I've tried Truffle several times already and I really appreciate their work, but for some me, I find it to be way too opinionated. It has a structure for building the whole app, including the HTML, CSS, migrations. For me, my client(s) are separate projects and I don't need migrations. I'd rather just separe those concerns and have a minimal tool that does only the Ethereum-related development:

  1. Write an Ethereum contract;

  2. Test it by deploying to a local testnet and calling its methods from a separate JS file;

  3. Deploy it to the testnet/mainnet when it is done.

I'm quite lost trying to extract that minimal usage from the whole Truffle workflow. Is there any tool that does that, in an Unix-philosophy way, does that, only that, and does it well?


If you speak Python you might feel more comfortable with Populus. It has migrations as a feature, but it doesn't force you to use them.

  • Populus is very UNIXy, but still, like Truffle, provides a lot of of structure with its default management command. If you don't like that structure you can directly call Populus Python APIs and not go through the command line client. I am doing exactly that. – Mikko Ohtamaa Dec 1 '16 at 10:26

The simplest way to compile/deploy a contract I found is by using the web3 library from a node.js script. The following helper function deploys a solidity source code and returns the deployed contract object:

var fs = require("fs");
var Web3 = require("web3");
var web3 = new Web3(new Web3.providers.HttpProvider("http://localhost:8545"));

// Receives a solidity source code and the account, compiles/deploy
// the contract and calls the callback with the contract object.
function testDeploy(contractSrc, account, callback){
  var contractCmp = web3.eth.compile.solidity(contractSrc);
  var contractCon = web3.eth.contract(contractCmp.info.abiDefinition);
    data: contractCmp.code,
    from: account,
    gas: 1000000},
    function(err, contract){
      if (!contract.address) return;

You can then call its methods to test them. Example:

  pragma solidity ^0.4.0;
  contract HelloWorld {
    event Print(string out);
    function() {
      Print("Hello, World!");
    function test() constant returns (int) {
      return 7;
      value: 0,
      gas: 200000,
      from: web3.eth.accounts[0]},
      function(err, result){

This outputs the bignum 7, as expected.

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