Cover for Certora

Smart contracts testing

Certora is a series B blockchain startup. In 2022, the project raised $36M from Jump Crypto and Electric Capital—a leading corporation in the blockchain world. It’s used by dozens of other large, signature DeFi—Decentralized Finance—projects.

Certora provides advanced security analysis tools for Ethereum Smart Contracts to automatically detect security vulnerabilities both before the code is deployed and during operation. For developers, the service ensures a quality development environment with their unique language-agnostic Certora Prover Technology for checking security rules. The process is automatic, supports arbitrary programs, and integrates into CI/CD pipeline.

Bringing tests to the IDE

Certora had already offered the web report feature to their customers: it displayed all the test results and showed all the locations in the code where technical errors or vulnerabilities had been found. The report was highly detailed, but to find errors in the development environment, users had to switch between windows, copy lines from the report to search inside the IDE, and then switch to the terminal to run the checker. This was a time-consuming process. Also, in the web report, developers couldn’t track the sequential data processing in a particular block of code.

The Certora team decided to make the feature more user-friendly and implement the test results in a well-known development format—as a VS Code plugin. The plugin would need to support smart contract verification logs and highlight problem areas right in the IDE itself.

The Martian design sprint in action

When they reached out to Evil Martians, we suggested researching user demands and putting together the requirements first. The ideal format for gathering this information: the Martian design sprint.

We started the sprint by interviewing current users and evaluating their pain points, checking out what development environment they use and whether it would be comfortable for them to utilize VS Code plugins. Based on these insights, we formulated a set of requirements, compiled documentation on the current way to run contract verification, and wrote a user story for the VS Code flow.

An interview results report

One of the design sprint artifacts: an interview results report

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