With the imminent release of Funfairs’ first Solana experiment in our Labs, ‘FunFair Tic Tac Toe’, and the non-correlated explosion in the price for Sol, we felt it would be an excellent time to sit down and explore, “Does Solana live up to the hype?”.

And to do so, we have explored this question with FunFairs Senior Developer in all things blockchain, Amel Salibasic. 

Q1. Why Solana? What stood out to you versus all the other blockchain solutions for your experiment before you began your first line of code?

Our team at FunFair has a lot of experience working with Ethereum, having been building within this ecosystem since 2017. Initially, it made sense to look for an environment that would be easy to migrate our solutions from previous work. Similar tooling, Solidity language, and the use of an ethereum virtual machine if possible.

Solana, unfortunately, is none of those things. Different tooling, a different language, and a different approach to writing programs (smart contracts).

Without this support, if we wanted to migrate our existing code to Solana, we had to rewrite everything from client to server. But we’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge.

Our attraction to this new blockchain was twofold. Firstly, it offers high-speed, low-cost transactions while keeping decentralization core to its offering. This capability is thanks to their revolutionary proof of history algorithm that helps validate and secure the chain.

Secondly, we were amazed by the number of dApps developed in the ecosystem and Solana core repositories’ activity. Community is the key to a successful blockchain, and they had it in spades. 

We couldn’t see any immediate negatives in working with Solana, and hence, felt the challenge worth undertaking!

Q2. What was the easiest part of working with Solana?

The documentation and Discord community! 

We are working with technology still in active development, and as expected, since it is in beta stage there could be small bugs which take a longer time to debug and identify the problem. 

Blockchain developers are used to these issues cropping up in cutting edge technology, but thanks to their up to date documentation and their Discord brimming with active developers, I was getting real-time responses to any queries I had. 

I will also add that in most of my development, Solana works as intended. But the documentation and community shone through as a substantial benefit of working within this ecosystem when I did have queries with the tech.    

Q3. What was the most challenging part of working with Solana? 

Since Solana has a different language and tooling, it was a steep curve to figure out all its secrets for someone who cut his teeth on Ethereum. But this would be true of any new blockchain. 

A more specific case would be that we had an issue with public cluster web-socket responses. This challenge is due to how Solana is designed;  you can be assigned a random node from a cluster that could be slow or fast, and that is dependent on geolocation and the number of subscriptions on that specific node.

Of course, I didn’t know that at first. Hence, it took me a while to understand what was going on. 

The good news is that the Solana core developers are actively working on code optimization for this specific concern as we speak.  

Q4. What lived up to the hype and what did not when you were using this solution.

Honestly, Solana is delivering what creators are promising; speed, cheap transactions and decentralization. 

With almost 1000 validators, Solana is one of the most decentralized blockchains. On average, the cost of a transaction is $0.00005, and block finalization takes around 1s.

In my experience right now, it’s one of the few blockchains that delivered speeds and costs that the founders promised without sacrificing decentralization.

Q5. Would you recommend Solana to any dApp developer?

Absolutely yes, I would suggest that every blockchain developer explores it.

It is challenging to develop on Solana once you start. Still, it becomes very empowering when you get the fundamentals of writing programs and how to pass and retrieve values from their blockchain.  

Of course, it’s different from developing smart contracts on Ethereum, but other technologies should be.  

Q6. Will FunFair Labs be creating any further experiments in Solana?

Tic Tac Toe was a great learning curve and provides an early example of what can be achieved on Solana. 

‘Build and experiment before you believe the hype’ is what FunFair has learned in the blockchain world. Hence why the Labs team were excited to get to look under the hood of this blockchain. 

Funfair Labs is interested in building more experiments on Solana. It is a very efficient blockchain to build high performance and high volume dApps, so I would say to watch this space as we look at future uses for Solana. 

Q7. Finally, why Tic Tac Toe and what drew you to 80’s neon?

I would love to say that I have a history of being a Tic Tac Toe champion in my youth; however, the truth is less exciting. 

When we are looking to test the performance of any blockchain or scaling solution, our initial goal is to test the functionality and performance. Once we understand the capabilities, we can scale up and build something more significant. 

So the initial requirement is a lightweight experiment that kicks all the tyres. And while we thought a coin flip game would also do that, Tic Tac Toe provided a little bit more complexity.   

In regards to the design itself, Solana itself promotes neon colours. Solana got its name after Solana Beach in California, where its founders used to surf when studying. 

I then lent on my previous experience as a graphic designer. I combined the beautiful California sunset and the fast Ferrari Testarossa, a symbol of the ’80s, to deliver FunFairs Tic Tac Toe! 

FunFair’s Tic Tac Toe will be playable in the Labs shortly and we recommend everyone check out our first project built on Solana when released.