.logger, ).WithMinGasPrices(app.minGasPrices) // Passes the rest of the path as an argument to the querier. // // For example, in the path "custom/gov/proposal/test", the gov querier gets // []string{"proposal", "test"} as the path. resBytes, queryErr := querier(ctx, path[2:], req) if queryErr != nil { return abci.ResponseQuery{ Code: uint32(queryErr.Code()), Codespace: string(queryErr.Codespace()), Height: req.Height, Log: queryErr.ABCILog(), } } return abci.ResponseQuery{ Code: uint32(sdk.CodeOK), Height: req.Height, Value: resBytes, } }

The Querier of a module is defined in a file called querier.go, and consists of:

  • A switch function NewQuerier to route the query to the appropriate querier function. This function returns a querier function, and is is registered in the AppModule to be used in the application's module manager to initialize the application's query router. See an example of such a switch from the nameservice tutorial (opens new window): Copy func NewQuerier(keeper Keeper) sdk.Querier { return func(ctx sdk.Context, path []string, req abci.RequestQuery) (res []byte, err sdk.Error) { switch path[0] { case QueryResolve: return queryResolve(ctx, path[1:], req, keeper) case QueryWhois: return queryWhois(ctx, path[1:], req, keeper) case QueryNames: return queryNames(ctx, req, keeper) default: return nil, sdk.ErrUnknownRequest("unknown nameservice query endpoint") } } }
  • One querier function for each data type defined by the module that needs to be queryable. Developers write the query processing logic in these functions. This generally involves calling keeper's methods to query the state and marshalling it to JSON.

# Keeper

Keepers are the gatekeepers of their module's store(s). To read or write in a module's store, it is mandatory to go through one of its keeper's methods. This is ensured by the object-capabilities model of the Cosmos SDK. Only objects that hold the key to a store can access it, and only the module's keeper should hold the key(s) to the module's store(s).

Keepers are generally defined in a file called keeper.go. It contains the keeper's type definition and methods.

The keeper type definition generally consists of:

  • Key(s) to the module's store(s) in the multistore.
  • Reference to other module's keepers. Only needed if the keeper needs to access other module's store(s) (either to read or write from them).
  • A reference to the application's codec. The keeper needs it to marshal structs before storing them, or to unmarshal them when it retrieves them, because stores only accept []bytes as value.

Along with the type definition, the next important component of the keeper.go file is the keeper's constructor function, NewKeeper. This function instantiates a new keeper of the type defined above, with a codec, store keys and potentially references to other modules' keepers as parameters. The NewKeeper function is called from the application's constructor. The rest of the file defines the keeper's methods, primarily getters and setters.

# Command-Line and REST Interfaces

Each module defines command-line commands and REST routes to be exposed to end-user via the application's interfaces. This enables end-users to create messages of the types defined in the module, or to query the subset of the state managed by the module.


Generally, the commands related to a module are defined in a folder called client/cli in the module's folder. The CLI divides commands in two category, transactions and queries, defined in client/cli/tx.go and client/cli/query.go respectively. Both commands are built on top of the Cobra Library (opens new window):

  • Transactions commands let users generate new transactions so that they can be included in a block and eventually update the state. One command should be created for each message type defined in the module. The command calls the constructor of the message with the parameters provided by the end-user, and wraps it into a transaction. The SDK handles signing and the addition of other transaction metadata.
  • Queries let users query the subset of the state defined by the module. Query commands forward queries to the application's query router, which routes them to the appropriate querier the queryRoute parameter supplied.


The module's REST interface lets users generate transactions and query the state through REST calls to the application's light client daemon (LCD). REST routes are defined in a file client/rest/rest.go, which is composed of:

  • A RegisterRoutes function, which registers each route defined in the file. This function is called from the main application's interface for each module used within the application. The router used in the SDK is Gorilla's mux (opens new window).
  • Custom request type definitions for each query or transaction creation function that needs to be exposed. These custom request types build on the base request type of the Cosmos SDK: Copy // BaseReq defines a structure that can be embedded in other request structures // that all share common "base" fields. type BaseReq struct { From string `json:"from"` Memo string `json:"memo"` ChainID string `json:"chain_id"` AccountNumber uint64 `json:"account_number"` Sequence uint64 `json:"sequence"` Fees sdk.Coins `json:"fees"` GasPrices sdk.DecCoins `json:"gas_prices"` Gas string `json:"gas"` GasAdjustment string `json:"gas_adjustment"` Simulate bool `json:"simulate"` }
  • One handler function for each request that can be routed to the given module. These functions implement the core logic necessary to serve the request.

