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I've read this post and this one and I'm still wondering if there is a way to deploy a contract without fully syncing the blockchain, for example by using a light client. I would like try my hand at writing contracts (and be more helpful to people on StackExchange!) but I'm short on disk space and would prefer to use a public test net rather than a private chain. My backup plan is to deploy a test net node on a small VPS instance I'm already paying for, so I won't cry if the answer is "you need to fully sync the blockchain".

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If you want to start coding smart contract this is a quite smooth environment to set up:

  • Use Remix online IDE for coding and link it with your local node
  • Download testRPC on your PC and run a local node (no sync needed & light weight)
  • Set up Ethereum Wallet to run on your local node

Then you can deploy contracts and test them through MEW while checking out the txs with your testRPC view. I found myself well with these settings. Hope it helps.

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Sure, use https://www.myetherwallet.com/#contracts to deploy a contract and use online solidity to write it and compile: https://ethereum.github.io/browser-solidity/

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    Thanks; I suppose I should have specified I'd like to get acquainted with the Ethereum CLI, but I'll accept this answer when StackExchange's minimum-time-until-accept timer expires. – lungj Jul 17 '17 at 14:48
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    Sorry... I've decided to accept @PaoloGuerra's answer (you still get my up vote!) since it seems to better satisfy my needs. And I guess you still get the rep for your edit :) – lungj Jul 17 '17 at 14:55
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To submit a contract to the Ethereum blockchain, the contract creation transaction needs to be mined.

You do not need a fully synced copy of the chain to submit a contract.

In fact, if you wanted to, you could sign a deployment transaction offline, write it on a piece of paper and pass it to someone else to submit to the chain.

To see that a contract has been deployed at a given address you do not need the chain fully synced. Given however that Ethereum is essentially a state machine, you would need to query a fully synced node to query the most recent state (that would include your deployed contract).

This can be done through any public node. For example Infura.io

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