When building an Ethereum application with smart contracts, you'll want to run it on a local network to see how it works before deploying it.
Similar to how you might run a local server on your computer for web development, you can use a development network to create a local blockchain instance to test your dapp. These Ethereum development networks provide features that allow for much faster iteration than a public testnet (for instance you don’t need to deal with acquiring ETH from a testnet faucet).
Development networks are essentially Ethereum clients (implementations of Ethereum) designed specifically for local development.
Why not just run a standard Ethereum node locally?
You could run a node (like Geth, Erigon, or Nethermind) but since development networks are purpose-built for development, they often come packed with convenient features like:
- Deterministically seeding your local blockchain with data (e.g. accounts with ETH balances)
- Instantly mining blocks with each transaction it receives, in order and with no delay
- Enhanced debugging and logging functionality
Quickly fire up a personal Ethereum blockchain which you can use to run tests, execute commands, and inspect state while controlling how the chain operates.
Ganache provides both a desktop application (Ganache UI), as well as a command-line tool (
ganache-cli). It is part of the Truffle suite of tools.
A local Ethereum network designed for development. It allows you to deploy your contracts, run your tests and debug your code
Hardhat Network comes built-in with Hardhat, an Ethereum development environment for professionals.
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