DAML Studio

DAML Studio is an integrated development environment (IDE) for DAML. It is an extension on top of Visual Studio Code (VS Code), a cross-platform, open-source editor providing a rich code editing experience.


To install DAML Studio, install the SDK. DAML Studio isn’t currently available in the Visual Studio Marketplace.

Creating your first DAML file

  1. Start DAML Studio by running daml studio in the current project.

    This command starts Visual Studio Code and (if needs be) installs the DAML Studio extension, or upgrades it to the latest version.

  2. Make sure the DAML Studio extension is installed:

    1. Click on the Extensions icon at the bottom of the VS Code sidebar.
    2. Click on the DAML Studio extension that should be listed on the pane.
  3. Open a new file (⌘N) and save it (⌘S) as Test.daml.

  4. Copy the following code into your file:

-- Copyright (c) 2020 Digital Asset (Switzerland) GmbH and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
-- SPDX-License-Identifier: Apache-2.0

module Test where

double : Int -> Int
double x = 2 * x

Your screen should now look like the image below.

  1. Introduce a parse error by deleting the = sign and then clicking the Ⓧ symbol on the lower-left corner. Your screen should now look like the image below.

  2. Remove the parse error by restoring the = sign.

We recommend reviewing the Visual Studio Code documentation to learn more about how to use it. To learn more about DAML, see Language reference docs.

Supported features

Visual Studio Code provides many helpful features for editing DAML files and we recommend reviewing Visual Studio Code Basics and Visual Studio Code Keyboard Shortcuts for OS X. The DAML Studio extension for Visual Studio Code provides the following DAML-specific features:

Symbols and problem reporting

Use the commands listed below to navigate between symbols, rename them, and inspect any problems detected in your DAML files. Symbols are identifiers such as template names, lambda arguments, variables, and so on.

Command Shortcut (OS X)
Go to Definition F12
Peek Definition ⌥F12
Rename Symbol F2
Go to Symbol in File ⇧⌘O
Go to Symbol in Workspace ⌘T
Find all References ⇧F12
Problems Panel ⇧⌘M


You can also start a command by typing its name into the command palette (press ⇧⌘P or F1). The command palette is also handy for looking up keyboard shortcuts.


Hover tooltips

You can hover over most symbols in the code to display additional information such as its type.

Scenario results

Top-level declarations of type Scenario are decorated with a Scenario results code lens. You can click on the Scenario results code lens to inspect the transaction graph or an error resulting from running that scenario.

The scenario results present a simplified view of a ledger, in the form of a transaction graph, after execution of the scenario. The transaction graph consists of transactions, each of which contain one or more updates to the ledger, that is creates and exercises. The transaction graph also records fetches of contracts.

For example a scenario for the Iou module looks as follows:


Scenario results (click to zoom)

Each transaction is the result of executing a step in the scenario. In the image below, the transaction #0 is the result of executing the first line of the scenario (line 20), where the Iou is created by the bank. The following information can be gathered from the transaction:

  • The result of the first scenario transaction #0 was the creation of the Iou contract with the arguments bank, 10, and "USD".
  • The created contract is referenced in transaction #1, step 0.
  • The created contract was consumed in transaction #1, step 0.
  • A new contract was created in transaction #1, step 1, and has been divulged to parties ‘Alice’, ‘Bob’, and ‘Bank’.
  • At the end of the scenario only the contract created in #1:1 remains.
  • The return value from running the scenario is the contract identifier #1:1.
  • And finally, the contract identifiers assigned in scenario execution correspond to the scenario step that created them (e.g. #1).

You can navigate to the corresponding source code by clicking on the location shown in parenthesis (e.g. Iou:20:12, which means the Iou module, line 20 and column 1). You can also navigate between transactions by clicking on the transaction and contract ids (e.g. #1:0).

DAML snippets

You can automatically complete a number of “snippets” when editing a DAML source file. By default, hitting ^-Space after typing a DAML keyword displays available snippets that you can insert.

To define your own workflow around DAML snippets, adjust your user settings in Visual Studio Code to include the following options:

  "editor.tabCompletion": true,
  "editor.quickSuggestions": false

With those changes in place, you can simply hit Tab after a keyword to insert the code pattern.


You can develop your own snippets by following the instructions in Creating your own Snippets to create an appropriate daml.json snippet file.

Common scenario errors

During DAML execution, errors can occur due to exceptions (e.g. use of “abort”, or division by zero), or due to authorization failures. You can expect to run into the following errors when writing DAML.

When a runtime error occurs in a scenario execution, the scenario result view shows the error together with the following additional information, if available:

Last source location
A link to the last source code location encountered before the error occurred.
The variables that are in scope when the error occurred. Note that contract identifiers are links that lead you to the transaction in which the contract was created.
Ledger time
The ledger time at which the error occurred.
Call stack
Call stack shows the function calls leading to the failing function. Updates and scenarios that do not take parameters are not included in the call stack.
Partial transaction
The transaction that is being constructed, but not yet committed to the ledger.
Committed transaction
Transactions that were successfully committed to the ledger prior to the error.

