Today we published Holochain Beta 0.1.0, an app-stable beta release, the next step of our Holochain Beta release sequence.

This is a major leap in the Holochain development roadmap, and it is one we have been diligently preparing since our first Release Candidate published in December.

Let’s walk through what this means.

What does app stability mean for devs?

Over the past years of development as a rapidly iterating project we have introduced new fixes, features, and optimization to our code. In our weekly Holochain alpha releases we have typically pushed new features, structural changes, fixes, and updates, many of which would break functionality in existing applications. App developers frequently had to change their app code to access the new fixes and features. Not an easy environment to develop a fully fledged app in.

With Holochain Beta, the days of us regularly breaking your code are behind us.

Now we will be updating a beta 0.1.0 branch of Holochain with non-breaking fixes and features for six months. So you know you won’t have to make changes to your app code to keep it running. We’ll also keep the 0.1.x-compatible bootstrap and proxy services running for that entire time, so people using your hApps will be able to find and connect with each other.

Holochain’s second security audit is complete

Least Authority, a respected security firm that focuses on decentralized tech recently completed another audit for Holochain. Their first audit, completed in December 2022, was of the Lair Keystore. In this second security audit, the Holochain Deterministic Integrity library was reviewed.

Holochain Deterministic Integrity (HDI) is a hApp developer’s interface with the Holochain framework’s consistency and security model and is crucial in allowing devs to write rules that ensure all nodes make the same conclusions and ultimately reach the same state. This required the auditors to go deep into Holochain itself, analyzing the assumptions embedded in the integrity engine and networking protocol.

Here is what the Least Authority team published today:

“Our team performed a comprehensive design review and audit of the Holochain Deterministic Integrity (HDI) crate, a critical component of the Holochain system. Overall, we found the HDI crate to be highly modular and organized in a logical, compartmentalized manner.”

The report identified one issue, related to a lack of up to date design specifications, which we resolved. If you’re interested to read the findings, the full report is now available.

Dev tools coming soon

While Holochain Beta 0.1.0 is fully functional, we now need to update the multiple components and developer tools that are affected by the breaking changes introduced by Beta. We expect to have those complete by 9 February. Once that is announced you will be able to start building more easily and with the confidence that will come with our full, integrated dev stack!

Preview of new CLI scaffolding tool

In preparation for you being able to run stable apps, we’re making it much easier to build and maintain them. One of the new dev tools is a refreshed scaffolder built on feedback from the developer community. It’s useful for both new and experienced hApp devs, offering a command-line-driven process for rapidly creating boilerplate code. This isn’t just back-end DNA code, but also front-end client code (in vanilla, Vue, Svelte, and Lit flavors), tests, and a dev environment setup that keeps all your project dependencies in sync. It also supports custom templates, and we expect that the dev community will come up with all sorts of creative uses for this: templates that target that favorite front-end framework of yours, or NodeJS, or Electron or Rust; templates that bundle popular and maturing hApp libraries; and more.

Eric Harris-Braun, Holochain co-creator and a prolific hApp developer himself, has this to say about the scaffolder:

"For people who have been in the web app development world for a while, you might remember when Rails came out with its scaffolding, how much of a game changer that was for building Web2 apps—the way you could scaffold an app that runs in literally ten minutes. And what we’ve got coming out will be, I believe, just as powerful for Web3 apps. That gives developers a super powerful ability to just get started."

What can you do now?

With Beta released now and dev tools targeted to be live by 9 February, we encourage you to start developing fully fledged apps on Holochain. We know that there are many projects who have come to love Holochain over the past years but have been waiting for a beta release before they put significant investment of effort into their app development. Now is the time. Let’s show the world what real Web3 apps look like.

Dev Training opportunity

Do you know Rust? In March we have a unique education opportunity led by the Co-founder of HackReactor. It is synchronous, online Holochain developer training. Please apply!

If you’re not a developer consider sending folks to start building your developer team, or help us create direct hiring opportunities for our next crop of alumni. With a stable beta, now is the time to learn and grow with the ecosystem.

What’s next?

Three key pieces:

  • We are working on an updated whitepaper, so you can read about the underlying logic behind the code. Keep an eye out for that.
  • The Holochain team is also already working towards a beta 0.2.0 with enhancements to network security and performance, along with any breaking API, SDK, or protocol changes that are discovered to be necessary or useful. This will be released and run alongside Beta 0.1.x, giving you time for comprehensive testing and migration without a loss of support.
  • We’ll also be updating the Dev Portal alongside the release of the components and dev tools to reflect these changes and provide an easy learning environment and knowledge base to help you build.