# Application Interface

Interfaces let end-users interact with full-node clients. This means querying data from the full-node or creating and sending new transactions to be relayed by the full-node and eventually included in a block.

The main interface is the Command-Line Interface. The CLI of an SDK application is built by aggregating CLI commands defined in each of the modules used by the application. The CLI of an application generally has the -cli suffix (e.g. appcli), and defined in a file called cmd/appcli/main.go. The file contains:

  • A main() function, which is executed to build the appcli interface client. This function prepares each command and adds them to the rootCmd before building them. At the root of appCli, the function adds generic commands like status, keys and config, query commands, tx commands and rest-server.
  • Query commands are added by calling the queryCmd function, also defined in appcli/main.go. This function returns a Cobra command that contains the query commands defined in each of the application's modules (passed as an array of sdk.ModuleClients from the main() function), as well as some other lower level query commands such as block or validator queries. Query command are called by using the command appcli query [query] of the CLI.
  • Transaction commands are added by calling the txCmd function. Similar to queryCmd, the function returns a Cobra command that contains the tx commands defined in each of the application's modules, as well as lower level tx commands like transaction signing or broadcasting. Tx commands are called by using the command appcli tx [tx] of the CLI.
  • A registerRoutes function, which is called from the main() function when initializing the application's light-client daemon (LCD) (i.e. rest-server). registerRoutes calls the RegisterRoutes function of each of the application's module, thereby registering the routes of the module to the lcd's router. The LCD can be started by running the following command appcli rest-server.

See an example of an application's main command-line file from the nameservice tutorial (opens new window)

Copy package main import ( "os" "path" "github.com/cosmos/cosmos-sdk/client" "github.com/cosmos/cosmos-sdk/client/keys" "github.com/cosmos/cosmos-sdk/client/lcd" "github.com/cosmos/cosmos-sdk/client/rpc" sdk "github.com/cosmos/cosmos-sdk/types" "github.com/cosmos/cosmos-sdk/version" authcmd "github.com/cosmos/cosmos-sdk/x/auth/client/cli" authrest "github.com/cosmos/cosmos-sdk/x/auth/client/rest" bankcmd "github.com/cosmos/cosmos-sdk/x/bank/client/cli" app "github.com/cosmos/sdk-tutorials/nameservice" "github.com/spf13/cobra" "github.com/spf13/viper" amino "github.com/tendermint/go-amino" "github.com/tendermint/tendermint/libs/cli" ) func main() { cobra.EnableCommandSorting = false cdc := app.MakeCodec() // Read in the configuration file for the sdk config := sdk.GetConfig() config.SetBech32PrefixForAccount(sdk.Bech32PrefixAccAddr, sdk.Bech32PrefixAccPub) config.SetBech32PrefixForValidator(sdk.Bech32PrefixValAddr, sdk.Bech32PrefixValPub) config.SetBech32PrefixForConsensusNode(sdk.Bech32PrefixConsAddr, sdk.Bech32PrefixConsPub) config.Seal() rootCmd := &cobra.Command{ Use: "nscli", Short: "nameservice Client", } // Add --chain-id to persistent flags and mark it required rootCmd.PersistentFlags().String(client.FlagChainID, "", "Chain ID of tendermint node") rootCmd.PersistentPreRunE = func(_ *cobra.Command, _ []string) error { return initConfig(rootCmd) } // Construct Root Command rootCmd.AddCommand( rpc.StatusCommand(), client.ConfigCmd(app.DefaultCLIHome), queryCmd(cdc), txCmd(cdc), client.LineBreak, lcd.ServeCommand(cdc, registerRoutes), client.LineBreak, keys.Commands(), client.LineBreak, version.Cmd, client.NewCompletionCmd(rootCmd, true), ) executor := cli.PrepareMainCmd(rootCmd, "NS", app.DefaultCLIHome) err := executor.Execute() if err != nil { panic(err) } } func registerRoutes(rs *lcd.RestServer) { client.RegisterRoutes(rs.CliCtx, rs.Mux) authrest.RegisterTxRoutes(rs.CliCtx, rs.Mux) app.ModuleBasics.RegisterRESTRoutes(rs.CliCtx, rs.Mux) } func queryCmd(cdc *amino.Codec) *cobra.Command { queryCmd := &cobra.Command{ Use: "query", Aliases: []string{"q"}, Short: "Querying subcommands", } queryCmd.AddCommand( authcmd.GetAccountCmd(cdc), client.LineBreak, rpc.ValidatorCommand(cdc), rpc.BlockCommand(), authcmd.QueryTxsByEventsCmd(cdc), authcmd.QueryTxCmd(cdc), client.LineBreak, ) // add modules' query commands app.ModuleBasics.AddQueryCommands(queryCmd, cdc) return queryCmd } func txCmd(cdc *amino.Codec) *cobra.Command { txCmd := &cobra.Command{ Use: "tx", Short: "Transactions subcommands", } txCmd.AddCommand( bankcmd.SendTxCmd(cdc), client.LineBreak, authcmd.GetSignCommand(cdc), authcmd.GetMultiSignCommand(cdc), client.LineBreak, authcmd.GetBroadcastCommand(cdc), authcmd.GetEncodeCommand(cdc), client.LineBreak, ) // add modules' tx commands app.ModuleBasics.AddTxCommands(txCmd, cdc) return txCmd } func initConfig(cmd *cobra.Command) error { home, err := cmd.PersistentFlags().GetString(cli.HomeFlag) if err != nil { return err } cfgFile := path.Join(home, "config", "config.toml") if _, err := os.Stat(cfgFile); err == nil { viper.SetConfigFile(cfgFile) if err := viper.ReadInConfig(); err != nil { return err } } if err := viper.BindPFlag(client.FlagChainID, cmd.PersistentFlags().Lookup(client.FlagChainID)); err != nil { return err } if err := viper.BindPFlag(cli.EncodingFlag, cmd.PersistentFlags().Lookup(cli.EncodingFlag)); err != nil { return err } return viper.BindPFlag(cli.OutputFlag, cmd.PersistentFlags().Lookup(cli.OutputFlag)) }

