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This is a brief description of the LittleFoot language syntax
Littlefoot basically looks like C, but has no pointers, and the only types are:
- int (32-bit signed integer)
- float (32-bit float)
- bool
The top-level syntax of a program is a list of global variables and global functions. Order
of declaration isn't important, you can use functions and variables that are declared later
in the file without needing to pre-declare anything.
Comments are the same format as C/C++/java/etc
So for example:
// global variables. These are initialised to 0 or false when the program is loaded, and
// you can't currently provide any other initial values
int foo, bar;
int getTheNextNumber()
return addTwoNumbers (++foo, 2.0) * 3;
float addTwoNumbers (int x, float y)
return float (x) + y;
The usual control-flow operators are provided, all with C++ style syntax:
(There isn't currently a switch statement though)
Arithmetic ops are the usual suspects, (with the standard operator precedence):
+, -, *, /, %
||, &&, |, &, ~, ^
++, --, +=, -=, *=, /=, %=, |=, &=, ^=
==, !=, <, >, <=, >=, !
<<, >>, <<=, >>=, >>>
Ternary operator (x ? y : z)
Local variables are declared in C++-style syntax:
void foo()
int x = 123;
float y = 12.0, z = 1.0e5;
bool b = y > 20.0;
Casts of primitive types are done with function-style syntax, e.g.
int x = int (123.0);
float f = float (getIntegerValue());
The program communicates with the host computer by using a shared area of memory
called the heap which the host can change. There are some built-in functions
available for the program to use to read from the heap:
int getHeapByte (int byteIndex); // reads a single byte from the heap
int getHeapInt (int byteIndex); // reads 4 bytes from the heap as an integer
int getHeapBits (int startBitIndex, int numBits); // reads a sequence of bits from the heap and returns it as an integer
void setHeapByte (int byteIndex, int newValue); // writes a single byte to the heap
void setHeapInt (int byteIndex, int newValue); // writes 4 bytes to the heap
Depending on the context, there will also be some built-in functions that the
program can use to do what it needs to do. Currently in the standard Pad BLOCK program,
you have the following functions available:
int makeARGB (int alpha, int red, int green, int blue); // combines a set of 8-bit ARGB values into a 32-bit colour
int blendARGB (int baseColour, int overlaidColour); // blends the overlaid ARGB colour onto the base one and returns the new colour
void fillPixel (int rgb, int x, int y); // sets a LED colour on the display
void fillRect (int rgb, int x, int y, int width, int height); // fills a rectangle on the display
A BLOCKs program needs to provide a repaint() function which the block will call
at approximately 25Hz to draw the display. For example, here's a simple program that
draws a moving rectangle:
int rectangleX;
void repaint()
fillRect (0xff000044, 0, 0, 15, 15); // fill the display with dark blue
fillRect (0xffffffff, rectangleX, 5, 4, 4); // draw a white rectangle
rectangleX = (rectangleX + 1) % 15; // animate our position and make it wrap
The host can also send simple event messages to the program, and to receive these you must
provide a function called "handleMessage", e.g.
void handleMessage (int param1, int param2)
// do something with the two integer parameters that the app has sent...