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Web3.js vs Ethers.js : Comparison of Web3 Libraries

Table of Contents hide 1 Here’s the comparison of Web3.js and Ethers.js in a table format: 2 All About Web3.js 3 Advantages...

Written by Niel Patel · 7 min read >
Web3.js vs Ethers.js

Cryptocurrency and blockchain developers could tap upon the value advantages of numerous programmable blockchain networks. One of the most widely used platforms for enabling smart contract programmability to develop decentralized applications is Ethereum. Developers have been debating issues like web3.js vs. Ethers.js more and more as demand for web3 development keeps rising. Finding JavaScript libraries that could aid in deploying decentralized applications is more crucial than ever. The best JavaScript libraries must be selected because web3 applications must be deployed across several blockchains. The following discussion provides a thorough review of each library to assist you in determining “Which is better, web3.js vs ethers.js?” 

Additionally, a side-by-side comparison of the two libraries can assist you in making the decision that is best for your needs. 

Every programmable blockchain has a collection of libraries or SDKs that make connecting to and interacting with that specific blockchain easier. The majority of blockchains in use today are EVM compatible since they rely on the Ethereum network. This implies that if an ETH library is developed, it may be applied to any blockchain that complies with the EVM. However, the JSON-RPC protocol allows for communication. Two well-known ETH libraries will be compared in this essay. 

Here’s the comparison of Web3.js and Ethers.js in a table format:

ParametersWeb3.jsEthers.js
DeveloperEthereum FoundationEthers.io (Third-party organization)
FunctionalitiesComprehensive Ethereum interactionsEthereum 1.0 focus (with experimental Ethereum 2.0 support)
Protocol SupportEthereum 1.0 and Ethereum 2.0Primarily Ethereum 1.0 (with experimental Ethereum 2.0 support)
CommunityLarger communitySmaller community
DocumentationExtensiveGrowing
Frontend/BackendBoth frontend and backend developmentPrimarily suited for frontend development
APIExtensive and feature-richDeveloper-friendly and intuitive
SecurityStandardEmphasizes security and type safety

In Web3.js, you typically need to create an instance of the contract using the contract’s ABI (Application Binary Interface) and contract address to interact with a smart contract. Then, you can call contract methods using the created instance. Here’s an example:

// Web3.js
const contractInstance = new web3.eth.Contract(abi, contractAddress);
contractInstance.methods.myMethod().call()
  .then(result => {
    console.log(result);
  })
  .catch(error => {
    console.error(error);
  });

On the other hand, Ethers.js simplifies contract interactions by using a more intuitive and concise syntax. You can interact with a contract directly without creating an instance.

// Ethers.js
const contract = new ethers.Contract(contractAddress, abi, provider);
contract.myMethod()
  .then(result => {
    console.log(result);
  })
  .catch(error => {
    console.error(error);
  });

Ethers.js offers a more streamlined and developer-friendly approach to contract interactions by providing a simpler syntax for calling contract methods directly.

All About Web3.js

Before getting into the differences between web3.js vs ethers.js talks, let’s begin with an overview of each library. Web3.js, the original web3 framework, would be the first challenger in comparing web3.js and ethers.js. It was the initial Ethereum JavaScript API that the Ethereum Foundation made available. Currently, Chainsafe is responsible for actively developing the web3.js library on behalf of the Ethereum Foundation. 2015 saw the rise of Web3.js, which has since become a well-liked Ethereum JavaScript framework. 

Comparatively, web3.js has furthermore integrated into a large number of projects and packages. Web3.js, on the other hand, presupposes a connection between a local blockchain node and the application. The local node is thought to support a variety of functions, including key storage, transaction signing, and reading the blockchain’s current state to which it has been connected. 

Advantages and Setbacks of Web3.js

Web3.js is one of the early JavaScript libraries for web3 developers. To make a useful comparison of web3.js vs ethers.js, it’s necessary to comprehend both the advantages and disadvantages of web3.js. In a comparison of web3 libraries, web3.js would have the founding team and its widespread use as two significant advantages. The Ethereum Foundation, which ensures the effectiveness of design with a wide network of contributors, produced Web3.js. However, it has emerged as one of the most widely used JavaScript libraries for creating blockchain applications. The only web3 JavaScript library available prior to 2017 was web3.js. It follows that it plays a significant part in many of the early web3 projects.

The drawbacks of web3.js must also be considered when comparing it to ethers.js. First off, not many new projects have found much use for web3.js. The library also depends on a license with tight limits, such as prohibitions against changing the source code without making the changes available to the public. The size of web3.js, which could affect a web3 site or app’s speed and performance, is perhaps the most significant factor. 

All About Ethers.js

The definition, benefits, and disadvantages of ethers.js must also be discussed in comparing web3.js vs ethers.js. The creators of ethers.js claim that the library, coupled with tools in Typescript and JavaScript, is a complete implementation of an Ethereum wallet. The responses to the question “What is the difference between web3.js and ethers.js?” would indicate the ethers.js library’s widespread use. It includes various features for dealing with Ethereum and other blockchain networks that support the EVM. Additionally, Ethers.js can be used to read and change the state of blockchain networks. 

A Canadian software engineer named Richard Moore developed Ethers.js in 2015. Offering a compact and capable alternative to web3.js was the main goal behind developing ethers.js. Since its release, ethers.js has experienced a rapid rise in popularity among Ethereum and EVM developers. The efficiency of key management and communication with the blockchain network in ethers.js would be one of the primary differences between web3 and ethers.js. Two distinct organizations are available to developers for managing keys and interacting with the blockchain. In ethers.js, you can have a wallet for using a private key to sign transactions, and a node provider can assist with connecting to the blockchain network. The management of the wallet and the node provider could be independent of one another. 

