Accomplishments in Q4
We prepared all Hiro products for the upcoming Stacks 2.1 upgrade, and all our tools are now ready for the network upgrade. In fact, you can now set up a local 2.1 environment to test Clarity 2 code, so you can be ready too.
Here are a few other highlights from the final quarter of the year:
- Stacks Explorer: We merged 34 PRs and made a number of improvements in the process. We added historical prices to transactions, a block visualizer to highlight Stacks’ relationship to Bitcoin, refactored the Explorer Sandbox which will enable us to make new updates to it in the future, and much more.
- Stacks API: We’ve released a number of optimizations throughout the year, which culminated in the most uneventful NFT mint in Stacks history: the API operated at 100% throughout the mint, handling 7.44M requests in 3 hours, and users got their NFTs in just a block or two. Alongside that achievement, we released v6 of the API (which reduced tail latencies by 50%), launched BNS optimizations and accomplished the legwork of breaking out microservices for token metadata and BTC-related services, both of which will be going live in the near future.
- Blockchain: In Q4, much of the team was heads down on reaching 2.1 code complete, a network upgrade that will activate later in February. We also implemented mempool optimizations that increased network throughput by ~120X and ensured blocks reached 100% fullness in times of congestion.
- Clarinet: We released Clarinet 1.0, which comes with a number of neat features (debugging tools, chainhooks, deployment plans, and more), and we also re-architected the VS Code extension from the ground up to enable Clarity developers to write smart contracts with zero installations. We also launched Clarity Insights as part of the Clarity extension and added a number of handy new features, such as Clarity2 keyword completion, contract call completion, native functions signature help, and autocomplete for data-vars, maps, and FTs and NFTs.
- Stacks.js: We prepared Stacks.js libraries for 2.1: in particular, this required big changes to the stacking package. At the end of Q3, we launched Stacks.js Starters to help developers bootstrap their frontend, and in Q4, we saw over 400+ projects started with the tool.
- Hiro Wallet: We released a number of improvements to the wallet experience, including support options, dark mode, punycode conversions for BNS account labels, and the ability for users to send tokens to BNS usernames or other accounts in their wallet. Our main longer-term focus has been on adding Bitcoin support, expected for release in early 2023.
- Documentation: We released a redesigned Hiro docs in Q4 to improve usability and enhance discoverability. We’ve now organized our docs by product, and developers can discover how-to guides, feature guides, as well as dedicated hubs for troubleshooting and FAQs.
If you’d like to learn more about our Q4 releases, check out our monthly release roundups for October, November, and December.
Priorities for Q1 2023
It’s worth noting that the upcoming Stacks 2.1 upgrade took up a lot of the Hiro team’s bandwidth in Q4, so several of our Q4 projects will continue to be priorities in Q1. Those priorities include:
- API Microservices: To continue our work to provide a reliable and scalable API, we are making some big adjustments to our API’s architecture and automated deployment strategy. On that note, we will be rolling out our first microservice instead of the current monolith-style \ API deployment that handles all queries today. The first will be a token metadata service that will provide better scalability for marketplaces and apps that require a high volume of NFT metadata. After the launch of that microservice, we plan to release a dedicated microservice for Bitcoin-related queries as well.
- Subnets: With the launch of the Stacks 2.1 network upgrade imminent, the blockchain team will soon be turning its focus back to subnets: the upcoming scalability solution for Stacks that will offer low latency, high throughput solutions for applications, as well as an environment to experiment with EVM-compatibility and zk-rollups without requiring consensus-level protocol changes to Stacks. Subnets are currently live on testnet, and in the coming weeks, we will be focusing on testing and debugging to prepare subnets for mainnet and 2.1 compatibility.
- More Bitcoin Support Across Hiro Products: We are building a client library in Stacks.js to connect to Bitcoin Core RPC, which will enable STX to BTC address conversions, and vice versa. Our goal with this library is to help developers quickly build and integrate frontend applications with BTC-specific flows. We also plan to add Bitcoin API endpoints (as mentioned in a bullet above) and more Bitcoin support to the Stacks Explorer and Hiro Wallet in order to further tighten the connection between Stacks and Bitcoin.
- Product R&D: We are also working on new hosted offerings to increase your productivity and improve the developer experience when discovering, building and deploying contracts. If you’re interested in being an early adopter, please reach out on Discord via the HIRO-PUBLIC channels.
- Network Support: We will continue to support the broader Stacks community and contribute to development work on sBTC and improvements to the Stacks blockchain.
- Docs: As part of the ongoing investment to improve the discovery and onboarding of Hiro's developer tools, we are revisiting the Hiro Documentation's design and will continue to add and reorganize content. So please help us help you with your feedback on what is missing and what would be impactful through GitHub issues.
We operate in a decentralized ecosystem with a lot going on (this is a good thing!), and there will always be worthwhile projects that we’re unable to prioritize. That being said, we’re happy to help to the degree we can. Reach out on Discord via the HIRO-PUBLIC channels if you ever need to get a hold of us.