[Bitcoin-development] Modularizing Bitcoin

Brenton Camac bpcamac at gmail.com
Thu May 16 16:43:14 UTC 2013

It would be nice if that modularization effort would first and foremost focus on defining the protocols and APIs of the various modules (their responsibilities and patterns of interaction), rather than merely refactoring existing code.

Such an approach has many benefits.  

First, it promotes diversity of implementations.  Diverse implementations are now possible because the correctness of an implementation is now determined entirely by the compliance of its external behavior with the stated protocols and not its internal design. Thus this approach allows for equivalent but alternate implementations. Consequently, this approach -

1. increases the available pool of developers
2. reduces the impact any one implementation defect can have on the overall Bitcoin infrastructure
3. allows enhancement/optimization work of modules to proceed more easily as coupling with external modules is reduced

Second, and just as important, it allows analysis and critiquing of Bitcoin's infrastructure to be undertaken at a higher level than source code: i.e. abstract entities of the protocols and APIs.  Such scrutiny is important to being able to effectively manage the evolution of a system's architecture.

Its been my first-hand experience across many projects that this strategy contributes directly to significant improvements to quality when developing large, distributed, complex software systems.  Indeed, its considered a best practice when developing enterprise-grade software.

I would be happy to collaborate with others in such an undertaking.

- Brenton

On May 16, 2013, at 3:02 AM, bitcoingrant at gmx.com wrote:

> One of the primary upcoming priorities for bitcoin’s infrastructure, beyond the bloom filter, will be the continued modularization of the system.
> Here at the Bitcoin Grant, we would like to jump start this development with a financial incentive and initiate an ongoing conversation on how we can work together towards developing a smarter, more efficient system of tomorrow, today.
> Up for grabs: 500 bitcoins or $500,000; whichever is greater.
> Taking on a project of this scope is a highly intensive, technical undertaking and we believe excellent developers should be compensated as such, especially when it comes to open source projects.
> One of the main goals will be to separate the wallet from the node, as we have already done with mining. This way, the wallet, which will only hold private keys and create transactions, would pass transactions directly to a relay node, based on the bloom filter. Meanwhile, the block node will maintain the block chain and validate and relay new blocks.
> Such developments would significantly strengthen the system. Modularization would make cancer attacks less likely and increase the node count, which, currently, is fairly low.
> This is by no means is a feature request, merely ideas as to initiate a discussion. We welcome any feedback or suggestions. And of course, let us know if you would like to contribute to this project by submiting a grant proposal.
> http://bitcoingrant.org
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