Abort, assert, and debug

The abort, assert and debug inbuilt functions can be used in updates and scenarios. All three can be used to output messages, but abort and assert can additionally halt the execution:

abortTest = scenario do
  debug "hello, world!"
  abort "stop"
Scenario execution failed:
  Aborted:  stop

Ledger time: 1970-01-01T00:00:00Z

Partial transaction:

  "hello, world!"

Missing authorization on create

If a contract is being created without approval from all authorizing parties the commit will fail. For example:

template Example
    party1 : Party; party2 : Party
    signatory party1
    signatory party2

example = scenario do
  alice <- getParty "Alice"
  bob <- getParty "Bob"
  submit alice (create Example with party1=alice; party2=bob)

Execution of the example scenario fails due to ‘Bob’ being a signatory in the contract, but not authorizing the create:

Scenario execution failed:
  #0: create of CreateAuthFailure:Example at unknown source
      failed due to a missing authorization from 'Bob'

Ledger time: 1970-01-01T00:00:00Z

Partial transaction:
     └─> create CreateAuthFailure:Example
           party1 = 'Alice'; party2 = 'Bob'

To create the “Example” contract one would need to bring both parties to authorize the creation via a choice, for example ‘Alice’ could create a contract giving ‘Bob’ the choice to create the ‘Example’ contract.

Missing authorization on exercise

Similarly to creates, exercises can also fail due to missing authorizations when a party that is not a controller of a choice exercises it.

template Example
    owner : Party
    friend : Party
    signatory owner

    controller owner can
      Consume : ()
        do return ()

    controller friend can
      Hello : ()
        do return ()

example = scenario do
  alice <- getParty "Alice"
  bob <- getParty "Bob"
  cid <- submit alice (create Example with owner=alice; friend=bob)
  submit bob do exercise cid Consume

The execution of the example scenario fails when ‘Bob’ tries to exercise the choice ‘Consume’ of which he is not a controller

Scenario execution failed:
  #1: exercise of Consume in ExerciseAuthFailure:Example at unknown source
      failed due to a missing authorization from 'Alice'

Ledger time: 1970-01-01T00:00:00Z

Partial transaction:
     └─> fetch #0:0 (ExerciseAuthFailure:Example)

     └─> 'Alice' exercises Consume on #0:0 (ExerciseAuthFailure:Example)

Committed transactions:
  TX #0 1970-01-01T00:00:00Z (unknown source)
  │   known to (since): 'Alice' (#0), 'Bob' (#0)
  └─> create ExerciseAuthFailure:Example
        owner = 'Alice'; friend = 'Bob'

From the error we can see that the parties authorizing the exercise (‘Bob’) is not a subset of the required controlling parties.

Contract not visible

Contract not being visible is another common error that can occur when a contract that is being fetched or exercised has not been disclosed to the committing party. For example:

template Example
  with owner: Party
    signatory owner

    controller owner can
      Consume : ()
        do return ()

example = scenario do
  alice <- getParty "Alice"
  bob <- getParty "Bob"
  cid <- submit alice (create Example with owner=alice)
  submit bob do exercise cid Consume

In the above scenario the ‘Example’ contract is created by ‘Alice’ and makes no mention of the party ‘Bob’ and hence does not cause the contract to be disclosed to ‘Bob’. When ‘Bob’ tries to exercise the contract the following error would occur:

Scenario execution failed:
  Attempt to fetch or exercise a contract not visible to the committer.
  Contract:  #0:0 (NotVisibleFailure:Example)
  Committer: 'Bob'
  Disclosed to: 'Alice'

Ledger time: 1970-01-01T00:00:00Z

Partial transaction:

Committed transactions:
  TX #0 1970-01-01T00:00:00Z (unknown source)
  │   known to (since): 'Alice' (#0)
  └─> create NotVisibleFailure:Example
        owner = 'Alice'

To fix this issue the party ‘Bob’ should be made a controlling party in one of the choices.

Working with multiple packages

Often a DAML project consists of multiple packages, e.g., one containing your templates and one containing a DAML trigger so that you can keep the templates stable while modifying the trigger. It is possible to work on multiple packages in a single session of DAML studio but you have to keep some things in mind. You can see the directory structure of a simple multi-package project consisting of two packages pkga and pkgb below:

├── daml.yaml
├── pkga
│   ├── daml
│   │   └── A.daml
│   └── daml.yaml
└── pkgb
    ├── daml
    │   └── B.daml
    └── daml.yaml

pkga and pkgb are regular DAML projects with a daml.yaml and a DAML module. In addition to the daml.yaml files for the respective packages, you also need to add a daml.yaml to the root of your project. This file only needs to specify the SDK version. Replace X.Y.Z by the SDK version you specified in the daml.yaml files of the individual packages. Note that this feature is only available in SDK version 0.13.52 and newer.

sdk-version: X.Y.Z

You can then open DAML Studio once in the root of your project and work on files in both packages. Note that if pkgb refers to pkga.dar in its dependencies field, changes will not be picked up automatically. This is always the case even if you open DAML Studio in pkgb. However, for multi-package projects there is an additional caveat: You have to both rebuild pkga.dar using daml build and then build pkgb using daml build before restarting DAML Studio.