Smoothing the Learning Curve
The full article was originally published by Chris Mueller on HelloIOTA. Read the full article here.
Gone are the days of IRI and a basic GUI light wallet. With the project’s scope now in clear view, it’s imperative that the learning curve remains smooth enough for newcomers.
Technical debt, aka piled up old code, is cited as one of the reasons for moving away from IRI. It’s important to realize that the relationship between confusing-jargon:unproductive-newcomer is equivalent to the relationship between technical-debt:unproductive-developer. “IRI” has been mentioned twice already … don’t worry if you’re not entirely sure what that means, because this is exactly what we’ll be exploring.
Schmucklos wrote a great article last month explaining IOTA from a high level. The article touched on data structure and transaction status, mostly focusing on features and other non-technical aspects of IOTA. After reading both that article and this section of the current article, we’ll have a solid foundation of IOTA’s basic terminology before moving on.
IOTA is a distributed ledger. In its most basic form, this means there must be some number of interconnected computers running IOTA software. These computers are called nodes, and each node holds a full copy of the ledger going back to the most recent snapshot. A slew of transactions are continuously being encrypted and sent across the network to be verified by neighbors. All of these transactions, being governed by IOTA software’s rules of interaction, naturally give rise to a data structure/network topology that’s commonly referred to as the Tangle. If a transaction adheres to the rules of the software, it eventually becomes what’s called confirmed.
It’s easiest to visualize the mesh of transactions that naturally arises from the rules of the IOTA system: