Initialise a contract via the CLI and programmatically with OpenZeppelin SDK

A question on StackExchange was how to initialize a contract programmatically.

The simplest way to initialize your contract is to use the interactive commands when creating the contract using openzeppelin create.

You will be asked ? Do you want to call a function on the instance after creating it?, choose Yes, then the initialize function and you will be asked to provide the value for each parameter in turn.

A simple example contract and deploying is shown below using OpenZeppelin SDK 2.5.2:


pragma solidity ^0.5.0;

import "@openzeppelin/upgrades/contracts/Initializable.sol";

contract Counter is Initializable {
    uint256 public value;

    function initialize(uint256 initialValue) initializer public {
        value = initialValue;

    function increase() public {

openzeppelin create

Deploy contract, select yes to call the initialize function after creating the contract and then provide the parameters.

$ npx openzeppelin create
✓ Compiled contracts with solc 0.5.11 (commit.c082d0b4)
? Pick a contract to instantiate Counter
? Pick a network development
✓ Added contract Counter
✓ Contract Counter deployed
All contracts have been deployed
? Do you want to call a function on the instance after creating it? Yes
? Select which function * initialize(initialValue: uint256)
? initialValue (uint256): 42
✓ Setting everything up to create contract instances
✓ Instance created at 0x25D02115bd67258a406A0F676147E6C3598a91a9

The recommended way to use the OpenZeppelin SDK is via the command line interface, if a programmatic interface is preferred then please see the documentation:

As an example, using the same Counter.sol contract, if using with Truffle, first compile.

$ npx truffle compile

Compiling your contracts...
> Compiling ./contracts/Counter.sol
> Compiling ./contracts/Migrations.sol
> Compiling @openzeppelin/upgrades/contracts/Initializable.sol
> Artifacts written to /mnt/c/Users/andre/Documents/projects/forum/upgrade/build/contracts
> Compiled successfully using:
   - solc: 0.5.8+commit.23d335f2.Emscripten.clang


Create a script to deploy the Counter contract and initialize

The parameters are passed to the initialize function using: { initArgs: [42] }

// Required by @openzeppelin/upgrades when running from truffle
global.artifacts = artifacts;
global.web3 = web3;

// Import dependencies from OpenZeppelin SDK programmatic library
const { Contracts, SimpleProject, ZWeb3 } = require('@openzeppelin/upgrades')

async function main() {

  /* Initialize OpenZeppelin's Web3 provider. */

  /* Retrieve compiled contract artifacts. */
  const Counter = Contracts.getFromLocal('Counter');
  /* Retrieve a couple of addresses to interact with the contracts. */
  const [creatorAddress, initializerAddress] = await ZWeb3.accounts();

  /* Create a SimpleProject to interact with OpenZeppelin programmatically. */
  const myProject = new SimpleProject('MyProject', null, { from: creatorAddress });

  /* Deploy the contract with a proxy that allows upgrades. Initialize it by setting the value to 42. */
  const instance = await myProject.createProxy(Counter, { initArgs: [42] })
  console.log('Counter\'s value:', (await instance.methods.value().call({ from: initializerAddress })).toString());


// For truffle exec
module.exports = function(callback) {
  main().then(() => callback()).catch(err => callback(err))

Deploy Counter contract and initialize

Execute the script

$ npx truffle exec index.js
Using network 'development'.

Counter's value: 42