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Ethereum developer Working environment

Ethereum developer Working environment

If you want to create smart contracts and dApps using Ethereum, you first must have a working environment. Here I’ll share with you my personal setup and why I choose to use it.

The big picture

Our working environment should contain three main components:

Local Machine

Keep it as light as possible

1.       Google Chrome (or Chromium for Linux users)

2.       MetaMask and/or Ethereum node of your choice

3.       Optional – SSH client and terminal

Digital Ocean Droplet

This is your real working environment. Where your code will run

System requirements:

·       Ubuntu 16.04 x64

·       1 CPU

·       1 GB RAM

·       1 GB SWAP

We’ll install:

·       NodeJS

·       NPM

·       truffle

·       testRpc

·       Optional – Chai

·       Optional – Meteor

C9 IDE/ SSH Terminal


Register to C9 IDE. We’ll only use it as a browser based terminal with SSH capacities.


This is how our working environment looks like:

Creating the Digital Ocean Droplet:

  1. Create your digital ocean account. Use the following link to get 10 USD voucher. Pay attention; the subscription is auto renewing. If by the end of the first month you don’t want to be charged again, you should manually change your billing settings.
  2. Once logged in press Create -> Droplets. Choose the one that has:
    1 CPU 64 bits
    1 GB RAM
    Ubuntu 16.04 X64
  1. Name your droplet and press the Create button
  2. After few minutes you should get an email with your Droplet IP address and root password.

Connecting to your Droplet using the terminal and SSH (Optional – can also be achieved using a locally installed SSH client and terminal):

  1. Create a free account at
  2. SSH into your droplet by typing ssh root@YourIPAddress
  3. When you first log into your droplet, you’ll be asked to change your root

Set your Digital Ocean Droplet:

Create SWAP file 1 GB of RAM isn’t enough.
sudo fallocate -l 1G /swapfile
sudo chmod 600 /swapfile
sudo mkswap /swapfile
sudo swapon /swapfile
echo '/swapfile none swap sw 0 0' | sudo tee -a /etc/fstab
Add SUDO user Don’t always work as root!
adduser shlomi sudo
Change your user account
su shlomi
cd /home/sholmi
Install NodeJS and NPM This is the framework on which we’ll develop our app.
curl -sL | sudo -E bash -
sudo apt-get install -y nodejs
sudo apt-get install -y build-essential
sudo apt-get install npm
Install Truffle and TestRPC
npm install -g truffle
npm install -g testrpc

The relation between Truffle and testRPC:

testRPC creates a mock Ethereum blockchain. It saves you a lot of time when testing your smart contract. Because you’re the owner of the blockchain, you can mine new blocks instantly. Usually, when using Ethereum, you’ll have to wait for new blocks to be mined whenever you check you smart contract and while block time is much faster in Ethereum than it’s in Bitcoin, it might still be very distracting to have a test case that contains more than 2-5 interaction with the blockchain.

Another great benefit of using testRPC is the fact that it immediately creates multiple accounts with balances so that you can test the use of your smart contract by multiple users.


When you first deploy testrpc you’ll be giving a mnemonic 12 words phrase. If you write this phrase down, you can later re-deploy your restRPC with the same accounts.

Working with truffle:

Create a working folder and initialize your truffle project
mkdir myProject
cd myProject
truffle init
Make sure testRPC runs in the background
testrc -m "tortoise fall alarm push dream proof
 broccoli size draft betray view gather"
Test your project
truffle migrate
truffle test

Tip for metamask and testRPC:

We can set metaMask to work with our own private testRPC node simply by adding it into our custom rpc list. Open metaMask and change to custom RPC. Then add
http://yourDropletIPAddress:8545  //You might need to open port 8545
And voila, Now metaMask is set to work with your own private blockchain!