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Build lv_micropython unix port

Bindings for LVGL

This repo is a submodule of lv_micropython. Please fork lv_micropython for a quick start with LVGL Micropython Bindings.

See also Micropython + LittlevGL blog post. (LittlevGL is the previous name of LVGL.) For advanced features, see Pure Micropython Display Driver blog post. For questions and discussions - please use the forum:


Micropython Binding for LVGL provides an automatically generated Micropython module with classes and functions that allow the user access much of the LVGL library. The module is generated automatically by the script This script reads, preprocesses and parses LVGL header files, and generates a C file lv_mpy.c which defines the Micropython module (API) for accessing LVGL from Micropython. Micopython's build script (Makefile or CMake) should run automatically to generate and compile lv_mpy.c.

  • If you would like to see an example of how a generated lv_mpy.c looks like, have a look at lv_mpy_example.c. Note that its only exported (non static) symbol is mp_module_lvgl which should be registered in Micropython as a module.
  • lv_binding_micropython is usually used as a git submodule of lv_micropython which builds Micropython + LVGL + lvgl-bindings, but can also be used on other forks of Micropython.

It's worth noting that the Mircopython Bindings module (lv_mpy.c) is dependent on LVGL configuration. LVGL is configured by lv_conf.h where different objects and features could be enabled or disabled. LVGL bindings are generated only for the enabled objects and features. Changing lv_conf.h requires re running, therefore it's useful to run it automatically in the build script, as done by lv_micropython.

Memory Management

When LVGL is built as a Micropython library, it is configured to allocate memory using Micropython memory allocation functions and take advantage of Micropython Garbage Collection ("gc"). This means that structs allocated for LVGL use don't need to be deallocated explicitly, gc takes care of that. For this to work correctly, LVGL is configured to use gc and to use Micropython's memory allocation functions, and also register all LVGL "root" global variables to Micropython's gc.

From the user's perspective, structs can be created and will be collected by gc when they are no longer referenced. However, LVGL screen objects (lv.obj with no parent) are automatically assigned to default display, therefore not collected by gc even when no longer explicitly referenced. When you want to free a screen and all its descendants so gc could collect their memory, make sure you call screen.delete() when you no longer need it.

Make sure you keep a reference to your display driver and input driver to prevent them from being collected.


This implementation of Micropython Bindings to LVGL assumes that Micropython and LVGL are running on a single thread and on the same thread (or alternatively, running without multithreading at all). No synchronization means (locks, mutexes) are taken. However, asynchronous calls to LVGL still take place periodically for screen refresh and other LVGL tasks such as animation.

This is achieved by using the internal Micropython scheduler (that must be enabled), by calling mp_sched_schedule. mp_sched_schedule is called when screen needs to be refreshed. LVGL expects the function lv_task_handler to be called periodically (see lvgl/ This is usually handled in the display device driver. Here is an example of calling lv_task_handler with mp_sched_schedule for refreshing LVGL. mp_lv_task_handler is scheduled to run on the same thread Micropython is running, and it calls both lv_task_handler for LVGL task handling and monitor_sdl_refr_core for refreshing the display and handling mouse events.

With REPL (interactive console), when waiting for the user input, asynchronous events can also happen. In this example we just call mp_handle_pending periodically when waiting for a keypress. mp_handle_pending takes care of dispatching asynchronous events registered with mp_sched_schedule.

Structs Classes and globals

The LVGL binding script parses LVGL headers and provides API to access LVGL classes (such as btn) and structs (such as color_t). All structs and classes are available under lvgl micropython module.

lvgl Class contains:

  • functions (such as set_x)
  • enums related to that class (such as STATE of a btn)

lvgl struct contains only attributes that can be read or written. For example:

c = lvgl.color_t() = 0xff

structs can also be initialized from dict. For example, the example above can be written like this:

c = lvgl.color_t({'ch': {'red' : 0xff}})

All lvgl globals (functions, enums, types) are available under lvgl module. For example, lvgl.SYMBOL is an "enum" of symbol strings, lvgl.anim_create will create animation etc.


In C a callback is a function pointer. In Micropython we would also need to register a Micropython callable object for each callback. Therefore in the Micropython binding we need to register both a function pointer and a Micropython object for every callback.

Therefore we defined a callback convention that expects lvgl headers to be defined in a certain way. Callbacks that are declared according to the convention would allow the binding to register a Micropython object next to the function pointer when registering a callback, and access that object when the callback is called. The Micropython callable object is automatically saved in a user_data variable which is provided when registering or calling the callback.

The callback convention assumes the following:

  • There's a struct that contains a field called void * user_data.
  • A pointer to that struct is provided as the first argument of a callback registration function.
  • A pointer to that struct is provided as the first argument of the callback itself.

Another option is that the callback function pointer is just a field of a struct, in that case we expect the same struct to contain user_data field as well.

