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Developer quick start


This guide is designed as a minimal quick start tutorial for creating a project on the Internet Computer. Other developer documentation pages provide additional supporting context to the concepts and workflows used within this page, and they will be linked for reference accordingly.


To follow this quick start guide, you will need to have the following:

  • A connection to the internet.
  • A command line interface.
  • Node.js downloaded and installed.

Install the IC SDK

The IC SDK includes dfx, which is a CLI tool used to create projects on the IC. It can be downloaded with the command:

sh -ci "$(curl -fsSL"

For more information on installing the IC SDK, please see here

Start the local replica

To start a local instance of the IC replica, use the command:

dfx start --background

The --background flag will start the replica in the background.

Create and deploy the template project

To create a new project with dfx, run the command:

dfx new hello_world

This project is a simple 'Hello, world!' project that includes a simple frontend UI. You can see a more detailed look into this project in the guide here.

Then, to create, build, and deploy the project, use the dfx deploy command in the new project directory:

cd hello_world
dfx deploy

This command will deploy the project locally. To learn more about local development, including how to interact with your canister once deployed, please see here.

The project's local URLs will be returned in the output of this command:

Committing batch.
Committing batch with 18 operations.
Deployed canisters.
Frontend canister via browser
Backend canister via Candid interface:

If you want to deploy your project to the mainnet, you can use the --network ic flag, such as:

dfx deploy --network ic

Deploying to the mainnet will cost cycles. To learn more about cycles, please see here.

To learn more about mainnet deployment, please see here.

To deploy your project to the Motoko playground, which simulates the mainnet network without having to use cycles, use the --network playground flag, such as:

dfx deploy --playground

Default project structure

By default, projects created with dfx have the following structure:

├── # Default project documentation
├── dfx.json # Project configuration file
├── node_modules # Libraries for frontend development
├── package-lock.json
├── package.json
├── src # Source files directory
│ ├── hello_world_backend
│ │ └──
│ ├── hello_world_frontend
│ ├── assets
│ │ ├── logo.png
│ │ ├── main.css
│ │ └── sample-asset.txt
│ └── src
│ ├── index.html
│ └── index.js
└── webpack.config.js

In all new projects, the following files and directories are created:

  • The default README file to be used for documenting your project.
  • dfx.json: The default configuration file used to set configurable options for your project.
  • src/: The source directory that contains all of your dapp's source files.
  • hello_world_backend: The source directory that contains your dapp's backend code files.
  • hello_world_frontend: The source directory that contains your dapp's frontend code files.
  • hello_world_backend/ The default template Motoko file that can be modified or replaced to include your dapp's core programming logic.

Developing an app

To develop your own custom application from this point, you will need to determine which programming language to use and determine what your app's functionalities will be.

Developing with Motoko

Developing with Rust

Using Candid

Developing with agents

Developing with frontend frameworks

  • React.
  • Svelte.
  • Vue.

Developing with tokens and ledgers

Integrating with Internet Identity


For a more comprehensive series of tutorials on developing on the IC, check out the developer journey series.