Block Explorer

How to make a Block Explorer using BlockchainDB.

A Block Explorer is a GUI that allows users to visually explore blockchain data.

Block Explorers enable users to monitor blockchain transactions, blocks, fee rates, address balances, and much more, for multiple public and private blockchains, all within one dashboard. Block Explorers are essentially the internet browsers of blockchain and a pivotal layer needed in order to successfully interface with a blockchain. A business may want to build a Block Explorer to see live fee rates, mempool activity, conduct bulk import/export of addresses, and share transaction statuses with customers.

The challenge with building a Block Explorer, however, is that blockchains are notoriously difficult to develop with. Blockchain data is messy, constantly reorganizing and updating, and does not play well with other data. Furthermore, the infrastructure required to gather this data in the first place is expensive and complex, turning away most who desire to build a Block Explorer. This usually resorts to utilizing somebody else's untailored, clunky software.

Block Explorers without the Blockset API

Building a Block Explorer from scratch (without Blockset) would require costly cloud infrastructure, dedicated Dev-ops personnel to maintain each blockchain node, specialized resources that are at the ground level of each open-source project, indexing tools for the blockchain nodes you are managing, custom services for aggregating and translating blockchain data, a custom API for formating and calling blockchain data into web client context, and many other technical/operational considerations.

You would need to do this for every single blockchain you want the block explorer to access.

In order to develop your own Block Explorer you would need to:

  1. Build out and manage your own cluster of blockchain nodes.
  2. Develop a Blockchain proxy service that would be responsible for retrieving the raw data off those nodes.
    • Requiring specialized dev-ops and backup nodes
    • Dozens of functions
    • With messy, low-level data
  3. Build a Data Aggregator to take in that data into your own custom database.
    • Need to constantly update and refresh your database to new blockchain reorganizations
    • Find a solution for dealing with "stale blocks"
  4. Build a Data Translator in order to wrangle, refactor, and format the messy data into something that's more usable for business logic and web services.
  5. Build a custom API to pull data from the Database in order to populate the web client.
  6. Create custom services for any unique features desired (such as indexes for getting address balances).
  7. Connect to third-party services for blockchain analytics and market prices.
  8. Design and Develop the front-end Web Client for the Block Explorer GUI.

Block Explorers with Blockset

Blockset takes care of all the expensive cloud infrastructure, complicated node management, custom services, specialized dev-ops, and more, so that dealing with blockchain data becomes simple and accessible. The Blockset API takes all the low-level blockchain data and gives it to you in an application ready format.

Blockset takes all the backend hassle of dealing with blockchain data and turns it into a simple HTTP request.

To develop a Block Explorer using Blockset, you simply need to:

  1. Build a small server which houses your own business logic and talks to the Blockset API to receive application ready blockchain data.
  2. Create any custom services or features desired for your project.
  3. Design and Develop the front-end Web Client for the Block Explorer GUI.

In conclusion

Block Explorers are one of the most important software layers needed in order to interface with a blockchain. Building a Block Explorer can be useful for many applications as they provide a visual interface to explore, track, and analyze blockchain data. If you wanted to develop a Block Explorer from scratch, it would take extensive custom hardware and software development, requiring you to hire specialized Senior Dev-ops personnel and maintain continuous infrastructure updates. With Blockset's API, these efforts are taken care of and getting the blockchain data for your a Block Explorer becomes as simple as making an HTTP request.

Contact us for any help and questions regarding Blockset implementation.

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