Shelley Haskell Testnet update w/e 22 May

Each week, right here, we’ll give you all an update on the progress of the Shelley Haskell testnet. We’re about ten days in now and things are very positive. This week was all about blocks. More specifically, implementing and refining the block production process. To support this key element, as of the end of today, we’ll have shared 5 foundational exercises. These have all been designed to iteratively take our pioneers through the process of setting up a stake pool on the Haskell network, step by step. Think of these a little like an instruction manual, that coaches you on the core components as you assemble everything.

We also released the first of our new video updates, with Cardano head of delivery Christopher Greenwood. So check out the IOHK YouTube channel if you’d like a deeper dive into what has been happening during our last development sprint. Please remember to like and subscribe and you’ll get alerted to all our video updates as soon as we release them.

Pioneer power-up

Earlier today, we hosted a hangout with our pioneers, a chance to get together, get some feedback and reflect on the progress of the past fortnight. We’ve also sent out a survey to our pioneers to see how they are getting on with the exercises and collect feedback on how we can refine and improve these for future pioneers. Initial feedback is positive and we have had some useful feedback. So we’ll do some polishing as we prepare to share the next two (and likely final) exercises after the long holiday weekend where we will test the calibration of protocol parameters like K and a0. Refining the approach to pledging is a key activity during the testnets, so we’re looking forward to these learnings.

Talking of new pioneers… This weekend, we’ll start inviting our next cohort of pioneers to join the program. This new intake has been hand-picked by our first pioneer group. From next week, our pioneers will mentor this new cohort as they use those initial 5 exercises to get started. They’ll be mentored and supported as they bring their own pools online. And in turn, they band together to help the rest of the community get set up during the early days of the public testnet.

Development progress

From a development perspective, we’ve had a good week. Block production is now fully underway. Key Evolving Signatures (KES) are now part of the testnet and the hardfork combinator is merged. The wallet is also being integrated with Shelley node. Supporting documentation and tutorials have now widened in scope and are getting more detailed.

Next week, we’ll complete work on creating a public faucet to distribute funds during the forthcoming public phase of the testnet. We’re using a manual process at the moment, but it’s important to have this in place and working properly before we make the testnet public for the whole community. We don’t have a date to share on that just yet. But make sure you tune into our LIVE monthly show on Thursday 28th; in fact, we hope to have a few dates for you then…

Testing progress

So far we have made very good progress on the testing side, with our pioneers providing excellent feedback and additional resources. As expected, we have identified a few bugs and issues, and received some useful feature requests from our pioneers. We have identified 9 bugs and 7 feature requests so far for the F&F Testnet, 3 of them already resolved. The bugs have been allocated for either the current or next two-week sprint, and the feature requests have been put in the backlog. We have a few issues and improvements identified against the documentation on GitHub; 12 issues in total, the majority minor. Nothing of any concern.

The primary focus for the QA team at the moment is the CLI work and block production related features (setting up stake pools, delegating to stake pools, managing reward addresses etc.). This is the core of the Shelley era and a key element of this stage.

QA is focusing on comprehensive testing of features that are about to be released to pioneers, so they are paving the road for smoother user experience for everyone. They are improving our documentation and tutorials on a daily basis, ensuring that everything is accurate despite daily (even hourly) changes from our developers. Working this way is intense and challenging. But our experience with the Incentivized testnet has been hugely valuable in developing this agile way of working.

So we’re just under two weeks into the Shelley Haskell rollout, our Friends & Family testnet phase. Thanks to all our pioneers - and indeed all the other members of our Cardano stake pool community already getting actively involved. This is a rollout by the community, for the community. Shelley is just down the trail. We’re heading there together and we don’t plan to leave anyone behind. See you next week.