Developing with Ape


Aleksandar Damjanovic


April 30, 2022

Executive Summary

This research examines Ape The Ethereum Development Framework For Python Developers. It examines its plugin system and ease of use. As a conclusion Web3 Tech Radar location is suggested.


Ape is a new tool for creating and exploring on Ethereum and other blockchains. This framework is written in python with a goal of onboarding more python developers to Web3 thus providing much needed inclusivity in the space.

Their goal is to make development smoother with their modular approach. Ape is centered around their open-source plugins written in python; some of them are:

  1. Ape-hardhat - Hardhat network provider for Ape
  2. Ape-infura - Infura provider plugins for Ethereum-based networks
  3. Ape-solidity - Support for Solidity smart contracts
  4. Ape-ledger - Ledger Nano S and X plugin for Ape
  5. Ape-alchemy - Alchemy Provider plugins for Ethereum-based networks

There are over 20 plugins Ape offers. Considering the open-source nature of the project a lot of new plugins are on the way.

Current version of Ape is v0.2.1 and some of the new interesting features offered are:

  1. Polygon, Binance Smart Chain, and Fantom support. Developers can build multi-chain applications with ape’s network switching feature.
  2. Impersonated account. This let’s the developers test their project and interact with the contract on a fork network pretending to be any account. If you want to impersonate Vitalik, Ape makes that possible.

They are also working on Ape Project Templates which should increase productivity and enhance developers’ experience when using this framework. Some of the templates Ape is currently developing are:

  1. NFT template
  2. Token template
  3. Various other templates for airdrops,minting
  4. Templates for different ERC standards

Ape is also set out to be the “first professional-grade smart contract development framework to support multi-chain application development, including non-EVM chains like StarkWare” .[^1]

Another sign that Ape is growing is that a Yearn.Finance repo has officially migrated over from Brownie to Ape.

As previosly mentioned, this is a new framework and we are expecting more adoption and improvements in the coming months, especially as more developers “take it for a spin”.

Another interesting thing is that there is a possibility of developers switching to Ape from Brownie framework, as Brownie updates have slowed down.

Goals & Methodology

The goal of this research paper is to explore this new player in the smart contract frameworks market, this is an opportunity to explore a new framework that is python oriented.

This will be done by writing a simple smart contract, deployment script for rinkeby and a couple tests for said contract and examining the documentation and tutorials present. That way we can research the ease of use for both beginners and experienced developers, and see what is the approach to development process this open-source framework is taking.

As a result Web3 Tech Radar location for this framework will be suggested.

Results & Discussion

Beginner friendly?

After initial testing of this framework and considering the state of the documentation at this stage I would recommend this framework to experienced python developers venturing into Web3. Documentation is well written, still in the works and continuosly updated with contributions from the community around this framework. Apeworx Team and Apeworx community is currently working on workshops to get developers up to speed and tutorials are in the works.

Currently there is little materials for newcomers. Considering this is a new open-source project this is understandable. However, for absolute beginners, going through the Brownie framework first is recomended at this stage of Ape’s development. The reason for that is abundance of tutorials, workshops and well written documentation. After Brownie, switch to Ape and its plugin system is smooth.


Ape framework performs well. Smart contract was developed and deployed to Rinkeby test network using a python script without any problems. Verification of the contract on Etherscan via a python script is not yet possible but is in the works in the Etherscan plugin.

Testing works well both locally and when using network forks, which makes exhaustive testing possible. Currently Ape doesn’t include built-in smart contract fuzz-testing tool.

Currently the speed of the framework is satisfactory and more improvements are on the way.


Open-source modular plugins are definitely the highlight of this framework. It allows developers to easily install and remove the functionality they need in their development process and I could see this being a way to onboard new developers from the python world and a way to incentivize developers to develop their own plugins. Some of the interesting Ape plugins are:

ape-tokens is an interesting plugin which allows developers to get token contracts without putting in the addresses themselves.


from ape_tokens import tokens

link = tokens["LINK"]


This will print out the eth adress of the LINK token. “link” can now be used in various python scripts, be it testing or development.

ape-ledger is a plugin for Ape Framework which integrates with Ledger devices to load and create accounts, sign messages, and sign transactions.


  • have the Ledger USB device connected
  • have the Ledger USB device unlocked (by entering the passcode)
  • have the Ethereum app open.

Ledger accounts have the following capabilities in ape:

  • Can sign transactions
  • Can sign messages using the default EIP-191 specification
  • Can sign messages using the EIP-712 specification

ape-trezor is a plugin for Ape Framework which integrates Trezorlib to load and create accounts, sign messages, and sign transactions.

You can load the account like any other account in Ape console and then use it to sign transactions like this:

ape trezor sign-message [YOUR TREZOR ALIAS] "hello world"
ape trezor verify "hello world

The output of verify should be the same address as the account $account_name.

Ape Polygon Ecosystem Plugin - Ecosystem Plugin for Polygon support in Ape

Ape Fantom Ecosystem Plugin - Ecosystem Plugin for Fantom support in Ape

ape-addressbook is plugin that allows tracking addresses and contracts in projects and globally. This is an interesting way to improve developers user experience and is currently in development.

…And many more.


Tech Radar Proposal:

Recommended location is the Assess ring at this stage. The reason for that is the shere novelty of this framework. However the development team is great, community is growing and we are seeing new projects emerging using Ape. This framework is with its simplicity aiming to become the industry standard in Ethereum development for python developers and is on a great way to do so.