This article was first published on Stories by NEO on Medium
To measure the competitive advantage of a public blockchain project, the first and foremost thing to consider is whether it is capable of providing developer-friendly infrastructure. Given that smart contracts and blockchain are usually bundled together, the capability of providing a sound running environment for smart contracts is a touchstone for projects wishing to enter the industry. Virtual machines (VM), where smart contracts operate, are the key to that entrance.
It is known to all that NEO is largely driven by the community. It has attracted developers who believe that an ease-of-use and stable VM is one of the most important blockchain infrastructures. NEO was the second earliest public chain project to have released its own VM — NeoVM — which has seen continuous improvement since its release and is now able to provide a near flawless experience.
Early in 2018, NEO founder Erik Zhang presented the NeoVM at the first NEO DevCon in January, 2018. Milestone upgrades from version 2.2.1 to 2.3.0 followed in June, 2018. Since then, stack isolation has become a realized feature. Version 2.3.3 was released in November, 2018, which allows the NeoVM to be deployed elsewhere outside the NEO network.
Stack isolation may be a challenging technical term for non-developers. To put it in plain English, it can be compared to the system upgrade from DOS to Windows. In the DOS system, the memory is shared by all programs, which means if one program encounters an error, other programs may also be affected and freeze. Windows solves this problem by running all the programs in individual instances so that one program crashing won’t affect the others. The upgrade of NeoVM solved a similar problem. By adding stack isolation, each contract can only access its own stack area, thus making the execution of smart contracts ...
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