This article was first published on Chainlink
As the world discovers the expanding possibilities of smart contracts, transaction volume across blockchains is seeing an exponential increase. Along with this surge of adoption, developers are continuously expanding what smart contracts can process and compute. Between the rapidly growing use and complexity of smart contracts, secure off-chain computation is becoming an increasingly important service for optimizing gas costs, reducing network congestion, and enabling feature-rich dApps.
With their varying nature, however, computational tasks are inherently difficult to generalize. For example, unlike retrieving data from an API that has some standardized GET/POST methods, computation can be performed in a variety of ways and across a multitude of datasets that may not have any consistency between them. Performing a statistical analysis of weather data, as we will do in this tutorial, is vastly different than performing a calculation for, say, image recognition. Because of this variety in tasks, a flexible framework is needed to allow developers to tailor their solution exactly to their specific computational task.
Computing on Weather Data With Chainlink’s Highly Configurable Oracle Networks
Chainlink is architected to provide this computational flexibility to smart contract developers, offering a chain-agnostic and adaptable framework that allows nodes in an oracle network to take on a multitude of tasks, including serving any data request and performing any off-chain computation. Chainlink External Adapters allow developers to create portions of off-chain code that can be run in any manner the developer sees fit, so long as the input and output adhere to the interfaces defined by the Chainlink node(s), which then commits the result back on-chain. This pluggable architecture enables Chainlink nodes to mix and match External Adapters with very different functionalities needed for the task at hand. To learn more about developing External Adapters, check out our Building and Using External Adapters article.
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