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WTF Solidity: 11. Constructor & Modifier

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Recently, I have been revisiting Solidity, consolidating the finer details, and writing "WTF Solidity" tutorials for newbies.

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In this section, we will introduce constructor and modifier in Solidity, using an access control contract (Ownable) as an example.


constructor is a special function, which will automatically run once during contract deployment. Each contract can have one constructor. It can be used to initialize parameters of a contract, such as an owner address:

   address owner; // define owner variable

// constructor
constructor() {
owner = msg.sender; // set owner to the deployer address

Note: The syntax of constructor in solidity is not consistent for different versions: Before solidity 0.4.22, constructors did not use the constructor keyword. Instead, the constructor had the same name as the contract name. This old syntax is prone to mistakes: the developer may mistakenly name the contract as Parents, while the constructor as parents. So in 0.4.22 and later version, the new constructor keyword is used. Example of constructor prior to solidity 0.4.22:

pragma solidity = 0.4.21;
contract Parents {
// The function with the same name as the contract name(Parents) is constructor
function Parents () public {


modifier is similar to decorator in object-oriented programming, which is used to declare dedicated properties of functions and reduce code redundancy. modifier is Iron Man Armor for functions: the function with modifier will have some magic properties. The popular use case of modifier is restrict the access of functions.

Iron Man's modifier

Let's define a modifier called onlyOwner, functions with it can only be called by owner:

   // define modifier
modifier onlyOwner {
require(msg.sender == owner); // check whether caller is address of owner
_; // execute the function body

Next, let us define a changeOwner function, which can change the owner of the contract. However, due to the onlyOwner modifier, only original owner is able to call it. This is the most common way of access control in smart contracts.

   function changeOwner(address _newOwner) external onlyOwner{
owner = _newOwner; // only owner address can run this function and change owner

OppenZepplin's implementation of Ownable:

OppenZepplin is an organization that maintains a standardized code base for Solidity, Their standard implementation of Ownable is in this link.

Remix Demo example

Here, we take Owner.sol as an example.

  1. compile and deploy the code in Remix.
  2. click owner button to view current owner.
  3. The transaction succeeds when changeOwner function is called by the owner address user.
  4. The transaction fails when changeOwner function is called by other addresses.


In this lecture, we introduced constructor and modifier in Solidity, and wrote an Ownable contract that controls access of the contract.