What is the Solana Program Library?

The introduction of new blockchain networks has created a lot of hype around their functionalities and value advantages. It is obvious that every new blockchain brings some innovative features or follows the same model used in other blockchain networks. Solana is one of the top examples of blockchain networks that could challenge conventional rules. 

The most striking highlight of Solana blockchain is the Solana Program Library or SPL. Solana has emerged as a promising alternative in the blockchain landscape with the assurance of faster development of secure smart contracts. It presents a different alternative to ERC standards for token creation with its SPL standard.

The discussions about SPL and its working mechanisms draw attention towards a Solana Program guide and how Solana programs work. SPL is a type of dedicated documentation library including different types of pre-compiled, optimized and deployed programs that you can use on Solana. Let us learn more about SPL and Solana programs to uncover the significance of SPL for Solana blockchain and web3.

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Definition of Solana Programs 

One of the most important highlights required to understand SPL in Solana is the definition of a program. You can find answers to “What is Solana Program Library?” more effectively with a detailed impression of Solana programs. Solana programs are a type of smart contract. The programs contain executable code that stays on buffer storage, also known as accounts.

You can execute Solana programs through transactions, just like smart contracts on Ethereum or EVM-compatible blockchains. However, Solana programs differ from smart contracts in one major aspect. Ethereum follows a model in which the program, as well as its state are stored together in smart contracts. On the contrary, Solana follows a stateless program model in which accounts are responsible for storing data and programs.

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Solana Accounts 

Any Solana program tutorial could help you uncover the meaning and functions of Solana accounts. Accounts in Solana could point to records of the Solana ledger that could store data or serve as executable programs. From a simpler perspective, let us assume that Solana is a database and the accounts are rows in the databases. Public keys serve as IDs, and value refers to the information stored in the accounts. The information, or value, could be anything, including programs or the data or state of the program.

You can identify accounts with a public key, which is 256 bytes and looks like the following,

JW1d7paYBLzJ1CaAuA4gUbBZ9sfFP6RvFwX8oExQqZhk        

Solana maintains logical separation between code and the data in it, which leads to creation of two different accounts, such as executable and non-executable accounts. The executable accounts are the ones that store the program code only and have a distinct marker. On the other hand, non-executable accounts store data that the program would use, such as variables, state of the program, and assets. Anyone could read the data in non-executable accounts. However, the owner of the program or the deployer only has privileges for changing the data in non-executable accounts. 

The validator nodes take responsibility for maintenance of accounts. Validator nodes also charge a maintenance cost or ‘Rent’ for providing memory space to store the information in non-executable accounts. The method of payment for rents involves ‘lamports,’ which are fractional divisions of SOL tokens or the native token of Solana blockchain.

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Importance of Sealevel Parallel Runtime in Solana 

The next important aspect in learning about SPL would point to Sealevel Parallel Runtime. It is a crucial highlight in defining answers for ‘how does Solana program work’ and serves as an important tool for maintenance of Solana code and program data. Sealevel Parallel Runtime is a type of parallel transaction processing system on Solana blockchain.

The conventional approach for processing transactions in single-threaded blockchain networks involves processing of one transaction at a time. It helps in avoiding concurrency as smart contracts on Ethereum are stateful in nature, with the state and code existing together in the contract. 

Sealevel ensures that Solana can process thousands of transactions in parallel without any conflicts. Solana leverages multiple validator cores for executing transactions with almost 400 millisecond block time and 50,000 TPS. It is possible as the transaction instructions are stateless and determine the account in which data must be modified beforehand. You must note that programs could run simultaneously without using the same account data. 

Variants of Solana Programs

Most of the discussions on the Solana Program Library draw the limelight towards Solana programs. It is important to learn about the different types of Solana programs to understand the significance of SPL. You can find two distinct variants of Solana programs, such as the native programs and on-chain programs.

Native programs take care of implementation of core functionalities in the Solana network. They are responsible for tasks such as creation of new accounts, implementing rules of Solana network, management of the allocation of account storage, and transaction processing. Native programs are one of the top additions in any Solana program guide as they are integral constituents in the core blockchain model of Solana.

Developers have to write native programs in low-level languages such as C, C++, and Rust, which offer optimization for security and performance. Any program or user could call native programs. On the other hand, users cannot directly call or access a kernel-level program in the operating system. 

Another important highlight of native programs is that they can be updated only during core blockchain upgrades or cluster upgrades. The upgrades focus on improving performance, adding new features, or fixing bugs. The description of how does Solana program work also sheds light on the different types of native programs that help in securing the validator. You can find three different types of programs such as system program, stake program and Berkeley Packet Filter (BPF).

System programs take responsibility for creation of new accounts, transfer of SOL tokens between different accounts, and assignment of account ownership. In addition, system programs can help in performing other functions, such as account management operations. 

Berkeley Packet Filter or BPF program works on deployment, execution, and upgrades on the chain. 

Stake programs take care of the management of SOL token staking on Solana blockchain. 

The next important category of native programs in Solana includes on-chain programs. On-chain programs are programs scripted by users or smart contracts that have been deployed on the blockchain. The answers to ‘What is Solana Program Library?’ revolve around the use of dApps, practice contracts, generic programs, crypto exchanges, or multi-sig wallets.

