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Manifest & Modules

Learn the basics about modules and manifests

Modules and Manifests

In Substreams, manifests and modules are concepts tighly related because they are fundamental to understand how Substreams works.
In simple terms, a Substreams module is a Rust function that receives an input and returns an output. For example, the following Rust function receives an Ethereum block and returns a custom object containing fields such as block number, hash or parent hash.
fn get_my_block(blk: Block) -> Result<MyBlock, substreams::errors::Error> {
let header = blk.header.as_ref().unwrap();
Ok(MyBlock {
number: blk.number,
hash: Hex::encode(&blk.hash),
parent_hash: Hex::encode(&header.parent_hash),
})
}
And also in simple terms, a Substreams manifest (substreams.yaml) is a configuration file (a YAML file) for your Substreams, which defines the different modules (functions) for your Substreams, among other configurations. For example, the following manifest receives a raw Ethereum block as input (sf.ethereum.type.v2.Block) and outputs a custom object (eth.example.MyBlock).
modules:
- name: map_block
kind: map
initialBlock: 12287507
inputs:
- source: sf.ethereum.type.v2.Block
output:
type: proto:eth.example.MyBlock
Among other things, the manifest allows you to define:
  • How many modules your Substreams uses, along with their corresponding inputs and outputs.
  • The schema(s) (i.e. the data model) your Substreams uses.
  • How you will consume the data emitted by your Substreams (SQL, Webhooks...).

Module Chaining

Modules were built with composability in mind, so it is possible to chain them. Given two modules, module1 and module2, you can set the output of module1 to be the input of module2, creating a chain of interconnected Substreams modules. Let's take a look at the following example:
modules:
- name: map_events
kind: map
initialBlock: 4634748
inputs:
- source: sf.ethereum.type.v2.Block
output:
type: proto:contract.v1.Events
- name: db_out
kind: map
initialBlock: 4634748
inputs:
- map: map_events
output:
type: proto:sf.substreams.sink.database.v1.DatabaseChanges
There are two modules defined: map_events and graph_out.
  • The map_events module receives a sf.ethereum.type.v2.Block object (a raw Ethereum block) as a parameter and outputs a custom contract.v1.Events object.
  • The db_out module receives map_events's output as an input, and outputs another custom object, sf.substreams.sink.database.v1.DatabaseChanges.
Technically, modules have one or more inputs, which can be in the form of a map or store, or a Block or Clock object received from the blockchain's data source. Every time a new Block is processed, all of the modules are executed as a directed acyclic graph (DAG).

Module Kinds

There are two types of modules: map and store. map modules are used for stateless transformations and store modules are used for stateful transformations.
Substreams executes the Rust function associated with module for every block on the blockchain, but there will be times when you will have to save data between blocks. store modules allow you to save in-memory data.

map modules

map modules are used for data extraction, filtering, and transformation. They should be used when direct extraction is needed avoiding the need to reuse them later in the DAG.
To optimize performance, you should use a single map module instead of multiple map modules to extract single events or functions. It is more efficient to perform the maximum amount of extraction in a single top-level map module and then pass the data to other Substreams modules for consumption. This is the recommended, simplest approach for both backend and consumer development experiences.
Functional map modules have several important use cases and facts to consider, including:
  • Extracting model data from an event or function's inputs.
  • Reading data from a block and transforming it into a custom protobuf structure.
  • Filtering out events or functions for any given number of contracts.

store modules

store modules are used for the aggregation of values and to persist state that temporarily exists across a block.
Important: Stores should not be used for temporary, free-form data persistence.
Unbounded store modules are discouraged. store modules shouldn't be used as an infinite bucket to dump data into.
Notable facts and use cases for working store modules include:
  • store modules should only be used when reading data from another downstream Substreams module.
  • store modules cannot be output as a stream, except in development mode.
  • store modules are used to implement the Dynamic Data Sources pattern from Subgraphs, keeping track of contracts created to filter the next block with that information.
  • Downstream of the Substreams output, do not use store modules to query anything from them. Instead, use a sink to shape the data for proper querying.

Defining Modules

Modules are defined as a YAML list under the modules section of the manifest. In the following example, a map_events module is defined:
modules:
- name: map_events
kind: map
initialBlock: 4634748
inputs:
- source: sf.ethereum.type.v2.Block
output:
type: proto:contract.v1.Events
Then, you create the corresponding Rust function under the src/lib.rs file.
#[substreams::handlers::map]
fn map_events(blk: eth::Block) -> Result<contract::Events, substreams::errors::Error> {
...output omitted...
}