Calling other Applications

We have seen that cross-chain messages sent by an application on one chain are always handled by the same application on the target chain.

This section is about calling other applications using cross-application calls.

Such calls happen on the same chain and are made with the ContractRuntime::call_application method:

pub fn call_application<A: ContractAbi + Send>(
    &mut self,
    authenticated: bool,
    application: ApplicationId<A>,
    call: &A::Operation,
) -> A::Response {

The authenticated argument specifies whether the callee is allowed to perform actions that require authentication on behalf of the signer of the original block that caused this call.

The application argument is the callee's application ID, and A is the callee's ABI.

The call argument is the operation requested by the application call.

Example: Crowd-Funding

The crowd-funding example application allows the application creator to launch a campaign with a funding target. That target can be an amount specified in any type of token based on the fungible application. Others can then pledge tokens of that type to the campaign, and if the target is not reached by the deadline, they are refunded.

If Alice used the fungible example to create a Pugecoin application (with an impressionable pug as its mascot), then Bob can create a crowd-funding application, use Pugecoin's application ID as CrowdFundingAbi::Parameters, and specify in CrowdFundingAbi::InstantiationArgument that his campaign will run for one week and has a target of 1000 Pugecoins.

Now let's say Carol wants to pledge 10 Pugecoin tokens to Bob's campaign.

First she needs to make sure she has his crowd-funding application on her chain, e.g. using the linera request-application command. This will automatically also register Alice's Pugecoin application on her chain, because it is a dependency of Bob's.

Now she can make her pledge by running the linera service and making a query to Bob's application:

mutation { pledge(owner: "User:841…6c0", amount: "10") }

This will add a block to Carol's chain containing the pledge operation that gets handled by CrowdFunding::execute_operation, resulting in one cross-application call and two cross-chain messages:

First CrowdFunding::execute_operation calls the fungible application on Carol's chain to transfer 10 tokens to Carol's account on Bob's chain:

// ...
let call = fungible::Operation::Transfer {
// ...
    .call_application(/* authenticated by owner */ true, fungible_id, &call);

This causes Fungible::execute_operation to be run, which will create a cross-chain message sending the amount 10 to the Pugecoin application instance on Bob's chain.

After the cross-application call returns, CrowdFunding::execute_operation continues to create another cross-chain message crowd_funding::Message::PledgeWithAccount, which informs the crowd-funding application on Bob's chain that the 10 tokens are meant for the campaign.

When Bob now adds a block to his chain that handles the two incoming messages, first Fungible::execute_message gets executed, and then CrowdFunding::execute_message. The latter makes another cross-application call to transfer the 10 tokens from Carol's account to the crowd-funding application's account (both on Bob's chain). That is successful because Carol does now have 10 tokens on this chain and she authenticated the transfer indirectly by signing her block. The crowd-funding application now makes a note in its application state on Bob's chain that Carol has pledged 10 Pugecoin tokens.

For the complete code please take a look at the crowd-funding and the fungible application contracts in the examples folder in linera-protocol.