Hyperledger Composer – Refine and deploy your blockchain network

Blockchain is HOT

You can’t go many places these days without hearing about blockchain. It is a truly disruptive technology that will change the way people do business with each other. If you have wanted to learn more about Blockchain but think the barrier to entry is too high, I have good news: Hyperledger Composer. Yes, that’s the good news. Read on.

Wait, what the heck is Hyperledger Composer?

Hyperledger Composer is a set of tools that allows you to quickly build, test, and manage blockchain applications. One of several projects under the Hyperledger umbrella, Composer provides:

  • A Domain-Specific Language (DSL) called CTO that lets you model a blockchain network
  • A sandbox – called Playground – that lets you quickly prototype a blockchain application
  • A command line interface (CLI) for managing and interacting with blockchain applications
  • Security through the use of ACL-style permissions
  • Tools
  • Lots more!

Using Composer, you can quickly build, test, and then manage blockchain applications that run on the Hyperledger Fabric.

Composer lowers the bar to building Fabric applications. How? Composer provides a framework that includes many common features of production-quality blockchain applications like management and security. So you spend your time writing business logic, not infrastructure.

Now, before going any further, if you haven’t checked out Part 1 of this series, you should do that now.

How do I work with a real blockchain network?

In Part 1 of the tutorial series, I showed you about the CTO language, and how to model, deploy, and test a simple blockchain network application using Composer Playground.

Surely there’s more to it than that, right?

Of course. You’ll need tools in order to use Composer to work with real blockchain networks. Tools like:

  • Node.js
  • The Composer CLI
  • VSCode

What about unit testing your chaincode transactions? Composer has you covered. Through Cucumber steps written specifically for Composer, you can test every inch of your blockchain network (okay, maybe not every inch, but Cucumber is super-extensible).

How about a tutorial?

So, you’re convinced Composer is THE tool to use for building Hyperledger Fabric applications. Now what do you do? Sounds like you need a tutorial. Don’t worry, IBM developerWorks and I have you covered.

I’ve written a three part tutorial series on how to use Composer. When you’re finished with this tutorial series, you’ll be ready to build the next hot blockchain application. I talked about Part 1 of the series in a previous blog post. So be sure to check that out if you haven’t already.

In Part 2 of the series, called Hyperledger Composer Basics, Refine and deploy your blockchain network, available at IBM developerWorks, you’ll install the necessary tools to work with real Hyperledger Fabric applications running on your computer, including unit testing your chaincode using Cucumber. Part 2 is all about the development process for building blockchain applications. If you want to be a serious blockchain developer, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

How do I learn more?

Check out these links to learn more about Blockchain and Hyperledger Fabric and Composer:

Videos

Setup your Composer development environment:

Thanks for reading, and happy blockchaining!

–jsp

Hyperledger Composer – Model and test a blockchain network

Blockchain is HOT

You can’t go many places these days without hearing about blockchain. It is a truly disruptive technology that will change the way people do business with each other. If you have wanted to learn more about Blockchain but think the barrier to entry is too high, I have good news: Hyperledger Composer. Yes, that’s the good news. Read on.

What is Hyperledger Composer?

Hyperledger Composer is a set of tools that allows you to quickly build, test, and manage blockchain applications. One of several projects under the Hyperledger umbrella, Composer provides:

  • A Domain-Specific Language (DSL) called CTO that lets you model a blockchain network
  • A sandbox – called Playground – that lets you quickly prototype a blockchain application
  • A command line interface (CLI) for managing and interacting with blockchain applications
  • Security through the use of ACL-style permissions
  • Tools
  • Lots more!

Using Composer, you can quickly build, test, and then manage blockchain applications that run on the Hyperledger Fabric.

Composer lowers the bar to building Fabric applications. How? Composer provides a framework that includes many common features of production-quality blockchain applications like management and security. So you spend your time writing business logic, not infrastructure.

How about a tutorial?

So, you want to build a blockchain application, and Composer sounds like a good tool for getting you started. Now what do you do? Sounds like you need a tutorial. Don’t worry, IBM developerWorks and I have you covered.

I’ve written a three part tutorial series on how to use Composer. When you’re finished with this tutorial series, you’ll be ready to build the next hot blockchain application.

