Working with a junior developer to begin her first Algorand development

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As an Algorand Ambassador, I promoted the Algorand chain among a student network that I maintain. I got a favourable response from a female student who approached me and was eager to learn and practice on any blockchain. Upon further discussions, I realised she is a Python developer, at the intermediate level. Fortunately, Algorand has a Python SDK and we began our journey using Python. I will then take you through our journey and some of the challenges we faced a starting our Algorand development. 

First, we needed to complete 3 key steps to begin our Algorand development journey. We were following the Python tutorials as outlined here: https://developer.algorand.org/docs/reference/sdks/#python

First, we chose to install the Algorand SDK using the Ubuntu version. However, we needed to meet certain pre-requisites before we could set up the Python SDK. In setting up the workspace so we can create Algorand addresses and assets, there are three options to take. The options are below

  1. Use a third-party service: Connect to Algorand nodes through third-party API services such as GoalSeeker or PureStake
  2. Use Docker Sandbox: Localise the Agorand SDK giving you the chance to connect to active nodes from your local machine. This method is recommended if you need access to all developer tools including goal, kmd, and algokey, but can’t wait days for your node to catchup.
  3. Run your own node: This method is recommended if you need access to all developer tools including goal, kmd, and algokey, and want to set up a production-ready environment. This makes your production-ready even as you develop your application 

We chose option 2 because we want to have access to core Algorand features while we develop on our local machine. So setting up the sandbox was the best option. 

Next, we set out to install the Docker Sandbox. We made a mistake by trying to install the Enterprise Edition of Docker which wasn’t working for us because we needed to pay to get access to some services. So, I advised that we shift to the Community Edition. With that, we able to successfully. Following the tutorials, we run the command below

$ pip3 install py-algorand-sdk

Even though we got success, when we tried to execute the python commands for account creations, we run into errors like these below. It basically said algosdk wasn’t installed.

To troubleshoot this, I suggested she try to uninstall the sdk package by running the command below
python3 -m pip uninstall algosdk 

           And this

pip uninstall algosdk

After running these 2 commands, we realised that we didn’t actually have the algosdk installed but it was actually installed. After further investigations, we realised that the user didn’t have the right access. We had to make sure that we were installing the packages and running the script as the same user. So we installed the algosdk using the command below

Algosdk was not successfully installed. 

We now had to proceed to the next stage of our practical tutorials. We had to create or import Algorand accounts. We chose to do Standalone accounts instead of wallet accounts. As a beginner, she wanted to learn the basics before moving to wallet creation. We run the standalone account creation as shown in the image below but we still got an error.

Basically it said the module ‘nacl.singlng’ cannot be found. This is where we got to but the developer had to stop to complete her semester exams. We did this in our first day. We will come back and finish our fist Algorand app in 3 days. 

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