# Dependencies and Makefile

This section is optional, as developers are free to choose their dependency manager and project building method. That said, the current most used framework for versioning control is go.mod (opens new window). It ensures each of the libraries used throughout the application are imported with the correct version. See an example from the nameservice tutorial (opens new window):

Copy module github.com/cosmos/sdk-application-tutorial go 1.13 require ( github.com/cosmos/cosmos-sdk v0.37.3 github.com/gorilla/mux v1.7.3 github.com/mattn/go-isatty v0.0.7 // indirect github.com/spf13/afero v1.2.2 // indirect github.com/spf13/cobra v0.0.5 github.com/spf13/viper v1.4.0 github.com/stretchr/testify v1.4.0 github.com/tendermint/go-amino v0.15.1 github.com/tendermint/tendermint v0.32.6 github.com/tendermint/tm-db v0.2.0 golang.org/x/sys v0.0.0-20190329044733-9eb1bfa1ce65 // indirect google.golang.org/genproto v0.0.0-20190327125643-d831d65fe17d // indirect )

For building the application, a Makefile (opens new window) is generally used. The Makefile primarily ensures that the go.mod is run before building the two entrypoints to the application, appd and appcli. See an example of Makefile from the nameservice tutorial

Copy PACKAGES=$(shell go list ./... | grep -v '/simulation') VERSION := $(shell echo $(shell git describe --tags) | sed 's/^v//') COMMIT := $(shell git log -1 --format='%H') ldflags = -X github.com/cosmos/cosmos-sdk/version.Name=NameService \ -X github.com/cosmos/cosmos-sdk/version.ServerName=nsd \ -X github.com/cosmos/cosmos-sdk/version.ClientName=nscli \ -X github.com/cosmos/cosmos-sdk/version.Version=$(VERSION) \ -X github.com/cosmos/cosmos-sdk/version.Commit=$(COMMIT) BUILD_FLAGS := -ldflags '$(ldflags)' include Makefile.ledger all: install install: go.sum go install -mod=readonly $(BUILD_FLAGS) ./cmd/nsd go install -mod=readonly $(BUILD_FLAGS) ./cmd/nscli go.sum: go.mod @echo "--> Ensure dependencies have not been modified" GO111MODULE=on go mod verify test: @go test -mod=readonly $(PACKAGES)

# Next

Learn more about the Lifecycle of a transaction