Motoko, Programming Language for DApps on ICP, Goes Open Source

UTC by Benjamin Godfrey · 3 min read
Motoko, Programming Language for DApps on ICP, Goes Open Source
Photo: DFINITY / Medium

The transition for open-source public usage will not come without its challenges and the Motoko team realizes this fact.

Motoko, the programming language designed to support the creation of DApps and smart contracts on the Internet Computer Protocol (ICP) is now open-sourced. The Motoko programming language has been under development for more than three years, and per the latest announcement, its full sources are now available under the Apache 2.0 License.

Motoko Programming Language: Features and Benefits to ICP Ecosystem

Motoko is a strongly typed, actor-based programming language with “built-in support for orthogonal persistence and asynchronous message passing.” The new language has a number of productivity and safety features which according to the development team include automatic memory management, generics, type inference, pattern matching, and both arbitrary- and fixed-precision arithmetic.

Motoko also draws in Internet Computer’s Candid messaging interface definition language and wire format for typed, high-level, and cross-language interoperability. The language was designed using WebAssembly (Wasm), a low-level code format that aims to be portable, safe, and efficient. Against the general perception Wasm is designed for the Web-only, it notably supports the development of applications in diverse environments ranging from the Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud Computing, and Blockchain technology amongst others.

As a versatile blockchain protocol, the underlying code base of Motoko through Wasm will aid in the evolution of diverse kinds of applications on the Internet Computer. Unlike other virtual machines, Wasm is not specific to a particular programming language and as such, its usage is diverse. This will also help the overall pursuit of the ICP project.

The Motoko programming language was designed from the ground up, and while its usage and testing have been more internal, the developers are now making it open-sourced. The development team noted that its “intention is to provide the same development experience to both internal and external contributors.” This it hopes to achieve by making its test infrastructure to be publicly accessible to all.

“We hope that this code release fosters collaboration with and contributions from the wider community, whether they involve improving documentation, polishing error messages, or producing entirely new tools such as additional IDE integration, debugger support, and code-formatting tools,” the Motoko team at the Dfinity Foundation said.

The transition for open-source public usage will not come without its challenges, a situation the Motoko team has realized, but committed to working through.

Internet Computer Seeking Higher Footing with Ethereum

Just as Motoko is to the Internet Computer, so also is Solidity the programming language of the Ethereum blockchain network. Dominic Williams recently criticized the duo of Ethereum and Polkadot for the complicated user experience interfaces and other observable flaws of both decentralized finance (DeFi) focused networks.

While the Internet Computer protocol is lagging behind in smart contract rollout due to its relatively young age, Dominic is convinced that with the current plans from the Dfinity Foundation, his protocol will have a higher number of users across the board by the end of the year.

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Benjamin Godfrey

Benjamin Godfrey is a blockchain enthusiast and journalist who relishes writing about the real life applications of blockchain technology and innovations to drive general acceptance and worldwide integration of the emerging technology. His desire to educate people about cryptocurrencies inspires his contributions to renowned blockchain media and sites.

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