As we are getting more serious about the various use cases, prototypes and projects we’re building with, and on top of IOTA, the need for a serious testing environment is high Because of this, the IOTA Foundation will provide an official test network (testnet), that can be utilized for exactly this: experimenting with the protocol.
The IOTA Foundation will also utilize this testnet to thoroughly review and test more experimental features (automated snapshotting and IXI for example will be tested soon). As such, you shouldn’t just treat the testnet as an environment where you can roam freely without having to worry, you should also see it as a testbed, for the core team to improve the protocols, libraries and tools.
Because the IOTA Testnet runs under different conditions than the main network, we have had to create a specific client just for the testnet. For one, there is nosnapshot with the original holder's balances (see below for how to get tokens), and for another we have lowered the minWeightMagnitude minimum from 18 to13. This means that doing Proof of Work in this environment is executed much faster.
It is important to keep in mind that this is its own network. As such, there are similar, but also very different rules to follow:
- Make sure to never mix your testnet and mainnet databases and neighbors.
- Follow the instructions provided, especially when it comes to testing more experimental software releases
- Don’t try to sell the tokens! The network will be regularly reset (once per month).
- Be nice to others and help them out if they want to get started and join the network and/or get tokens.
The testnet will have its own, specific builds. We have created the testnet branch on the official repository, which you can find here: https://github.com/iotaledger/iri/tree/testnet. You can get the jar directly from there, or you can simply build it yourself with maven:
git clone https://github.com/iotaledger/iri -b testnetmvn clean compile mvn package
Obviously, because this is its own, independent network, you have to go through the same process as in the main network: find neighbors. You can find neighbors in the#testnet Slack channel, or on our forum. Community members are usually very happy to help you out and get you connected. If you want to get tokens for your test case, please just ask in one of the communication channels as well.
I am currently working on a bot for Slack that will automatically dispense testnet tokens to those that need it. Until then, the best way to get tokens for testing will be to simply ask members who participate in the testnet. Most of the time, someone from the core team is around and able to provide assistance.