Deploy a Fully Tested NFT Contract Using OpenZeppelin

February 2, 2022
  • Deploy a Fully Tested NFT Contract Using OpenZeppelin
  • Introduction
  • What are we going to build?
  • A note about my environment
    • shell.nix
    • devbin (Development Binaries)
    • devlog
    • .envrc
    • .vscode
  • Let’s get started
    • Install npm and truffle
    • Initialize truffle
    • truffle-config.js
    • contracts/Migrations.sol (can be ignored)
    • migrations/1_initial_migration.js (can be ignored)
    • test/.gitkeep (can be ignored)
    • Use the latest version of the solidity compiler
    • Install the rest of the environment
    • @truffle/hdwallet-provider
    • mocha and chai
    • ganache-cli
    • @openzeppelin contracts, test-environment and test-helpers
    • Add the ganache-cli development environment to truffle-config.js
    • Update test environment to use mocha:
    • Congratulations – You Have A Great Starting Point
  • Our ERC721 Contract
  • Tests for the OpenZeppelinNft Contract
    • Create test/OpenZeppelinNft.test.js
    • Start ganache-cli
    • First run of the tests
  • Conclusion
    • I like coffee


This article is the first in a series of articles that describe, in exacting detail, how I built a series of solidity contracts. I’m not going to go into a lot of theory, and I’m not going to try to sell you on how awesome ethereum, bitcoin, blockchain, etc are. There are plenty of other articles that do that. This series of articles will be a straightforward description of what was built, how it works, and why I built it the way I did.
One thing to understand — writing solidity contracts is very different from writing other software for two important reasons:

  1. If you do your job well, there will be a lot of money flowing through your contract. This WILL attract nefarious individuals who would like to steal that money. You may be thinking, “this is also true for banks”. However, unlike banks your code is available to anyone who wants to review it in bytecode format. Bottom line — you MUST test your code, and you MUST try to think of all the ways someone will subvert it to steal the contract’s value.
  2. Once a contract is deployed to the main Ethereum network, it is immutable unless you specifically build your contract so it can be upgradeable. OpenZeppelin Upgrade Plugins can be used to mitigate this problem at the cost of gas and complexity.

TLDR: Testing your contract is essential. Test Driven Development is the way to go here, and this series of articles will use that approach.

What are we going to build?

In this article we’ll concentrate on building a fully tested NFT contract using OpenZeppelin. It’ll be quite easy because OpenZeppelin has already written all of the code and tests for the contract, so we’ll simply use that code and those tests. We’ll take some time to explore some of the OpenZeppelin code along the way.

A note about my environment

You’ll find several files in the top level directory of the GitHub repositiory that are part of my development environment. I describe them here for completeness.


I use nix to manage the packages on my development computer. This nix expression makes node version 16 available to the project.

{ pkgs ? import <nixpkgs> {} }:
  pkgs.mkShell {
    nativeBuildInputs = [ pkgs.nodejs-16_x ];


devbin (Development Binaries)

There are a series of shell scripts in this directory that are added to my path when I cd into the directory. They’re there to help me rember how to do specific commands that I need to do. There is also a help script that prints out a simple description of what each script in devbin does.


Any log files that I may want review go here. For this project, this is mainly the ganache-cli log.


I use direnv to set up the specific environment necessary to work on this project when I cd into it.

use_nix  ①
PATH_add devbin ②
export NFTCAR_DIR=$PWD ③


  1. use-nix is a direnv directive that tells direnv to invoke the shell.nix expression.
  2. This adds the devbin path to my path.
  3. This adds a new environment variable to my shell.


I use vscode as my IDE. The .vscode directory contains all of the configuration files for the IDE.

Let’s get started

As I mentioned in the previous section, I use nix to curate my development environment for this project. You are free to use anything you like. npm -g or nvm are both fine choices. I’ll assume you have node version 16 available to you on the command line along with npm and npx.
You can probably use any version of node beyond 8.9.4. The truffle installation documentation calls out this requirement specifically.

Install npm and truffle

npm init -y  # ①

cat >> .gitignore # ②
^d ③
npm install --save-dev truffle # ④


  1. This sets up node in this directory.
  2. Update .gitignore to so that we don’t push compile results or node_modules to our git repository.
  3. Don’t forget to hit [ctrl][d] to close the cat command before typing the next command.
  4. Install the Truffle Suite locally.

Initialize truffle

npx truffle init

  This command initializes a new and empty ethereum project in the local directory. It creates a series of files that we’ll examine below.


This is the most important file that was created by npx truffle init. It’s heavily commented, but the uncommented version is shown below so you can get a sense of what you’re dealing with.

module.exports = {①
  networks: { ②
  mocha: {③
  compilers: {④
    solc: {
  db: {
    enabled: false ⑤


  1. This javascript essentially exports a single object containing the configuration for the local truffle. It’s comprised of four separate sections: networks, mocha, compilers, and db.
  2. Networks define how you connect to your ethereum client and let you set the defaults web3 uses to send transactions.
  3. We use the mocha testing library for testing Ethereum contracts using truffle. You can set default mocha options here. A good one to set is the timeout option as shown in the example file (just uncomment it). Without it any breakpoints in your test code will fail your test due to a timeout.
  4. The compilers section is where you configure your compiler. We’ll get back to this in a minute.
  5. Truffle starts off with the truffle database turned off. We’re going to leav it that way, but you may want to turn it on. 

contracts/Migrations.sol (can be ignored)

This is a solidity contract that truffle uses as part of the process of migrating (think installing) your contract to the Ethereum block chain. I’ve never modified this file.

migrations/1_initial_migration.js (can be ignored)

This is a javascript file that truffle also uses as part of the migration process. I’ve never modified this file either.

test/.gitkeep (can be ignored)

This file just exists so that the test directory, which would otherwise be empty, is stored in your git repository. It never changes and can be deleted once you have tests in the test directory.

Use the latest version of the solidity compiler

Modify the truffle-config.js file as follows. If you’re not used to reading the output of the diff command, this snippet is essentially saying to change the 0.5.1 to 0.8.6 in the compilers.solc object. Solidity 0.8.6 is the latest version as of this writing.

diff --git a/truffle-config.js b/truffle-config.js
index a707377..8e8d0b4 100644
--- a/truffle-config.js
+++ b/truffle-config.js
@@ -82,7 +82,7 @@ module.exports = {
   // Configure your compilers
   compilers: {
     solc: {
-      // version: "0.5.1",    // Fetch exact version from solc-bin (default: truffle's version)
+      version: "0.8.6",    // Fetch exact version from solc-bin (default: truffle's version)
       // docker: true,        // Use "0.5.1" you've installed locally with docker (default: false)
       // settings: {          // See the solidity docs for advice about optimization and evmVersion
       //  optimizer: {

  Note that you can use the patch command to make these changes. Copy the text above to your clipboard, then type patch -p1 at the command line. Paste the lines into your terminal then hit [ctrl][d]. The changes should be made without using an editor. If you’ve already heavily modified the truffle-config.js file, this won’t work.

Install the rest of the environment

There are several more NPM modules we need to install. We install them below.


npm install --save-dev @truffle/hdwallet-provider

  Truffle’s hdwallet-provider is a Web3 provider used to signb transactions for addresses derived from 12 or 24 word mnemonics.

mocha and chai

npm install --save-dev mocha chai

  Mocha is a JavaScript test framework for Node. Chai is a BDD / TDD assertion library.


npm install --save-dev ganache-cli

  ganache-cli is part of the Truffle suite. It is the command-line version of Ganache and provides a test blockchain on your local machine.

@openzeppelin contracts, test-environment and test-helpers

npm install --save-dev @openzeppelin/contracts @openzeppelin/test-environment @openzeppelin/test-helpers


  • contracts A library of well-tested smart contracts. The library includes the ERC721 contract that we’ll use in this article.
  • test-environment Sets up a great test environment for testing your contracts. Accounts, simple connections to Contracts, etc. It takes a lot of boilerplate out of your tests.
  • test-helpers is an assertion library for smart contract testing.

