In this article, we’ll demystify Web3.js and open up the world of Ethereum for everyone, using simple language, relatable stories, and step-by-step guidance.
Before we dive into the details, let’s get some perspective.
Web3.js is a collection of libraries that allow you to interact with a local or remote Ethereum node, using a HTTP, WebSocket or IPC connection.
In simpler terms, Web3.js acts as a bridge that allows our software applications to communicate and interact with the Ethereum blockchain. It’s the channel that allows you to send Ether (the currency of Ethereum), deploy and interact with smart contracts, and create decentralized applications (dApps).
Getting started with Web3.js is as simple as installing any other node.js package. You’ll need Node.js and npm installed on your machine.
Once you have these, you can install the web3 module using npm:
npm install web3
const Web3 = require('web3');
Now that we have Web3.js set up, let’s get it connected to the Ethereum blockchain.
For this, we need an Ethereum node. An Ethereum node is like a gateway into the Ethereum network.
Luckily, services like Infura provide us access to Ethereum nodes, so we don’t have to run one ourselves.
After signing up for Infura, you will receive a URL that you can use to connect to the Ethereum blockchain:
const web3 = new Web3('YOUR_INFURA_URL');
At this point, our application is now connected to the Ethereum blockchain.
Yes, it’s that simple!
With our connection established, we can now send and receive Ether, read data, and interact with smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain.