How to Prompt Users to Sign Transactions ✍

In the Stacks ecosystem, users have to sign transactions before those transactions can be executed. Let’s talk about the transaction flow and how you get users to sign transactions when using your application.

Type
Tutorial
Topic(s)
Published
April 14, 2022
Author(s)
Full Stack Engineer
Signing transactions
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One of the main design principles of blockchains is that users are in control of their data and their assets. To that end, users have to sign transactions before those transactions can be executed on their behalf. This means that in your app, you need to incorporate transaction signing throughout the user flow in order for users to execute the Clarity smart contracts that are relevant to your application.

In this article, I’ll walk through parts of the connect package of Stacks.js and show you how to prompt users to sign transactions.

Getting the User’s STX Address

In order to sign transactions, you first need to authenticate the user and generate a userSession object. Check out this blog post for more information on the authentication process.

Once the user is authenticated, you can now pull the user’s Stacks address from the session, as discussed in the blog post linked above.


const address = userSession.loadUserData().profile.stxAddress;

const mainnetAddress = address.mainnet;
// "SP2K5SJNTB6YP3VCTCBE8G35WZBPVN6TDMDJ96QAH"
const testnetAddress = address.testnet;
// "ST2K5SJNTB6YP3VCTCBE8G35WZBPVN6TDMFEVESR6"

With their address, applications can now construct various transactions. For example, sometimes we need a user’s address for use in a smart contract. A sender’s address is not always needed for simple cases — as seen in the token transfer below.

Constructing and Signing Transactions

There are 3 types of transactions that can be signed on the Stacks network:

  • STX transfer
  • Smart contract deployment
  • Smart contract execution

Before constructed transactions are “valid” from a network’s perspective, they need to be signed. For each transaction type, you will call a function provided by the connect package that will then trigger the display of a transaction signing prompt for that specific type.

For example, for a STX transfer, you would call the openSTXTransfer function. Transferring 100 microstacks to address ST2EB…3CV on the testnet looks like this:


import { openSTXTransfer } from "@stacks/connect";
import { StacksTestnet } from "@stacks/network";

openSTXTransfer({
  recipient: "ST2EB9WEQNR9P0K28D2DC352TM75YG3K0GT7V13CV",
  amount: "100",
  memo: "Reimbursement",
  network: new StacksTestnet(), // for mainnet, `new StacksMainnet()`
  appDetails: {
    name: "My App",
    icon: window.location.origin + "/my-app-logo.svg",
  },
  onFinish: (data) => {
    console.log("Stacks Transaction:", data.stacksTransaction);
    console.log("Transaction ID:", data.txId);
    console.log("Raw transaction:", data.txRaw);
  },
});

As you can see here, there are several parameters available for calling in this function, including (but not limited to):

  • recipient: the STX address for the recipient of the transfer
  • amount: the amount to be transferred (in microstacks, 1 STX = 1,000,000 microstacks)
  • memo: optional details about the transaction
  • appDetails: the name and logo of your application

This function will then trigger a display for the user to sign the corresponding transaction, which they can confirm or cancel.

You can see a full list of parameters for all 3 transaction types in our documentation.

Getting the Signed Transaction Back

Once you prompt the user to sign a transaction, you are also able to specify an onFinish callback. This callback will trigger after the user broadcasts their signed transaction to the network.

Note: This transaction will still be pending at the time of the callback until the transaction has been successfully mined on the Stacks blockchain!

This callback is returned as a single argument, which is an object with the following properties:

The txID can also be used to provide a link to view the transaction in the Stacks Explorer:


...
onFinish: (data) => {
  const explorerTransactionUrl = "https://explorer.stacks.co/txid/${data.txId}";
  console.log("View transaction in explorer:", explorerTransactionUrl);
},

Transaction Request and Transaction Response

@stacks/connect serializes and deserializes data between your app and the Stacks wallet. Under the hood, the payloads use tokens that conform to the JSON Web Token (JWT) standard with additional support for the secp256k1 curve used by Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies. Visit the documentation for more information on the transaction requests/responses and using @stacks/connect with React.

Conclusion

The Hiro team has bundled all of this functionality into the connect package of Stacks.js to make app development more of a seamless experience. With this package, you can seamlessly integrate flows for signing transactions, so that users can interact with your application.

To learn more about signing transactions, check out our documentation for more details.

View Documentation
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