Development Guides




Installing from Source

A step-by-step guide on how to prepare a fully-functional Production environment from source.

If you plan on using Core V3 for testing or development, consider setting up a Development environment by Using the Install Script.

If you don’t have access to a Linux box you can quickly setup one on DigitalOcean by using this $100 referral link: Referral Link .


This guide will take you through the basic steps of setting up a development environment from scratch on a fresh Linux (*.deb based) box. We officially recommend and support Ubuntu operating system.

Step 1: User setup

We will create a new user ark and add this user to the sudoers group (allowing root execution if needed). You can skip this step as a developer and continue to next steps below.

If you are running on a fresh cloud box, like for example DigitalOcean , then create a user with the following commands below.

# Create the user (example: 'ark')
sudo adduser ark
sudo usermod -aG sudo ark

# Login as the newly user
sudo su - ark

Step 2: Install Git Source Control System

As the most popular version control software in existence, Git is a staple of many developer workflows, and ARK is no exception. Downloading Git will allow you to clone the latest version of ARK Core.

sudo apt-get install -y git curl apt-transport-https update-notifier

Step 3: Install Node.js Runtime

As ARK Core is written exclusively in Node.js , the server-side framework for JavaScript, Typescript, installing Node.js is a necessity for core development. The code below installs Node.js from source.

sudo wget --quiet -O - | sudo apt-key add -
(echo "deb $(lsb_release -s -c) main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/nodesource.list)
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nodejs -y

Step 4: Install Yarn Package Manager

Yarn is a package manager that seeks to build upon the foundation of Node’s npm. Although yarn is not a strict requirement, in many cases it works faster and more elegantly than npm. Most ARK developers use yarn, and as such, you will see yarn commands often used throughout our documentation.

curl -sS | sudo apt-key add -
(echo "deb stable main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/yarn.list)
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y yarn

Step 5: Install Dependencies

Dependencies are needed for core to be compiled, run and controlled while living inside you linux based environment. To command below installs some of those needed dependencies that are used by core or related scripts.

sudo apt-get install build-essential libcairo2-dev pkg-config libtool autoconf automake python libpq-dev jq -y

Step 6: Clone The Core Repository

Let’s clone our core repository and run the initial yarn setup command. We will also checkout the latest develop branch.

yarn setup command leverages Lerna to clean, bootstrap and build the core packages (including transpiling typescript). For mode information look into core’s package.json file in the root folder.

git clone
cd core
git checkout develop
yarn setup  #run Lerna to clean, bootstrap and build the core packages

Step 7: Setting Up The Development Database

ARK Core stores all the blockchain data in a PostgreSQL database. You have two options on how to setup your development database.

Follow Step 7.1 if you are working locally on your developer computer and have docker environment in place, otherwise follow Step 7.2 (for example if you are running on a cloud based Ubuntu instance or prefer native database install).

Step 7.1 Database Setup Using Docker

If you are already using Docker and have docker-compose installed, then you can generate docker files from the command line, with the yarn docker ark command where (ark is the name of the network for which you want to generate docker files). For now let’s stick with ark as the default name of the network.

Executing the command yarn docker ark in the root folder of the previously cloned repository, like this:

cd core  #root folder of the cloned repository
yarn docker ark

will generate the following docker files inside our core/docker folder (see folder tree below):

#core/docker tree in the cloned repository folder
├── development
│   ├── devnet
│   │   ├── Dockerfile
│   │   ├── docker-compose.yml
│   │   ├──
│   │   ├──
│   │   └──
│   ├── mainnet
│   │   └── docker-compose.yml
│   ├── testnet #this is the folder where we will start our PostgreSQL testnet DB
│   │   ├── Dockerfile
│   │   ├── docker-compose.yml
│   │   ├──
│   │   ├──
│   │   └──
│   └── unitnet
│       ├── docker-compose.yml
│       └──
└── production

To start the PostgreSQL docker container we must go into the corresponding folder and run the docker-compose command. For testnet we need to run the following:

cd docker/development/testnet
docker-compose up -d postgres #postgres is the name of the PostgreSQL container

The docker-compose up -d postgres will start PostgresSQL container and expose it to our core via standard PostgreSQL port 5432.

Step 7.2 Installing Postgres Database System-Wide

If you don’t want to install and run docker on your local computer you can still install PostgreSQL database natively on your running operating system. For *.deb based Linux systems the commands are the following:

sudo apt-get install postgresql postgresql-contrib -y
sudo -i -u postgres psql -c "CREATE USER ark  WITH PASSWORD 'password' CREATEDB;"
sudo -i -u postgres psql -c "CREATE DATABASE ark_testnet WITH OWNER ark;"
sudo -i -u postgres psql -c "CREATE DATABASE ark_devnet WITH OWNER ark;"

The commands above install PostgreSQL database locally and create databases for running testnet and devnet networks with user ark as the database owner. If you have skipped the Step 1: User setup, you have to change ark user to your development username, usually the logged in username.

Start Core and Play With Public API

You can jump to Spinning Up Your First Testnet Section here and test your local Core Server, by following the link below:

Development - Launching a Testnet

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