Add the ganache-cli development environment to truffle-config.js

diff --git a/truffle-config.js b/truffle-config.js
index 8e8d0b4..d4666dc 100644
--- a/truffle-config.js
+++ b/truffle-config.js
@@ -42,11 +42,11 @@ module.exports = {
     // tab if you use this network and you must also set the `host`, `port` and `n
     // options below to some value.
-    // development: {
-    //  host: "",     // Localhost (default: none)
-    //  port: 8545,            // Standard Ethereum port (default: none)
-    //  network_id: "*",       // Any network (default: none)
-    // },
+    development: {
+     host: "",     // Localhost (default: none)
+     port: 8545,            // Standard Ethereum port (default: none)
+     network_id: "*",       // Any network (default: none)
+    },
     // Another network with more advanced options...
     // advanced: {
     // port: 8777,             // Custom port

  The ganache-cli environment will allow us to run automated tests on our own machine very quickly. Much faster than it would take to run them against mainnet or any of the testnets. With ganache, we also do not need any real or test ethereum.

Update test environment to use mocha:

diff --git a/package.json b/package.json
index ac7b362..87dee76 100644
--- a/package.json
+++ b/package.json
@@ -4,7 +4,7 @@
   "description": "",
   "main": "index.js",
   "scripts": {
-    "test": "echo \"Error: no test specified\" && exit 1"
+    "test": "truffle compile && mocha --exit --recursive"
   "keywords": [],
   "author": "",

  This change will allow us to run truffle test on the command line.

Congratulations – You Have A Great Starting Point

If you’ve made it this far, you have a perfect starting point for any new solidity project you want! The only thing missing is an actual contract and some tests. That’s what the next section is all about!

Our ERC721 Contract

OpenTruffle has done most of the work that needs to be done for our contract, and we’re going to use that great work to our advantage. In the node_modules folder of your project you’ll find several ethereum contracts. The one we’re looking for is:

  • node_modules
  • @openzeppelin
    • contracts
    • token
      • ERC721
      • presets
        • ERC721PresetMinterPauserAutoId.sol

It’s well worth studying this contract and all of the contracts imported by it.
Our simple contract imports the ERC721PresetMinterPauserAutoId contract and has enough boilerplate to make it work. 100% of our ERC721 contract is provided the OpenZeppelin preset.

// SPDX-License-Identifier: MIT ①

pragma solidity ^0.8.0; ②

import "@openzeppelin/contracts/token/ERC721/presets/ERC721PresetMinterPauserAutoId.sol"; ③

contract OpenZeppelinNft is ERC721PresetMinterPauserAutoId { ④
    constructor(string memory name, string memory symbol, string memory baseTokenURI) ⑤
        ERC721PresetMinterPauserAutoId(name, symbol, baseTokenURI) ⑥

  note: don’t forget to remove the circled numbers (①, etc) or your contract won’t compile.

  1. The Software Package Data Exchange (SPDX) license identifier for this file. The MIT License.
  2. The pragma solidity tells the build system which version of the compiler to use. Read the doc for detailed information.
  3. We’re importing the ERC721PresetMinterPauserAutoId solidity file we just mentioned. This is the basis of our contract.
  4. Our contract is named OpenZeppelinNft. Its single parent (inheritance) contract is ERC721PresetMinterPauserAutoId.
  5. The OpenZeppelinNft contract has a constructor that takes the same arguments as its parent contract.
  6. The OpenZeppelinNft simply passes the arguments to its parent.

Tests for the OpenZeppelinNft Contract

In the previous section we wrote a fully functional ERC721 contract by extending a Preset. The OpenZeppelin team has already written tests for this contract and all of its consituant pieces. Using the table below, you can review some of the components of the contract and their matching tests. After that, we’ll build a test of our own based on one of the existant tests.