In Part 1 of the series, called Hyperledger Composer Basics, Model and test your blockchain network, available at IBM developerWorks, I tell you all about these features of Composer, and show you how to use them as you work with a perishable goods network. You’ll learn how to model a blockchain network’s features – such as assets, participants, and transactions – using the Composer CTO language, and you’ll see how to use the Composer Playground to quickly prototype and test the perishable goods network using an embedded Hyperledger Fabric instance that runs inside a Docker container.

How do I learn more?

Check out these links to learn more about Blockchain and Hyperledger Fabric and Composer:

Take a video tour of Composer Playground:

 

Model and test a blockchain network using Playground:

 

Thanks for reading, and happy blockchaining!

–jsp

Container Orchestration with Kubernetes, Part 5

Managing Kubernetes

Hey everybody! In this post, I’d like to talk about Container-centric infrastructure with Kubernetes. This is Part 5 of a series of posts on using installing and using Kubernetes.

If you missed Part 4 where I give you Install Kubernetes on your Computer (Minikube), make sure to check that out.

In this post I’ll show you two ways to manage your Kubernetes applications:

  • kubectl
  • Kubernetes Web UI Dashboard

The kubectl command

When Kubernetes starts a pod it’s isolated in its own network. So how do we interact with the application?

One way is through a proxy, which you can start in a separate terminal window. Start a new Terminal window and execute the kubectl proxy command.

kubectl proxy

By default the proxy uses port 8001, but you can specify a different port using the --port option.

kubectl proxy --port=8080

This starts the proxy using port 8080. Now you can connect to the cluster through port 8080 on your computer.

I’ve written a script to get the pod name and use it to access the application through the cluster’s REST interface. The script is called test-k8sdemo.sh and takes the port as an argument.

./test-k8sdemo.sh 8080

And there you see the output.

Now that we have an app up and running, let’s talk about how to manage it. You can use the kubectl command to get information about pods, deployments, and so on.

For example, you can show a listing of the deployments:

kubectl get deployments

Or of the pods:

kubectl get pods

You can even get detailed information about the pods:

kubectl describe pods

This produces a lot of output, but it’s valuable (if somewhat verbose) information.

Kubernetes Web UI Dashboard

Now I love the command line as much as anybody, but did you know that Kubernetes has a Web-based UI dashboard?

By default the Dashboard is not deployed. From the documentation, you can copy the command to create the deployment through the kubectl command:

kubectl create -f https://raw.githubusercontent.com/kubernetes/dashboard/master/src/deploy/recommended/kubernetes-dashboard.yaml

Paste the above command into the console to deploy it.

Make sure the proxy is running (I showed you how to do this in Part 4). Start the proxy in a separate Terminal window:

kubectl proxy --port=8001

Once the Dashboard is deployed you can access it from http://localhost:8001/ui.

You can see the same basic information as from the various kubectl commands, but in a UI. Here’s an example of what I see using Chrome:

Conclusion

Well, that’s it for this series. I hope you enjoyed it, and make sure to check out the video below that walks you through everything I covered in this blog series (it’s true what they say: a video is worth a thousand pictures!).

Want to know more?

If you want to learn more about Kubernetes, check out this post at IBM developerWorks: What is Kubernetes?

Be sure to check out the other posts in this series:

Check out this video at IBM developerWorks TV, where I show you everything I covered in Parts 1-5 of this series:

Introduction to Kubernetes:

Thanks for reading!

–jsp

Container Orchestration with Kubernetes, Part 4

Working with Kubernetes on your Computer (Minikube)

Hey everybody! In this post, I’d like to talk about Container-centric infrastructure with Kubernetes. This is Part 4 of a series of posts on using installing and using Kubernetes.

If you missed Part 3 where I give you Install Kubernetes on your Computer (Minikube), make sure to check that out.

The Application

So now you’re finally ready to start using Kubernetes. The first step in deploying a containerized application is, well, the application. I’ve put together some demo JavaScript code that you’ll run as a Node.js application.

Open a Terminal window or command prompt, navigate to a location on your computer where you want the code to land and clone the code from GitHub.

git clone https://github.com/makotogo/developerWorks

Navigate to the kubernetes directory and take a look at the JavaScript code. This toy application doesn’t do anything serious, just outputs a message to the console. But it’s enough for our purposes here.

