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THis is a version of Embark framework without simulator to reduce dependencies when the testing is performed on private chain. This Readme applies to Embark 1.0.0 Beta which is currently under development. For the old version please check the old readme

What is embark

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Embark is a framework that allows you to easily develop and deploy DApps.

With Embark you can:

  • Automatically deploy contracts and make them available in your JS code. Embark watches for changes, and if you update a contract, Embark will automatically redeploy the contracts (if needed) and the dapp.
  • Use any build pipeline or tool you wish, including grunt and meteor.
  • Do Test Driven Development with Contracts using Javascript.
  • Easily deploy to & use decentralized systems such as IPFS.
  • Keep track of deployed contracts, deploy only when truly needed.
  • Manage different chains (e.g testnet, private net, livenet)
  • Quickly create advanced DApps using multiple contracts.

See the Wiki for more details.


Requirements: geth (1.1.3 or higher), node (0.12.2) and npm Optional: serpent (develop) if using contracts with Serpent

$ npm -g install embark-framework-nosim

See Complete Installation Instructions.

Usage - Demo

You can easily create a sample working DApp with the following:

$ embark demo
$ cd embark_demo

You can run a REAL ethereum node for development purposes:

$ embark blockchain

By default embark blockchain will mine a minimum amount of ether and will only mine when new transactions come in. This is quite usefull to keep a low CPU. The option can be configured at config/blockchain.yml

Then, in another command line:

$ embark run

This will automatically deploy the contracts, update their JS bindings and deploy your DApp to a local server at http://localhost:8000

Note that if you update your code it will automatically be re-deployed, contracts included. There is no need to restart embark, refreshing the page on the browser will do.

note: for a demo using meteor do embark meteor_demo followed by embark deploy then meteor

Creating a new DApp

$ embark new AppName
$ cd AppName

DApp Structure

    |___ contracts/ #solidity or serpent contracts
    |___ html/
    |___ css/
    |___ js/
    |___ blockchain.yml #environments configuration
    |___ contracts.yml  #contracts configuration
    |___ server.yml     #server configuration
    |___ contracts/ #contracts tests

Solidity/Serpent files in the contracts directory will automatically be deployed with embark run. Changes in any files will automatically be reflected in app, changes to contracts will result in a redeployment and update of their JS Bindings

Using Contracts

Embark will automatically take care of deployment for you and set all needed JS bindings. For example, the contract below:

# app/contracts/simple_storage.sol
contract SimpleStorage {
  uint public storedData;
  function SimpleStorage(uint initialValue) {
    storedData = initialValue;
  function set(uint x) {
    storedData = x;
  function get() constant returns (uint retVal) {
    return storedData;

Will automatically be available in Javascript as:

# app/js/index.js

You can specify for each contract and environment its gas costs and arguments:

# config/contracts.yml
      gas_limit: 500000
      gas_price: 10000000000000
        - 100

If you are using multiple contracts, you can pass a reference to another contract as $ContractName, Embark will automatically replace this with the correct address for the contract.

# config/contracts.yml
        - 100
        - $MyStorage
         - "initial string"
        - $SimpleStorage

You can now deploy many instances of the same contract. e.g

# config/contracts.yml
      deploy: false
        - 100
      instanceOf: Currency
        - "initial string"
      instanceOf: Currency
        - $SimpleStorage

Contracts addresses can be defined, If an address is defined the contract wouldn't be deployed but its defined address will be used instead.

      address: 0x123456
         - $UserStorage

You can also define contract interfaces (Stubs) and actions to do on deployment

      instanceOf: DataSource
        - DataSource
        - $MyDataSource
        - Manager.updateStorage($MyDataSource)
        - MyDataSource.set(5)


You can run specs with embark spec, it will run any test files under test/.

Embark includes a testing lib to fastly run & test your contracts in a EVM.

# test/simple_storage_spec.js
var assert = require('assert');
var Embark = require('embark-framework');
var EmbarkSpec = Embark.initTests();
describe("SimpleStorage", function(done) {
  before(function(done) {
  it("should set constructor value", function(done) {
    SimpleStorage.storedData(function(err, result) {
      assert.equal(result.toNumber(), 100);
  it("set storage value", function(done) {
    SimpleStorage.set(150, function() {
      SimpleStorage.get(function(err, result) {
        assert.equal(result.toNumber(), 150);

Embark uses Mocha by default, but you can use any testing framework you want.

Working with different chains

You can specify which environment to deploy to:

$ embark blockchain staging

$ embark run staging

The environment is a specific blockchain configuration that can be managed at config/blockchain.yml

# config/blockchain.yml
    rpc_host: localhost
    rpc_port: 8101
    rpc_whitelist: "*"
    datadir: default
    chains: chains_staging.json
    network_id: 0
    console: true
    geth_extra_opts: --vmdebug
      init: false
      address: 0x123

See Configuration.

Deploying only contracts

Although embark run will automatically deploy contracts, you can choose to only deploy the contracts to a specific environment

$ embark deploy privatenet

embark deploy will deploy all contracts at app/contracts and return the resulting addresses

Structuring Application

Embark is quite flexible and you can configure you're own directory structure using embark.yml

# embark.yml
  type: "manual" #other options: meteor, grunt
  contracts: ["app/contracts/**/*.sol", "app/contracts/**/*.se"] # contracts files
  output: "src/embark.js" # resulting javascript interface
  blockchainConfig: "config/blockchain.yml" # blockchain config
  contractsConfig: "config/contracts.yml" # contracts config

Deploying to IPFS

To deploy a dapp to IPFS, all you need to do is run a local IPFS node and then run embark ipfs. If you want to deploy to the live net then after configuring you account on config/blockchain.yml on the production environment then you can deploy to that chain by specifying the environment embark ipfs production.

LiveReload Plugin

Embark works quite well with the LiveReload Plugin

Debugging embark

Because embark is internally using grunt tasks, debugging is not straightforward. Example

  • you want to debug embark deploy
  • normally you would write something like node-debug -p 7000 embark -- deploy
  • This gives you nothing with embark. If you look at deploy command in ./bin/embark you will notice that it internally runs grunt task grunt deploy_contracts:[env]
  • with this knowledge we can prepare proper command to start debugging
  • node-debug -p 7000 grunt -- deploy_contracts:development

here is list of all debuggable grunt tasks


If you get EACCES (access denied) errors, don't use sudo, try this:

$ mkdir ~/npm-global
$ npm config set prefix ~/npm-global
$ echo 'export PATH="$PATH:$HOME/npm-global/bin"' >>~/.bashrc
$ source ~/.bashrc
$ npm install -g embark-framework grunt-cli