Create test/OpenZeppelinNft.test.js

The first first thing we’re going to do is make a slightly modified version of the source of the ERC721PersetMinterPauserAutioId.test.js file from github, and use it as the basis of our new OpenZeppelinNft.test.js file.
There are a couple of things to notice about this:

  1. We’re taking a copy of the test file from a specific truffle release, so it should not vary over time.
  2. We’re stripping out any lines containing SupportedInterfaces. Those lines are not usefull for our purposes and would make this process more complicated.
  3. We’re changing some (but not all) instances of the string ERC721PresetMinterPauserAutoId to our contract name, OpenZeppelinNft.

Start ganache-cli

We use ganache-cli as our local ethereum test network. We’ve already configured it in truffle-config.js, so now it’s time to start it.
I like to be able to review ganache-cli logs, so I write them to a file in the devlogs folder.

mkdir devlogs
npx ganache-cli --deterministic 2>&1 > devlogs/ganache-cli.log &

First run of the tests

We can actually run our tests now, and if everything works well the solidity contracts will compile and the tests will run.

 % npx truffle test # ①

② Compiling your contracts...
> Compiling ./contracts/Migrations.sol
> Compiling ./contracts/OpenZeppelinNft.sol
> Compiling @openzeppelin/contracts/access/AccessControl.sol
> Compiling @openzeppelin/contracts/access/AccessControlEnumerable.sol
> Compiling @openzeppelin/contracts/security/Pausable.sol
> Compiling @openzeppelin/contracts/token/ERC721/ERC721.sol
> Compiling @openzeppelin/contracts/token/ERC721/IERC721.sol
> Compiling @openzeppelin/contracts/token/ERC721/IERC721Receiver.sol
> Compiling @openzeppelin/contracts/token/ERC721/extensions/ERC721Burnable.sol
> Compiling @openzeppelin/contracts/token/ERC721/extensions/ERC721Enumerable.sol
> Compiling @openzeppelin/contracts/token/ERC721/extensions/ERC721Pausable.sol
> Compiling @openzeppelin/contracts/token/ERC721/extensions/IERC721Enumerable.sol
> Compiling @openzeppelin/contracts/token/ERC721/extensions/IERC721Metadata.sol
> Compiling @openzeppelin/contracts/token/ERC721/presets/ERC721PresetMinterPauserAutoId.sol
> Compiling @openzeppelin/contracts/utils/Address.sol
> Compiling @openzeppelin/contracts/utils/Context.sol
> Compiling @openzeppelin/contracts/utils/Counters.sol
> Compiling @openzeppelin/contracts/utils/Strings.sol
> Compiling @openzeppelin/contracts/utils/introspection/ERC165.sol
> Compiling @openzeppelin/contracts/utils/introspection/IERC165.sol
> Compiling @openzeppelin/contracts/utils/structs/EnumerableSet.sol
> Artifacts written to /tmp/test--65532-dHZ8ChnGRkd7
> Compiled successfully using:
   - solc: 0.8.6+commit.11564f7e.Emscripten.clang

③ Contract: OpenZeppelinNft
    ✓ token has correct name
    ✓ token has correct symbol (51ms)
    ✓ deployer has the default admin role (71ms)
    ✓ deployer has the minter role (56ms)
    ✓ minter role admin is the default admin (40ms)
      ✓ deployer can mint tokens (176ms)
      ✓ other accounts cannot mint tokens (334ms)
      ✓ deployer can pause (191ms)
      ✓ deployer can unpause (170ms)
      ✓ cannot mint while paused (207ms)
      ✓ other accounts cannot pause (126ms)
      ✓ other accounts cannot unpause (138ms)
      ✓ holders can burn their tokens (235ms)

  13 passing (4s)
  1. On my machine I use npx to run truffle. If you have truffle installed globally, you will run truffle test.
  2. The contracts compile first.
  3. Then the tests begin.


I hope you found this article useful! It lays out a lot of groundwork for future articles that dive into the guts of solidity, testing with mocha and building a UI for our contract. The OpenZeppelinNft contract we built in this article leverages the OpenZeppelin community’s contracts for 100% of its functionality, but in the next article we’ll write some code of our own!

I like coffee

If you found this article useful I’d love to hear from you! Drop me an email at:
Originally posted on GitHub

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