April 12, 2022

How to deploy a smart contract with Brownie

Overview

Python is one of the most versatile programming languages; from researchers running their test models to developers using it in heavy production environments, it has use cases in every possible technical field. In today's guide, we will learn about Brownie, a Python-based tool used to write and deploy smart contracts.

Prerequisites
  • Python3 installed
  • Ethereum node
  • Text editor
  • Command-line
  • Love for brownies

What is Brownie?

Smart contract development is majorly dominated by JavaScript-based libraries like web3.js, ethers.js, Truffle, and Hardhat. Python is a versatile, highly used language and can also be used for smart contracts/web3 development; web3.py is a compelling Python library that fulfills web3 needs. Brownie framework is built on top of web3.py.

Brownies are small rectangular confectionary items loved by everyone, but the Brownie we are talking about today is a Python-based framework to develop and test smart contracts. Brownie has support for both Solidity and Vyper contracts, and it even provides contract testing via pytest.

To demonstrate the process of writing and deploying a smart contract with Brownie, we will use Brownie-mixes which are template projects. Specifically, we will use a token mix, which is a template of the ERC-20 implementation.

Installing dependencies

Brownie is built on top of python3, so we need it installed to work with brownie; let us check if we have python3 installed on our system. To do so, type the following in your terminal/cmd:

python3 -V

This should return the version of python3 installed. If not installed, download and install it from the official python website.

Let us make a project directory before installing brownie, and make that project directory our current working directory:

mkdir brownieDemo
cd brownieDemo

Now that you have installed python3 on your system let us install brownie using pip, Python's package manager. Pip is similar to what npm is for JavaScript. Type the following in your terminal/cmd:

pip3 install eth-brownie
## If the install failS, use the following command for better luck.
sudo pip3 install eth-brownie

To check if Brownie was installed correctly, type brownie in your terminal/cmd, and it should give the following output:


To get the token mix, type the following in your terminal/cmd:

brownie bake token

This will create a new directory token/ in our brownieDemo directory.

File Structure

First of all, lets cd into the token directory:

cd token

Now, open the token directory in your text editor. Under the contracts/ folder, you will find Token.sol, which is our main contract; you can write your own contracts or modify this. Under the scripts/ folder, you will find token.py python script; this script will be used to deploy the contract, and modifications are needed based on contracts.


The contract is an ERC-20 contract; you can learn more about the ERC-20 standards and contracts in this guide on ERC-20 tokens.

Booting our Ethereum node

We will deploy our contract on the Ropsten testnet instead of running our own node. It is more convenient to get a free trial endpoint from QuickNode. Make sure to select Ethereum as the chain and Ropsten as the network during checkout.

Screenshot of Quicknode Ropsten Endpoint

Save the HTTP URL. We will need it in the next step.

Network and Account Set Up.

We need to set up our QuickNode endpoint with Brownie. To do so, type the following in your terminal/cmd:

brownie networks add Ethereum ropstenquicknode host=YOUR_QUICKNODE_URL chainid=3

Replace YOUR_QUICKNODE_URL with the Ropsten URL we got in the last step.

In the above command, Ethereum is the name of the environment, and ropstenquicknode is the custom name of the network; you can give any name to your custom network.

The next thing we need to do here is to create a new wallet using Brownie. To do so, type the following in your terminal/cmd. You will be asked to set up a password for your account.

brownie accounts generate testac

This will generate an account along with a mnemonic phrase and save it offline. The name testac is the name for our account. You can choose any name that you would like.


Note: Mnemonic phrases can be used to recover an account or import the account to other non-custodial wallets. The account you see in the image above was just created for this guide. 

Copy the account address so that we can get some test ETH, which will be required to deploy our contract.

Getting test ETH

As our contract will be deployed on the Ropsten testnet, we will require some Ropsten test ETH to pay for the gas fee. Head over to the Ropsten faucet, paste your address in the field, and click on "Send me test Ether".

Deploying our contract

Before deploying the contract, we need to compile it using:

brownie compile


Now open the scripts/token.py in your text editor, and make the following changes:

#!/usr/bin/python3

from brownie import Token, accounts

def main():
    acct = accounts.load('testac')
    return Token.deploy("Test Token", "TST", 18, 1e21, {'from': acct})

Line 6: We added this line to import the testac account we created earlier and stored it in the acct variable.

Line 7: On this line, we edited the 'From': part to have our acct variable.

FINALLY, we will deploy our contract using the deployment script (scripts/token.py here):

brownie run token.py --network ropstenquicknode

In the above command, ropstenquicknode is the name of the custom network which we created earlier. The prompt will ask you for the password which we set earlier while making the account. After running the above command, you must get the transaction hash, and Brownie will wait for the transaction to get confirmed. Once the transaction is confirmed, it will return the address at which our contract is deployed on the Ropsten testnet.


You can check out the deployed contract by copy-pasting the contract address at Ropsten etherscan.

Conclusion

So, today we learned brownies are good, but Brownie the framework is the best. We learned how to import a Brownie-mix, add a custom network, create an account, and compile and deploy a contract, and we used Brownie for the entire process!

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