Another option is:

  • A parameter called void * user_data is provided to the registration function as the last argument.
  • The callback itself receives void * as the last argument

In this case, the user should provide either None or a dict as the user_data argument of the registration function. The callback will receive a Blob which can be casted to the dict in the last argument. (See async_call example below)

As long as the convention above is followed, the lvgl Micropython binding script would automatically set and use user_data when callbacks are set and used.

From the user perspective, any python callable object (such as python regular function, class function, lambda etc.) can be user as an lvgl callbacks. For example:

lvgl.anim_set_custom_exec_cb(anim, lambda anim, val, obj=obj: obj.set_y(val))

In this example an exec callback is registered for an animation anim, which would animate the y coordinate of obj. An lvgl API function can also be used as a callback directly, so the example above could also be written like this:

lv.anim_set_exec_cb(anim, obj, obj.set_y)

lvgl callbacks that do not follow the Callback Convention cannot be used with micropython callable objects. A discussion related to adjusting lvgl callbacks to the convention: lvgl/lvgl#1036

The user_data field must not be used directly by the user, since it is used internally to hold pointers to Micropython objects.

Display and Input Drivers

LVGL can be configured to use different displays and different input devices. More information is available on LVGL documentation. Registering a driver is essentially calling a registration function (for example disp_drv_register) and passing a function pointer as a parameter (actually a struct that contains function pointers). The function pointer is used to access the actual display / input device.

When implementing a display or input LVGL driver with Micropython, there are 3 option:

  • Implement a Pure Python driver. It the easiest way to implement a driver, but may perform poorly
  • Implement a Pure C driver.
  • Implemnent a Hybrid driver where the critical parts (such as the flush function) are in C, and the non-critical part (such as initializing the display) are implemented in Python.

An example of Pure/Hybrid driver is the

The driver registration should eventually be performed in the Micropython script, either in the driver code itself in case of the pure/hybrid driver or in user code in case of C driver (for example, in the case of the SDL driver). Registering the driver on Python and not in C is important to make it easy for the user to select and replace drivers without building the project and changing C files.

When creating a display or input LVGL driver, make sure you let the user configure all parameters on runtime, such as SPI pins, frequency, etc. Eventually the user would want to build the firmware once and use the same driver in different configuration without re-building the C project. This is different from standard LVGL C drivers where you usually use macros to configure parameters and require the user to re-build when any configurations changes.


# Initialize ILI9341 display

from ili9XXX import ili9341
self.disp = ili9341(dc=32, cs=33, power=-1, backlight=-1)

# Register xpt2046 touch driver

from xpt2046 import xpt2046
self.touch = xpt2046()


# init

import lvgl as lv

from lv_utils import event_loop

WIDTH = 480
HEIGHT = 320

event_loop = event_loop()
disp_drv = lv.sdl_window_create(WIDTH, HEIGHT)
mouse = lv.sdl_mouse_create()
keyboard = lv.sdl_keyboard_create()

In this example we use LVGL built in LVGL driver.

Currently supported drivers for Micropyton are

  • LVGL built-in drivers such use the unix/Linux SDL (display, mouse, keyboard) and Frame Buffer (/dev/fb0)
  • ILI9341 driver for ESP32
  • XPT2046 driver for ESP32
  • FT6X36 (capacitive touch IC) for ESP32
  • Raw Resistive Touch for ESP32 (ADC connected to screen directly, no touch IC)

Driver code is under /driver directory.

Drivers can also be implemented in pure Micropython, by providing callbacks (disp_drv.flush_cb, indev_drv.read_cb etc.) Currently the supported ILI9341, FT6X36 and XPT2046 are pure micropython drivers.

Where are the drivers?

LVGL C drivers and Micropython drivers (either C or Python) are separate and independent from each other. The main reason is configuration:

  • The C driver is usually configured with C macros (which pins it uses, frequency, etc.) Any configuration change requires rebuilding the firmware but that's understandable since any change in the application requires rebuilding the firmware anyway.
  • In Micropython the driver is built once with Micropython firmware (if it's a C driver) or not built at all (if it's pure Python driver). On runtime the user initializes the driver and configures it. If the user switches SPI pins or some other configuration, there is no need to rebuild the firmware, just change the Python script and initialize the driver differently on runtime.

So the location for Micropython drivers is and is unrelated to

The Event Loop

LVGL requires an Event Loop to re-draw the screen, handle user input etc. The default Event Loop is implement in which uses Micropython Timer to schedule calls to LVGL. It also supports running the Event Loop in uasyncio if needed.
Some drivers start the event loop automatically if it doesn't already run. To configure the event loop for these drivers, just initialize the event loop before registering the driver.
LVGL native drivers, such as the SDL driver, do not start the event loop. You must start the event loop explicitly otherwise screen will not refresh.

The event loop can be started like this:

from lv_utils import event_loop
event_loop = event_loop()

and you can configure it by providing parameters, see for more details.

