What is Solidity?

With the mention that Ethereum can be used to write smart contracts, we tend to corner our mind to the fact that there must be some programming language with which these applications are designed.
Yes, there is a programming language that makes it possible. It goes by the name ‘Solidity’.
An object-oriented programming language, Solidity was developed by the core contributors of the Ethereum platform. It is used to design and implement smart contracts within the Ethereum Virtual Platform and several other blockchain platforms.
Solidity Logo
Solidity is a statically-typed programming language designed for developing smart contracts that run on the Ethereum Virtual Machine. With Solidity, developers can write applications that implement self-enforcing business logic embodied in smart contracts, leaving an authoritative record of transactions.

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As specified by Dr Gavin Wood, Solidity is designed around the JavaScript syntax to make it familiar for existing web developers. As opposed to other EVM-based languages, Solidity has enhanced functionalities. These include:

  • Complex member variables for contracts including arbitrarily hierarchical mappings and structs
  • Support of inheritance, including multiple inheritance with C3 linearization
  • An application binary interface (ABI) facilitating multiple type-safe functions within a single contract
  • A documentation system, ‘Natural Language Specification,’ for specifying a user-centric description of the ramifications of a method call.
  • Support of state variables or objects, data types, and other programming functions

Solidity is supported in several blockchain platforms including Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Tendermint and ErisDB, and Counterparty.

Watch this video on “Solidity in Blockchain”


Solidity Basics

When we are discussing a programming language, it becomes our responsibility to familiarize you with the basics of the language so that you can understand coding, at least partially. Let us begin understanding Solidity in terms of syntax and data types.
Solidity supports all generic data types that all object-oriented programming languages support. These data types include:

  • Booleans: This datatype returns the values ‘1’ as true and ‘0’ as false, depending on the trueness of a condition. When logical operators are used, the output is generally returned as a Boolean value.
  • Integers: Solidity supports both signed and unsigned integer values. Keywords such as ‘uint8’ and ‘uint256’ can be used to allocate storage sizes of 8–256 bits. Runtime exceptions are also supported.
  • String Literals: String literals can be represented using either single or double quotes. In the case of integer literals, the literals are convertible inherently using the corresponding fit, which happens to be either byte or string.
  • Modifier: Modifiers are used to ensure coherence of the conditions before executing the code for a smart contract.

In addition, solidity offers basic arrays, enums, operators, and hash values to create a data structure known as ‘mappings.’ Mappings can be used to return values associated with given storage locations.
The syntax of arrays in Solidity is equivalent to that of generic programming languages. Solidity supports both single and multi-dimensional arrays.

Learn about the important terminologies in our blog on Solidity Cheat Sheet!

Coding in Solidity

pragma solidity^0.4.0;
contract StorageBasic {
	uint storedValue;
	function set(uint var) {
	function get() constant returns (uint) {
		return storedValue;

The first line of the code declares that the source code for the program is to be written in Solidity 0.4.0. The code will be therefore compatible with EVMs that correspond to Solidity 0.4.0 or are superior. The expression ‘pragma’ refers to the instructions given to a compiler to sequentially execute the source code.
The whole program designs a smart contract ‘StorageBasic’ which has an unsigned integer variable ‘storedValue’ and a member function ‘set()’ which takes the returned value of the function ‘var()’ as its argument. Inside the body of the function, ‘storedValue’ is assigned the value that the function ‘get()’ returns.
In the meanwhile, the function ‘get()’ returns an unsigned integer value. Overall, the whole code acts as a recursive function. This is considered best for smart contract implementations within a blockchain.

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Applications of Solidity

Solidity is a highly advanced programming language that has made coding around blockchain platforms extremely easy. Being easy to understand and relatively easy to use, Solidity has many applications.

  • Voting: In the real world, voting comprises various fraudulent techniques including manipulation of data, booth capturing, fake voters, manipulation in voting machines, etc. To solve few of these problems, we could make use of contracts for envoy voting. Solidity can be used to design the code, and with a proper implementation, the process of voting will work smoothly, transparently, and automatically.
  • Crowdfunding: If done through contracts, crowdfunding can solve various problems associated with it like a commission of third party, issues related to managing data, etc. For crowdfunding, smart contracts can work out far better than non-trusted centralized systems. These smart contracts can be developed using Solidity.
  • Blind Auctions: Implementation of blind auction in Solidity is quite straightforward on Ethereum. An open auction can be created in which every individual can make out each other’s bid, following which a blind auction can be designed where it will not be possible for anyone to see the bid until it ends.

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