Getting Started


Subspace can be used in browser, node and native script environments. To get started install the package @embarklabs/subspace using npm or yarn by executing this command in your project directory:

# Using npm
npm install --save @embarklabs/subspace web3 rxjs

# Using yarn
yarn add @embarklabs/subspace  web3 rxjs
Notice that we also include web3 and rxjs. These are required peer dependencies

Importing the library

// ESM (might require babel / browserify)
import Subspace from '@embarklabs/subspace';  

// CommonJS
const Subspace = require('@embarklabs/subspace'); 

Connecting to a web3 provider

To interact with the EVM, Subspace requires a valid Web3 object, connected to a provider

const subspace = new Subspace(web3);
await subspace.init();

In addition to the provider, Subspace also accepts an options object with settings that can change its behavior:

  • dbFilename - Name of the database where the information will be stored (default 'subspace.db')
  • callInterval - Interval of time in milliseconds to query a contract/address to determine changes in state or balance. It’s only used with HttpProviders (default: undefined. Obtains data every block using the average block time as an interval).
  • refreshLastNBlocks - Ignores last N blocks (from current block), stored in the local db and refresh them via a web3 subscription. Useful for possible reorgs (default: 12),
  • disableSubscriptions - Subspace by default will attempt to use websocket subscriptions if the current provider supports them, otherwise it will use polling because it asumes the provider is an HttpProvider. This functionality can be disabled by passing true to this option. (default: undefined)

Enhancing your contract objects

Subspace provides a method to enhance your web3 Contract objects: subspace.contract(instance|{abi,address}). Calling this method will return a new contract object decorated with a .track() method for your contract view functions and events.

const myRxContract = subspace.contract(myContractInstance);

You can also instantiate a contract directly by passing the contract ABI and its address:

const myRXContract = subspace.contract({abi: ...., address: '0x1234...CDEF'})

Reacting to data

Once it’s initialized, you can use Subspace‘s methods to track the contract state, events and balances. These functions return RxJS Observables which you can subscribe to, and obtain and transform the observed data via operators.

What is an Observable?

The Observable type can be used to model push-based data sources such as DOM events, timer intervals, and sockets. In addition, observables are: - Compositional: Observables can be composed with higher-order combinators. - Lazy: Observables do not start emitting data until an observer has subscribed.

Further read

Tracking state

You can track changes to a contract state variable, by specifying the view function and arguments to call and query the contract.

const stateObservable$ = Contract.methods.functionName(functionArgs).track();

Tracking the public variables of a contract

State variables implicity create a view function when they're defined as public. The functionName would be the same as the variable name, and functionArgs will have a value when the type is a mapping or array (since these require an index value to query them).


const productTitle$ = ProductList.methods.products(0).track().map("title");
productTitle$.subscribe((title) => console.log("product title is " + title));

// Alternative using Subspace low level API
const producTitle$ = subspace.trackProperty(ProductList, "products", [0], {from: web3.eth.defaultAccount});

The subscription will be triggered whenever the title changes

Tracking events

You can track events and react to their returned values.

const eventObservable$ = Contract.event.eventName.track();


const rating$ ="rating")).pipe(map(x => parseInt(x)));
rating$.subscribe((rating) => console.log("rating received: " + rating));

// Alternative using Subspace low level API
const rating$ = subspace.trackEvent(Product, "Rating", {fromBlock: 0});

Event Sourcing

You can easily do event sourcing with subspace.

For e.g: if you needed to get the average rating of the last 5 events:

import { $average, $latest } from "@embarklabs/subspace";

const rating$ ="rating")).pipe(map(x => parseInt(x)));

rating$.pipe($latest(5), $average()).subscribe((rating) => {
  console.log("average rating of the last 5 events is " + rating)

Tracking balances

You can also track changes in both ETH and ERC20 token balances for each mined block or time interval depending on the callInterval configured.

Tracking ETH balance in an address:

const address = "0x0001020304050607080900010203040506070809";

subspace.trackBalance(address).subscribe((balance) => {
  console.log("ETH balance is ", balance)

Tracking ETH balance in a Contract:

Contract.trackBalance().subscribe((balance) => {
  console.log("ETH balance is ", balance)

Tracking an ERC20 balance in a Contract:

const tokenAddress = "0x744d70fdbe2ba4cf95131626614a1763df805b9e"; // SNT Address

const myBalanceObservable$ = Contract.trackBalance(tokenAddress);
Balances are returned as a string containing the value in wei.

Getting block data, gas prices and block time

Subspace also provides a way to always receive the latest block object:

subspace.trackBlock().subscribe(block => {
  console.log("The latest block data: ", block);

If you don’t need all the block information, but just the block number, you can use instead:

subspace.trackBlockNumber().subscribe(blockNumber => {
  console.log("The latest block number: ", blockNumber);

You can also access the average block time. This takes in account only the last 10 blocks:

subspace.trackAverageBlocktime().subscribe(blocktimeMS => {
  console.log("The average block time in milliseconds is: ", blocktimeMS);

Finally, if you want to obtain the most up to date median gas price:

subspace.trackGasPrice().subscribe(gasPrice => {
  console.log("Gas price in wei", gasPrice);


Once you have an Observable, you may receive a stream of data by creating a subscription. Subscriptions are triggered each time an observable emits a new value. These subscription receive a callback that must have a parameter which represents the value received from the observable (a contract state variable, an event, or the balance of an address); and they return an object representing the subscription.

Subscriptions can be disposed by executing the method unsubscribe() liberating the resource held by it:

const myBalanceObservable$ = subspace.trackBalance(address, tokenAddress);
const subscription = myBalanceObservable$.subscribe(value => { 
  console.log("The balance is: ", value); 

// ...


Further read


If Subspace is not needed anymore, you need can invoke close() to dispose and perform the cleanup necessary to remove the internal subscriptions and interval timers created by Subspace during its normal execution, thus avoiding any potential memory leak.


What about subscriptions created with our observables?

close() will dispose any web3 subscription created when using a Subspace tracking method, however any subscription to an observable must still be unsubscribed manually. The npm package subsink can be used to clear all the observables' subscriptions at once.