As compared to native programs, on-chain programs are not a part of the core of Solana cluster. On-chain programs are custom programs that have been developed and deployed on Solana blockchain. They do not have any mandatory role in operations of Solana blockchain. 

On-chain programs are developed over the core infrastructure offered by native programs. Developers can use on-chain programs to create a broad range of applications and solutions on Solana blockchain. Separate data accounts help in storing the data with which programs interact. In addition, the data can be passed as references through instructions. The account owner only has the power to upgrade program data.

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Definition of Solana Program Library

The review of Solana Program Library or SPL paints it as a collection of pre-defined modular programs that can help in building dApps on Solana blockchain. SPL serves as an important tool for helping developers in creating dApps by offering a collection of modular and reusable components. The components could be integrated into dApps, which reduces the need for writing complex codes from scratch.

SPL leverages a ‘building block’ approach for helping developers in creation of dApps by facilitating easier integration of components in the application. SPL includes multiple on-chain generic programs and the Token program. It also features the other variations of the Token program, which enable easier incorporation of tokenization facilities in your project.

Prerequisites for Interacting with SPL

The important highlights in a Solana program tutorial also point to the prerequisites for interacting with SPL. You could depend on the CLI approach or the JS approach for interaction with SPL. The JS approach leverages the Solana/web3.js for interaction between JavaScript code and Solana blockchain. In addition, it is also important to set up the Solana CLI or Command Line Interface for interacting with Solana clusters.

Beginners might be confused in using the CLI approach. However, it offers the most secure and direct access to Solana accounts. Most important of all, the Command Line Interface is the easiest place for Solana Core Developers to deploy new functionalities.

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Role of the SPL Token Program 

One of the crucial highlights in the responses to “What is Solana Program Library?” is at SPL Token Program. It is a generic implementation for fungible as well as non-fungible tokens on Solana blockchain. SPL Token Program offers an interface alongside a detailed implementation standard that helps developers create their own tokens. The native language for writing the code is Rust, and you can find the auto-generated bindings in JavaScript, and C. Developers can also access the source code from the SPL Github Repo.

You can take the reference of Ethereum and ERC20 Token program, which functions differently than an ERC-20 smart contract. The guides on ‘how does Solana program work’ would focus on examples of publishing different tokens on Ethereum blockchain. You would have to deploy different contracts for every token that you want to publish. Each token’s contract would monitor the state of the token, such as transfers and balances.

In the case of Solana, you don’t have to deploy three different token programs. On the contrary, you could deploy a generic token program that could work across different accounts, such as minting and receiving accounts. The mint address would be responsible for identifying the token type, and the information could be used as arguments for a single static ERC20 program instance deployed on Solana chain.

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Create Your Own Token with SPL Token Program 

The SPL Token Program is one of the most important highlights in a Solana Program Library or SPL tutorial. It offers an exclusive tool for beginners to create fungible and non-fungible tokens in a few simple steps. Do you want to create your own fungible token? You can start the process by setting up your CLI wallet and having adequate devnet SOL tokens in the wallet.

The first step dives directly into creating the token by using the ‘create token’ command. It offers an instruction to the on-chain SPL Token Program for creating a new token. You would receive a Token ID in the output along with the transaction signature. Here is the command for creating the token.

spl-token create-token
  • Create the Token Account 

The SPL Token Program is the owner of the token account, which maintains control over access to such tokens along with the ‘owner’ field. It is a data account, and the Token Program can only modify the data by adding, burning, or transferring tokens. You can use the following command to create the token account. 

spl-token create-account <TOKEN-ID>

The next step in the Solana program tutorial for creating your own token focuses on minting tokens. You can use the following command for minting a specific amount of tokens.

spl-token mint <TOKEN-ID> <AMOUNT>

The following commands could help you check the existing token supply alongside the account related to the token.

spl-token supply <TOKEN-ID>

spl-token accounts 

Now, you are ready to transfer tokens, limit the token supply, and burn tokens by using simple commands such as, 

Transferring Tokens

spl-token transfer --fund-recipient <TOKEN-ID> <TRANSFER AMOUNT> <RECIPIENT ADDRESS or RECIPIENT TOKEN ACCOUNT ADDRESS>

Limiting Token Supply

spl-token authorize <TOKEN-ID> mint –disable

Burning Tokens

spl-token burn <TOKEN-ACCOUNT ADDRESS> <AMOUNT>

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Conclusion 

The overview of Solana Program Library and Solana Programs shows that Solana blockchain might unravel new possibilities for innovation in web3. With a collection of modular, pre-defined programs or smart contracts, Solana could change the dynamics of dApp development. The simplicity of the process for creating a token with the SPL Token Program reveals how SPL can boost the adoption of Solana blockchain. Learn more about SPL in a detailed guide on Solana Fundamentals right now.

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*Disclaimer: The article should not be taken as, and is not intended to provide any investment advice. Claims made in this article do not constitute investment advice and should not be taken as such. 101 Blockchains shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this article. Do your own research!

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