Advantages and Pitfalls of Ethers.js

The distinctions between the two libraries would also highlight Ethers.js’ benefits and drawbacks. By learning more about the benefits and drawbacks of ethers.js, you may investigate the answers to the question “Which is better, web3.js vs ethers.js?” The first benefit of ethers.js would be the availability of a more permissive license that permits both free usage and changes. But you must also make the source code and all the adjustments you made available. The slim library ethers.js support the use of ENS domain names. The JavaScript library offers extensive test case support, with proof of existence for almost 10,000 test cases. Compared to the shortcomings of web3.js, ethers.js shows observable improvements, yet it also has a lot of shortcomings. For instance, while ethers.js is a relatively new library, developers have trouble using it for more established businesses or projects. 

Why Should You Compare Web3.js and Ethers.js?

The introduction of web3 ideas has altered the conventional methods for creating applications. Almost all web3 websites and apps use libraries like web3.js or ethers.js. A crucial step in choosing the web3 library you can use is to compare the available libraries. What purposes do libraries serve? Developers may use the JSON-RPC protocol to communicate with Ethereum or other EVM-support blockchains. JavaScript libraries are helpful for introducing a variety of core capabilities in a decentralized application. A few examples are creating wallets, deploying smart contracts, requesting blockchain information, and signing transactions. Developers can carry out these operations without the need to make direct API calls to the relevant blockchain. 

Every web3 developer should take note of the discussion between web3.js vs ethers.js. 

Developers are likely to worry about selecting the best JavaScript library for their projects before beginning any web3 development project. Each library provides a condensed and reusable collection of code that can carry out a single function or a number of closely related functions. Developers could add a library to the application and utilize it to accomplish the necessary function rather than creating new code from scratch to do so. 

Consider building a house as an example of how to design an application. After building the house, you’ll consider enhancing the interior design with furniture. Would you attempt to construct the furniture from the ground up? The most practical choice would be to get the home furnishings you want from a store. You may access the desired application features—your home—from the furniture store, which acts as a library. As a result, the discrepancies between web3 frameworks have recently drawn substantial interest, especially from developers. Knowing each library’s functions will help you choose the best one for your web3 application.

Major Differences: Web3.js vs Ethers.js

The thorough explanation of the fundamentals of ethers.js and web3.js gives a good idea of how both of them benefit developers. To answer the question of web3.js vs ethers.js, it is crucial to make side-by-side comparisons based on a variety of criteria. Here is a list of the various indicators that can help you compare web3.js and ethers.js effectively. 

Developers

Before implementing any project or technical solution, the founders’ identities would be the first thing to catch one’s attention. The trustworthiness of the library may be inferred from the developers’ backgrounds. The Ethereum Foundation founded web3.js, which has an advantage over other web3 frameworks. Developers can explore a variety of functionalities with the confidence that a comprehensive organization or ecosystem supports the library. In contrast, Richard Moore developed ethers.js as a replacement for web3.js. 

Performance

Performance would be the next crucial consideration when determining “Which is better, web3 JS or ethers JS?” Compared to web3.js, Ethers is a significantly lighter library, guaranteeing better performance. The compressed version of Ethers.js is only 77 kb, but the uncompressed version is 284 kb. The web3.js library can occupy many gigabytes of space concurrently. However, in the case of small dApps, the size factor affects performance. Furthermore, the performance advantage of using ethers.js over web3.js is questioned due to a lack of sufficient speed test data for the same apps.

Maintenance 

Another point of comparison between the two libraries is the assessment of the maintenance differences between web3.js and ethers.js. The Ethereum Foundation explicitly supports Web3.js, and Chainsafe has active maintenance schedules. Web3.js offers substantial advantages for web3.js, with about 304 Github contributors and 4 NPM collaborators. Ethers.js, on the other hand, Ethers.js is maintained by a freelance software engineer. There is only one NPM collaborator and about 15 Github contributors as of right now. However, the contrast between web3.js and ethers.js considers reviews and developer comments to determine maintenance effectiveness. Regular updates are made to the web3.js and ethers.js libraries to fix bugs and add new functionality. 

Documentation 

When comparing web3.js vs ethers.js, the availability of documentation is another key factor in determining how simple it is to get started with the libraries. You may start your web3 development adventure with the help of the in-depth documentation provided by each web3 JavaScript package. On the other side, ethers.js offers extra resources, including a “Getting Started” guide and a “playground.”

Usability 

Another crucial aspect for contrasting the two libraries is their ease of use. This is true of both ethers.js and web3.js. Wallets and node providers are combined into a single object by Web3.js to function. Ethers.js, on the other hand, Ethers.js has two separate entities for wallet and node providers. As a result, ethers.js can provide the flexibility needed to separate the signing and upkeep of private keys from the reading and change of the blockchain state. Because providers and wallets are separated, ethers.js can ensure a better developer experience. Web3.js is a great option for novices because it allows for flexible learning through tutorials, support materials, and web3 projects.

Conclusion

In essence, Web3.js is a library that enables developers to connect to the Ethereum network, while Ethers.js is a library that aids in creating decentralized applications. Both libraries are crucial for the development of Ethereum and each has advantages and disadvantages. The summary of the distinctions between web3.js vs ethers.js libraries demonstrates the equal importance of both.

It’s interesting to note that depending on your needs, the answer to the question “Which is better, web3 JS or ethers JS?” can change. To understand the basics of utilizing web3 JavaScript libraries, for instance, beginners can use web3.js. However, ethers.js provides more hands-on instructions for using the library right away. Like web3.js is complicated by its size in megabytes, ethers.js guarantees greater performance with its reduced size. Depending on your needs, you can choose between web3.js and ethers.js for your web3 project.

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