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I would like to build a simple smart contract, which can be accessed from "the outside World", meaning I can call methods of the contract from another small application or web site, instead of having to log into Parity and calling them.

I believe I should use the RPC port of the miner I have, but I wonder how I achieve this, and moreover I would like to know if I can do this without the need to run a miner at all.

Thanks a lot!!

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I believe you're describing a "DApp" (decentralized application). DApps use web3.js in the browser to communicate with the Ethereum network. Most typically, users of a DApp use a browser plug-in to provide the communication with a public Ethereum node.

Searching for "dapp" should help you to get started, but I happened to publish a blog post yesterday about this very topic: https://programtheblockchain.com/posts/2017/12/13/building-decentralized-apps-with-ethereum-and-javascript/. I hope it helps.

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