Now run the application in Node.

node k8sdemo.js

Open a browser and point it to http://localhost:8080 to see the message.

And there it is. Now that you have an application, it’s time to containerize it.

Containerize the application

Here’s how you use Docker to do that. Take a look at the Dockerfile:

FROM node:6.11.4
EXPOSE 8080
COPY k8sdemo.js .
CMD node k8sdemo.js

Use this Docker definition to containerize the application. But before we can do that we need to start minikube, and I’ll show you why in a minute.

Execute the minikube start command:

minikube start

The first time Minikube runs, it has to download the ISO image to run inside of VirtualBox, and may take a minute or two depending on the speed of your internet connection. Once the image has been downloaded, minikube will start.

Minikube runs inside VirtualBox in its own VM. We need to make sure that Docker uses the internal Docker registry on Minikube’s VM by executing this command:

eval $(minikube docker-env)

Otherwise Docker will use the local registry on your machine, which is not accessible from the VM where minikube is running.

Now, from the Terminal window, execute the docker build command:

docker build -t k8sdemo:v1 .

This will create the image with a name of k8sdemo and a tag of v1, and store it in the Docker registry on the minikube host VM. When deploying the image to Minikube, you’ll reference that tag explicitly.

From the Terminal window execute the kubectl run command:

kubectl run k8sdemo --image=k8sdemo:v1 --port=8080

And now the application is up and running in its own Pod.

Conclusion

In this post I showed you how to work with Kubernetes on your computer. You containerized a simple application, then deployed it to your local Kubernetes cluster.

In Part 5, I’ll show you how to manage an application running in a Kubernetes cluster using kubectl and the Kubernetes Web UI Dashboard.

Want to know more?

If you want to learn more about Kubernetes, check out this post at IBM developerWorks: What is Kubernetes?

Be sure to check out the other posts in this series:

Check out this video at IBM developerWorks TV, where I show you everything I covered in Parts 1-5 of this series:

Introduction to Kubernetes:

Thanks for reading!

–jsp

Container Orchestration with Kubernetes, Part 3

Install Kubernetes on your Computer (Minikube)

Hey everybody! In this post, I’d like to talk about Container-centric infrastructure with Kubernetes. This is Part 3 of a series of posts on using installing and using Kubernetes.

If you missed Part 2 where I give you Kubernetes Overview, make sure to check that out.

In this post, I want to walk you through installing the software you need to run Kubernetes on your computer.

Install the software

You’ll need a few pieces of software to run Kubernetes on your computer:

  • Docker
  • VirtualBox (or some other virtualization software)
  • Node.js
  • Minikube

Install Docker

First, you need Docker. You can find instructions for your platform by clicking this link. If you already have Docker installed, skip to the next section.

Scroll down until you see your platform, which is MacOS in my case, so I’ll click on Docker for MacOS. I want the distribution from the Stable channel, so I click on the link that says Get Docker for Mac (Stable). Always verify the 256 bit SHA checksum of the downloaded file matches what is published.

Now double-click the DMG file to begin the installation, and follow the instructions.

Install VirtualBox

Minikube requires a virtualization environment in order to run. If you want to use software other than VirtualBox, check out the Getting Started with Minikube page at kubernetes.io. If you already have VirtualBox installed, skip to the next section.

To install VirtualBox, go to the VirtualBox installation page, and click on the link that matches your platform. ALWAYS verify the SHA256 checksum matches the downloaded file.

Now double-click the DMG file to begin the installation, and follow the instructions.

Install Node.js

In order to test the demo application, you’ll need Node.js installed. I already have Node.js installed on my Mac, so I’ll skip that for the video. Make sure to check out the Node.js installation page. If you already have Node.js installed, skip to the next section.

Click on the download link that matches your platform, and follow the instructions.

Install Minikube

Go to the Minikube page at GitHub, and look for Installation.

I like to use Homebrew to install software on my Mac. If you’re using Linux or Windows, the Minikube installation page has instructions for those platforms as well.

Drop out to a Terminal window and execute the brew cask install for Minikube:

brew cask install minikube

Homebrew installs Minikube and now it’s ready to go. Yes, it really is that easy (on MacOS anyway).

Conclusion

Now you have all the software you need to work with Kubernetes on your computer. Stay tuned for Part 4, where I’ll show you how to work with Minikube and define an application, deploy it to your local k8s cluster.

