In the decentralized realm of Web3, the emergence of web3 frameworks designed to facilitate the crafting of smart contracts and DApps has transformed the developer experience. Leading the pack are HardHat, Truffle, and Foundry. This comprehensive guide delves into the evolution, technical functionalities, and practical use cases of the most popular web3 frameworks.

Edit: Truffle has been discontinued recently. Read here about the migration.


  • Smooth integration with Ethers library

  • Extensive plugin ecosystem

  • Bespoke network for real-time Ethereum chain implications

  • Advanced debugging features

  • Seamless MetaMask integration

  • Supports multiple chains with a focus on security

  • Fuzz testing capabilities

  • Innovative features like cheat codes and cast calls

  • Targets Substrate and Polkadot ecosystems

  • May be less streamlined for certain advanced development scenarios

  • May have a steeper learning curve for some developers

A quick comparison among main smart contract tools: Truffle, Hardhat and Foundry

Aspect HardHat Truffle Foundry
Distinctive Characteristic Developer-centric with TypeScript support. First smart contract framework with integrated ecosystem. Fast testing speeds and innovative features for Substrate and Polkadot.
Pros - Native TypeScript support - Built-in contract abstractions for web3.js - Rapid Solidity testing
Cons - Limited debugging capabilities compared to Truffle - Additional steps required for TypeScript compilation - Newer and less established than HardHat and Truffle
Better Fit For Projects requiring advanced TypeScript integration and a rich plugin ecosystem. Multi-chain projects and those prioritizing comprehensive development tools and security. Developers targeting Substrate and Polkadot ecosystems, and those needing fast testing and innovative testing features.
  • Truffle: As the pioneering smart contract framework, Truffle blazed the trail, introducing an integrated ecosystem for developers.

  • HardHat: Despite its late entry, HardHat quickly became a favorite, addressing the gaps left by Truffle with its developer-centric offerings.

  • Foundry: The latest entrant, Foundry, with its unmatched testing speeds, is steadily climbing the ranks in the Web3 domain.

The Great Duel: Truffle vs. HardHat

  • Development Language: HardHat supports TypeScript out-of-the-box. In contrast, with Truffle, developers must run tsc for TypeScript compilation.

  • Integration with Ethers: While both can integrate with the Ethers library, HardHat offers a slightly smoother experience.

  • Contract Abstractions: Truffle excels here with built-in contract abstractions, simplifying web3.js interactions.

  • Debugging: Both frameworks support console.log, but Truffle takes the lead with a native debugger offering step in/out, breakpoints, and more. Moreover, Truffle allows for debugging a mainnet transaction. HardHat, on the other hand, is limited to the console.log statements included within the deployed contract.

  • Plugin Ecosystem: HardHat edges out with a more extensive plugin ecosystem.

  • Developer Experience: The Truffle Dashboard seamlessly integrates with MetaMask for deployment, leaning on dotenv and secret key management. When it comes to extensions, the “Truffle for VS Code” focuses on an enriched developer UX, amalgamating essential features into a single UI. Comparatively, the “HardHat VS Code” extension zeroes in on Solidity compilation errors.

Technical Exploration



A haven for Ethereum developers, HardHat introduces a bespoke network, allowing devs to gauge the real-time implications of their actions on the Ethereum chain.

Key Commands:

  • Initialize: npx hardhat

  • Compile: npx hardhat compile

  • Test: npx hardhat test

Developer Tools:

  • HardHat Runner: This is the pivotal component, responsible for executing tasks, scripts, and tests.

  • Ethers.js: Integrated with Ethers.js, it simplifies Ethereum blockchain interactions.

Practical Scenario:

For instance, in developing an Ethereum-based game, rapid contract modifications are commonplace. Using console.log() aids debugging. HardHat’s detailed stack traces simplify the error identification process.

Technical In-Depth:

  • TypeScript support comes as standard.

  • Integrates smoothly with the Ethers library.

  • Offers extensive plugin support.


Truffle’s Trajectory

With an eye on the future, Truffle is evolving:

  • Multi-chain Focus: Broadening its horizons, Truffle is shifting its focus to support multiple chains while emphasizing security.

  • Co-opetition Strategy: In a unique move, Truffle fosters compatibility, enabling developers to use it alongside HardHat and Foundry.

  • Enterprise-Level Goals: At its core, Truffle envisions itself as the go-to solution for comprehensive, end-to-end development of enterprise-level DApps.


Regarded as the quintessential suite for Ethereum development, Truffle seamlessly transitions developers from contract creation to deployment.

Key Commands:

  • Initialize: truffle init

  • Compile: truffle compile

  • Migrate: truffle migrate

  • Test: truffle test

Developer Tools:

  • Ganache: An individualized Ethereum blockchain to deploy tests and monitor state.

  • Drizzle: Libraries that bolster front-end DApp development.

Practical Scenario:

Developing a marketplace DApp often demands test network migrations. Upon scripting the contract, executing truffle compile and then truffle migrate --reset --network ropsten deploys it to the Ropsten testnet.

Technical In-Depth:

  • Furnishes built-in contract abstractions for web3.js.

  • Debugging is enriched with a native debugger.

  • The Truffle Dashboard and the “Truffle for VS Code” offer an enhanced developer experience.


The Foundry Perspective

Historically, developers transitioned from Truffle to HardHat as the latter was less opinionated. But with the Ethereum ecosystem burgeoning, HardHat has grown more prescriptive. Consequently, developers are now flocking to Foundry for its open-minded approach. What sets Foundry apart?

  • Rapid Testing: Foundry’s Solidity testing is incredibly fast, and it introduces innovative fuzz testing.

  • Advanced Features: Foundry integrates intriguing functionalities like cheat codes and cast calls.


Primarily serving the Substrate and Polkadot ecosystems, Foundry is a boon for developers targeting these platforms.

Key Commands:

  • Initialize: foundry new my_project

  • Build: foundry build

  • Test: foundry test

Developer Tools:

  • Substrate Node Template: Ideal for initializing Substrate nodes.

  • Polkadot JS: A tool to interact with Substrate nodes.

Practical Scenario:

Should one aim to launch a parachain on Polkadot, Foundry’s Substrate Node Template is invaluable. Once the node is set up, foundry test verifies connectivity.

Technical In-Depth:

  • Excels in fast Solidity testing and introduces fuzz testing.

  • Intriguing functionalities such as cheat codes and cast calls are integrated.

To Conclude:

The choice between HardHat, Truffle, or Foundry hinges on your specific project needs and development preferences. As the blockchain industry continues its meteoric rise, these dynamic web3 frameworks promise to continually reshape the contours of the developer journey.