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The most used Smart Contract development language for EOS is C++, sometimes referred to as EOS++. The C++ knowledge required for writing smart contracts is very minimal. If you have ever written C, C++, Java, C#, or TypeScript, you should be able to pick up EOS++ easily.

There are also community efforts to support other languages such as Rust, Python, Go, and AssemblyScript. However, these docs will focus on C++ for writing smart contracts. If you are interested in learning about the other community-led initiatives for extending language support, check out the Language Support page.

Project Structure

You have a lot of freedom when it comes to structuring your project. You can use one monolithic .cpp file for your entire project, or you can split it up into multiple files. You can even use a build system like CMake to manage your project.

In most of the guides here we will be using a single .cpp file. This is the simplest way to get started, and it is the most common way to write smart contracts.

Single File

Below is an example of a single file smart contract. You don't need anything else in your project to compile this, and you don't need to include any other files.

#include <eosio/eosio.hpp>

CONTRACT singlefile : public eosio::contract {
using contract::contract;

ACTION test() {
// ...

Multiple Files

If you want to split your project up into multiple files, you can do that as well.

class library {
struct data {
uint64_t id;
std::string value;
#include <eosio/eosio.hpp>
#include "library.hpp"

CONTRACT multiplefiles : public eosio::contract {
using contract::contract;

ACTION test() {
// ...

Header vs Source

In C++ you have two types of files: header files (.hpp/.h) and source files (.cpp).

  • Header files are used to declare functions, classes, structs, and other types.
  • Source files are used for the implementation of functions declared in header files.

Include directories

When you compile your project, you will need to tell the compiler where to find your header files.

Generally, you will want to put your header files in a directory called include, and your source files in a directory called src.


When to use a multi-file project

If you are writing a large project, you will probably want to split it up into multiple files.

Keeping your project tidy means splitting it up into logical components. For example, you might have a file for your database, a file for your business logic, and a file for some helper functions.

This also helps larger teams not stumble over each-other when working with version control systems like git.

Contract Structure

Contracts are object-oriented. You define a contract the same way you would define a class.

#include <eosio/eosio.hpp>

CONTRACT mycontract : public eosio::contract {
using contract::contract;

There are a few key components here.

CONTRACT definition

The CONTRACT keyword is how we tell the compiler that we are writing an EOS++ Smart Contract.

It must be followed by the name of the contract, and the base class which this contract inherits from.

CONTRACT mycontract : public eosio::contract {

Good to know

You should typically keep your contract name the same as your .cpp file name. Some build systems will enforce this for you, and the errors they return are not always clear.

Access Modifiers

Access modifiers are used to define the visibility of certain elements of your contract. There are three access modifiers in C++:

  • public: The element is visible to everything.
  • private: The element is only visible to the contract itself.
  • protected: The element is visible to the contract itself, and any contracts that inherit from it.

When you declare a visibility modifier, everything below it will have that visibility.

// Everything below this is public
// Everything below this is private


You are not defining the visibility of your contract to the outside world. You are defining the visibility of your contract to other elements of your contract. Things like actions and tables will ALWAYS be publicly accessible outside your contract.

Using Contract

A required line for EOS++ Smart Contracts to compile is the using contract::contract; line.

Primary Elements

EOS++ Smart Contracts are made up of two primary elements:

  • Actions: The entry points to your contract.
  • Tables: The way you store data in your contract.

We will explain both of these in more detail in the next sections.