Want to know more?

If you want to learn more about Kubernetes, check out this post at IBM developerWorks: What is Kubernetes?

Be sure to check out other posts in this series:

Check out this video at IBM developerWorks TV, where I show you everything I covered in Parts 1-5 of this series:

Introduction to Kubernetes:

Thanks for reading!

–jsp

Container Orchestration with Kubernetes, Part 2

Kubernetes Overview

Hey everybody! In this post, I’d like to talk about Container-centric infrastructure with Kubernetes. This is Part 2 of a series of posts on using installing and using Kubernetes.

If you missed Part 1 where I talk about “Why Containers?”, make sure to check that out.

In this post, I want to give you an overiew of Kubernetes.

Pods

(Source: https://kubernetes.io/docs/tutorials/kubernetes-basics/explore-intro/)

A Pod is where an application is deployed, and contains resources specific to an application, such as file storage.

Pods can contain multiple applications, and all applications in a Pod share the same IP address and port space. Think of a Pod as the logical host, and is the atomic unit of deployment and scheduling in a Kubernetes cluster.

Nodes

(Source: https://kubernetes.io/docs/tutorials/kubernetes-basics/explore-intro/)

A Node is a physical or virtual machine in the cluster, and runs one or more Pods.

Each running Pod with the same definition is called a replica, and a Pod can be instantiated more than once to improve application scalability within the cluster.

Desired state of the cluster

The job of Kubernetes – specifically the master – is the maintain the desired state of the cluster at all times. But what is the desired state?

Let’s start with the documentation.

The desired state is defined as the applications and workloads you want to run, what container images to use, the number of Pod replicas, and other stuff like network and disk resources that your applications need. The master compares the current state of the cluster to the desired state and if they differ, makes any necessary adjustments until the desired state is once again reached.

This is helpful for, say, when an application crashes. The master will detect the application is no longer running, and restart the it. Now the cluster is back to the desired state.

Conclusion

In this post I introduced you to Kubernetes.

Stay tuned for Part 3, where I walk you through installing all of the software you need to run Kubernetes on your computer!

Want to know more?

If you want to learn more about Kubernetes, check out this post at IBM developerWorks: What is Kubernetes?

Be sure to check out other posts in this series:

Check out this video at IBM developerWorks TV, where I show you everything I covered in Parts 1-5 of this series:

Introduction to Kubernetes:

Thanks for reading!

–jsp

Kitematic: Use This Tool

Hey everybody!

If you use Docker and don’t use Kitematic, you’re missing out!

TL;DR

Kitematic is an awesome addition to your Docker toolbox. Download it here.

What is Kitematic?

It’s a graphical tool that lets you see what is running in your local Docker environment.

You’re probably used to docker ps, and docker images, and so on, to see what Docker is doing. But Kitematic can show you that information in a GUI.

So?

Okay, so I’m working on Part 3 of a tutorial series I’m doing for IBM developerWorks, and I have Hyperledger Fabric running in Docker.

Contrast this:

Ix:~ sperry$ docker ps
 CONTAINER ID        IMAGE                                                                                                                        COMMAND                  CREATED             STATUS              PORTS                                            NAMES
 c8e71d740f38        dev-peer0.org1.example.com-digitalproperty-network-0.14.3-b524d4b38bf773adade74e18741aacd93212883d30ef9b63def86797a270f038   "chaincode -peer.a..."   44 minutes ago      Up 44 minutes                                                        dev-peer0.org1.example.com-digitalproperty-network-0.14.3
 2931d5073686        dev-peer0.org1.example.com-perishable-network-0.14.3-02848cbd757516cb261270e628f79e44a5d478431848d48302bac059fa1b3fd5        "chaincode -peer.a..."   21 hours ago        Up 21 hours                                                          dev-peer0.org1.example.com-perishable-network-0.14.3
 9e4edf0acb21        hyperledger/fabric-peer:x86_64-1.0.3                                                                                         "peer node start -..."   21 hours ago        Up 21 hours         0.0.0.0:7051->7051/tcp, 0.0.0.0:7053->7053/tcp   peer0.org1.example.com
 7392660e2da1        hyperledger/fabric-ca:x86_64-1.0.3                                                                                           "sh -c 'fabric-ca-..."   21 hours ago        Up 21 hours         0.0.0.0:7054->7054/tcp                           ca.org1.example.com
 61ffea441cc6        hyperledger/fabric-orderer:x86_64-1.0.3                                                                                      "orderer"                21 hours ago        Up 21 hours         0.0.0.0:7050->7050/tcp                           orderer.example.com
 8034e8baa63e        hyperledger/fabric-couchdb:x86_64-1.0.3                                                                                      "tini -- /docker-e..."   21 hours ago        Up 21 hours         4369/tcp, 9100/tcp, 0.0.0.0:5984->5984/tcp       couchdb
 Ix:~ sperry$

