Getting Started

Getting started

Creating a new project

Use aiken new to create a scaffold a new project and follow instructions from the generated at the root of your project. On success, your project should look roughly as follows:

├── aiken.toml
├── lib
│   └── foo
└── validators

Compiling a project

Use aiken build to compile a project, and aiken check to only type-check a project and run tests.

If you're writing a library aiken docs is a powerful utility to generate HTML documentation from types, type annotations and comments. Abuse it!

Finally, once compiled, you may look at the aiken blueprint command group to generate addresses, apply parameters and convert the build output to various formats.

Project structure

Folder organisation

Aiken projects divide their source code in two categories: library code, and application code. Library code must be located in a lib folder, and application code (i.e. on-chain validators) located in a validators folder.

After compilation, the compiler will generate a Plutus blueprint (plutus.json), which is an interoperable document that summarizes your project. The blueprint also contains compiled code for each validator of your project and their corresponding hash digests to be used in addresses.


A project has a top-level aiken.toml file at its root containing metadata about the projects, as well as dependencies required by it. Here's a sample of (documented) project configuration:

# Project's name, as {organisation}/{project}
name = "acme/foo"
# Project's version, we recommend semantic versioning for libraries
version = "1.0.0"
# One or more license(s); we recommend Apache-2.0 or MPL-2.0 for open source
# projects.
licences = ["Apache-2.0"]
# An informative albeit short description of the project.
description = "A next-level DeFi platform"
# Optional section, gives additional structured information on a project to
# show in generated documentation.
platform = "github"   # Platform type, `github`, `gitlab` or `bitbucket`
user = "aiken-lang"   # Username or organisation on that platform
project = "stdlib"    # Repository or project on that platform
# A list of dependencies
# Leave as:
#     dependencies = []
# If you have none.
# Avoid editing by hand, use `aiken packages` to manage them.
name = "aiken-lang/stdlib"   # Project's name
version = "main"             # Version, as a branch or git commit hash
source = "github"            # Platform type, `github`, `gitlab` or `bitbucket`

Well-known packages & modules

Aiken's prelude

The prelude contains a minimum set of functions, constructors and modules available by default to all Aiken projects. You can find it on aiken-lang/prelude (opens in a new tab) and at the bottom of this website.

Aiken's standard library

The standard library (or stdlib in short) gathers useful functions and data-structures that might come in handy in your Aiken programming journey. It's also a good reference of well-written and well-tested Aiken code if you need some examples to get started with. You can find it on aiken-lang/stdlib (opens in a new tab) and at the bottom of this website.