Architecture and Components

Mandala Chain architecture is based on the Substrate of Polkadot SDK. It is written with Rust programming language and compiled to Native and WebAssembly (WASM) runtime.
A blockchain relies on a decentralized network of computers—called nodes—that communicate with each other.
Because the node is a core component of any blockchain, it’s essential to understand what makes a Substrate-based blockchain node unique. This includes the core services and libraries provided by default and how the node can be customized and extended to suit our goals.

Client and runtime

At a high level, a Mandala Chain node consists of two main parts:
  • A core client with outer node services that handles network activity such as peer discovery, managing transaction requests, reaching consensus with peers and responding to RPCs (Remote Procedure Calls).
  • A runtime that contains all of the business logic for executing the state transition function of the blockchain.
The following diagram illustrates this separation of responsibilities in simplified form to help you visualize the architecture of the Mandala Chain.
Client and Runtime

Client outer node services

The core client includes several outer node services responsible for the activity outside the runtime. For example, the outer node service in the core client handles peer discovery, manages the transaction pool, communicates with other nodes to reach consensus, and responds to RPC requests from the outside world.
Some of the most important activities that are handled by core client services involve the following components:
  • Storage: The outer node persists in the evolving state of a Mandala Chain blockchain using a simple and highly efficient key-value storage layer. Note: a key-value storage system is a database where data is stored in pairs – a key (an identifier) and a value (the actual data).
  • Peer-to-peer networking: The outer node uses the Rust implementation of the libp2p network stack to communicate with other network participants.
  • Consensus: The outer node communicates with other network participants to ensure they agree on the state of the blockchain.
  • Remote Procedure Call (RPC) API: The outer node accepts inbound HTTP and WebSocket requests to allow blockchain users to interact with the network.
  • Telemetry: The outer node collects and provides access to node metrics through an embedded Prometheus server.
  • Execution environment: The outer node is responsible for selecting the execution environment—WebAssembly or native Rust—for the runtime to use and then dispatching calls to the runtime selected.
Mandala Chain provides default implementations for handling these activities through its core blockchain components. In principle, you can modify or replace the default implementation of any component with your own code. In practice, it's rare for an application to require changes to any of the underlying blockchain features, but Substrate allows you to make changes so you are free to innovate where you see fit.
Performing these tasks often requires the client node services to communicate with the runtime. This communication is handled by calling specialized runtime APIs.

Runtime

The runtime determines whether transactions are valid or invalid and handles changes to the blockchain state. Requests coming from the outside come through the client into the runtime, and the runtime is responsible for the state transition functions and storing the resulting state.
Because the runtime executes the functions it receives, it controls how transactions are included in blocks and how blocks are returned to the outer node for gossiping or importing to other nodes. In essence, the runtime is responsible for handling everything that happens on-chain. It is also the core component of the node for building the Mandala Chain.
The Mandala Chain runtime is designed to compile to WebAssembly (WASM) byte code. This design decision enables:
  • Support for forkless upgrades.
  • Multi-platform compatibility.
  • Runtime validity checking.
  • Validation proofs for relay chain consensus mechanisms.
Similar to how the outer node has a way to provide information to the runtime, the runtime uses specialized host functions to communicate with the outer node or the outside world.

Core libraries

Many aspects of the blockchain are configured with a default implementation. For example, there are default implementations of the networking layer, database, and consensus mechanism that you can use as-is to get your blockchain running without a lot of customization. However, the libraries underlying the basic architecture provide a great deal of flexibility for defining your own blockchain components.
Much like the node consists of two main parts—the core client and the runtime—that provide different services, Substrate libraries are divided into three main areas of responsibility:
  • Core client libraries for outer node services.
  • FRAME libraries for the runtime.
  • Primitive libraries for underlying functions and interfaces for communication between the libraries.
The following diagram illustrates how the libraries mirror the core client outer node and runtime responsibilities and how the library of primitives provides the communication layer between the two.

Core client libraries

The libraries that enable the blockchain node to handle its network responsibilities, including consensus and block execution, are Rust crates that use the sc_ prefix in the crate name. For example, the sc_service library is responsible for building the networking layer for blockchains and managing the communication between the network participants and the transaction pool.

FRAME libraries for the runtime

The libraries that enable you to build the runtime logic and to encode and decode the information passed into and out of the runtime are Rust crates that use the frame_ prefix in the crate name.
The frame_* libraries provide the infrastructure for the runtime. For example, the frame_system library provides a basic set of functions for interacting with other Substrate-based components andframe_support enables you to declare runtime storage items, errors, and events.
In addition to the infrastructure provided by the frame_* libraries, the runtime can include one or more pallet_* libraries. Each Rust crate that uses the pallet_ prefix represents a single FRAME module. In most cases, you use the pallet_* libraries to assemble the functionality you want to incorporate in the blockchain to suit your project.
You can build the runtime without using the frame_* or pallet_* libraries using the primitives libraries. However, the frame_* or pallet_* libraries provide the most efficient path to composing the runtime.

Primitive libraries

At the lowest level of the Mandala Chain architecture, there are primitive libraries that give you control over underlying operations and enable communication between the core client services and the runtime. The primitive libraries are Rust crates that use the sp_ prefix in the crate name.
The primitive libraries provide the lowest level of abstraction to expose interfaces that the core client or the runtime can use to perform operations or interact with each other.
For example:
  • The sp_arithmetic library defines fixed point arithmetic primitives and types for the runtime to use.
  • The sp_core library provides a set of shareable Substrate types.
  • The sp_std library exports primitives from the Rust standard library to make them usable with any code that depends on the runtime.

Modular architecture

The separation of the core Mandala Chain libraries provides a flexible and modular architecture for writing the blockchain logic. The primitives library provides a foundation that both the core client and the runtime can build without communicating directly with each other. Primitive types and traits are exposed in their own separate crates, so they are available to the outer node services and runtime components without introducing cyclic dependency issues.