With this:

Screenshot 2017-11-06 11.43.13

You can see the same info, but in a GUI format. Now, I love the command line as much as anybody, but sometimes figuring out what is going on with Docker through the command line can be frustrating. Not that the information isn’t there; just that it’s not super easy to tease out the information I’m looking for.

What else?

With Kitematic, you can see the logs for each container, just as you can with the docker logs command.

Compare this:

$ docker logs 61ffea441cc6

2017-11-05 20:19:38.265 UTC [orderer/main] main -> INFO 001 Starting orderer:
 Version: 1.0.3
 Go version: go1.7.5
 OS/Arch: linux/amd64
2017-11-05 20:19:38.274 UTC [bccsp_sw] openKeyStore -> DEBU 002 KeyStore opened at [/etc/hyperledger/msp/orderer/msp/keystore]...done
2017-11-05 20:19:38.274 UTC [bccsp] initBCCSP -> DEBU 003 Initialize BCCSP [SW]
2017-11-05 20:19:38.275 UTC [msp] getPemMaterialFromDir -> DEBU 004 Reading directory /etc/hyperledger/msp/orderer/msp/signcerts
.
.
2017-11-06 16:49:34.979 UTC [fsblkstorage] updateCheckpoint -> DEBU a7f Broadcasting about update checkpointInfo: latestFileChunkSuffixNum=[0], latestFileChunksize=[213666], isChainEmpty=[false], lastBlockNumber=[7]
2017-11-06 16:49:34.979 UTC [orderer/multichain] WriteBlock -> DEBU a80 [channel: composerchannel] Wrote block 7
2017-11-06 16:49:34.979 UTC [fsblkstorage] retrieveBlockByNumber -> DEBU a81 retrieveBlockByNumber() - blockNum = [7]
2017-11-06 16:49:34.979 UTC [fsblkstorage] newBlockfileStream -> DEBU a82 newBlockfileStream(): filePath=[/var/hyperledger/production/orderer/chains/composerchannel/blockfile_000000], startOffset=[205101]
2017-11-06 16:49:34.979 UTC [fsblkstorage] nextBlockBytesAndPlacementInfo -> DEBU a83 Remaining bytes=[8565], Going to peek [8] bytes
2017-11-06 16:49:34.979 UTC [fsblkstorage] nextBlockBytesAndPlacementInfo -> DEBU a84 Returning blockbytes - length=[8563], placementInfo={fileNum=[0], startOffset=[205101], bytesOffset=[205103]}
2017-11-06 16:49:34.979 UTC [orderer/common/deliver] Handle -> DEBU a85 [channel: composerchannel] Delivering block for (0xc4208547c0)

With this:

You can see the logs (under the Home tab on the right-hand side of the UI), in addition to information about the port that is exposed on localhost, the volumes that are mounted, and settings for both.

Get Kitematic

How do you use Kitematic? Go to the Docker drop-down menu in the status tray (mine is at the top of the screen on my Mac),

And select Kitematic. The first time you do this, you’ll see this dialog:

Click the “here” link (which takes you to https://download.docker.com/kitematic/Kitematic-Mac.zip). Once the ZIP file is downloaded, unzip it. It contains the Kitematic app, which you then drag and drop into your Applications folder. The next time you select Kitematic from the Docker drop-down, it fires up seamlessly.

You can sign into Docker Hub if you have an ID (if not, just select “Skip for Now”).

That’s it! Now you can use Kitematic.

Fini

I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t use the Docker command line tools. They’re great. But Kitematic is another tool in your Docker arsenal.

Enjoy. And thanks for reading!

–jsp