Adding Micropython Bindings to a project

An example project of "Micropython + lvgl + Bindings" is lv_mpy. Here is a procedure for adding lvgl to an existing Micropython project. (The examples in this list are taken from lv_mpy):

  • Add lv_bindings as a sub-module under lib.
  • Add lv_conf.h in lib
  • Edit the Makefile to run and build its product automatically. Here is an example.
  • Register lvgl module and display/input drivers in Micropython as a builtin module. An example.
  • Add lvgl roots to gc roots. An example.
  • Configure lvgl to use Garbage Collection by setting several LV_MEM_CUSTOM_* and LV_GC_* macros example lv_conf.h was moved to lv_binding_micropython git module.
  • Make sure you configure partitions correctly in partitions.csv and leave enough room for the LVGL module.
  • Something I forgot? Please let me know. syntax

usage: [-h] [-I <Include Path>] [-D <Macro Name>]
                  [-E <Preprocessed File>] [-M <Module name string>]
                  [-MP <Prefix string>] [-MD <MetaData File Name>]
                  input [input ...]

positional arguments:

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -I <Include Path>, --include <Include Path>
                        Preprocessor include path
  -D <Macro Name>, --define <Macro Name>
                        Define preprocessor macro
  -E <Preprocessed File>, --external-preprocessing <Preprocessed File>
                        Prevent preprocessing. Assume input file is already
  -M <Module name string>, --module_name <Module name string>
                        Module name
  -MP <Prefix string>, --module_prefix <Prefix string>
                        Module prefix that starts every function name
  -MD <MetaData File Name>, --metadata <MetaData File Name>
                        Optional file to emit metadata (introspection)


python -MD lv_mpy_example.json -M lvgl -MP lv -I../../berkeley-db-1.xx/PORT/include -I../../lv_binding_micropython -I. -I../.. -Ibuild -I../../mp-readline -I ../../lv_binding_micropython/pycparser/utils/fake_libc_include ../../lv_binding_micropython/lvgl/lvgl.h

Binding other C libraries

The lvgl binding script can be used to bind other C libraries to Micropython. I used it with lodepng and with parts of ESP-IDF. For more details please read this blog post.

Micropython Bindings Usage

A simple example: More examples can be found under /examples folder.

Importing and Initializing LVGL

import lvgl as lv

Registering Display and Input drivers

from lv_utils import event_loop

WIDTH = 480
HEIGHT = 320

event_loop = event_loop()
disp_drv = lv.sdl_window_create(WIDTH, HEIGHT)
mouse = lv.sdl_mouse_create()
keyboard = lv.sdl_keyboard_create()

In this example, LVGL native SDL display and input drivers are registered on a unix port of Micropython.

Here is an alternative example for ESP32 ILI9341 + XPT2046 drivers:

import lvgl as lv

# Import ILI9341 driver and initialized it

from ili9XXX import ili9341
disp = ili9341()

# Import XPT2046 driver and initialize it

from xpt2046 import xpt2046
touch = xpt2046()

By default, both ILI9341 and XPT2046 are initialized on the same SPI bus with the following parameters:

  • ILI9341: miso=5, mosi=18, clk=19, cs=13, dc=12, rst=4, power=14, backlight=15, spihost=esp.HSPI_HOST, mhz=40, factor=4, hybrid=True
  • XPT2046: cs=25, spihost=esp.HSPI_HOST, mhz=5, max_cmds=16, cal_x0 = 3783, cal_y0 = 3948, cal_x1 = 242, cal_y1 = 423, transpose = True, samples = 3

You can change any of these parameters on ili9341/xpt2046 constructor. You can also initialize them on different SPI buses if you want, by providing miso/mosi/clk parameters. Set them to -1 to use existing (initialized) spihost bus.

Here's another example, this time importing and initialising display and touch drivers for the M5Stack Core2 device, which uses an FT6336 chip on the I2C bus to read from its capacitive touch screen and uses an ili9342 display controller, which has some inverted signals compared to the ili9341:

from ili9XXX import ili9341
disp = ili9341(mosi=23, miso=38, clk=18, dc=15, cs=5, invert=True, rot=0x10)

from ft6x36 import ft6x36
touch = ft6x36(sda=21, scl=22, width=320, height=280)

Driver init parameters

Many different display modules can be supported by providing the driver's init method with width, height, start_x, start_y, colormode, invert and rot parameters.

Display size

The width and height parameters should be set to the width and height of the display in the orientation the display will be used. Displays may have an internal framebuffer that is larger than the visible display. The start_x and start_y parameters are used to indicate where visible pixels begin relative to the start of the internal framebuffer.

Color handling

The colormode and invert parameters control how the display processes color.

Display orientation

The rot parameter is used to set the MADCTL register of the display. The MADCTL register controls the order that pixels are written to the framebuffer. This sets the Orientation or Rotation of the display.

See the file in the examples/madctl directory for more information on the MADCTL register and how to determine the colormode and rot parameters for a display.

st7789 driver class

By default, the st7789 driver is initialized with the following parameters that are compatible with the TTGO T-Display:

        miso=-1, mosi=19, clk=18, cs=5, dc=16, rst=23, power=-1, backlight=4,
        backlight_on=1, power_on=0, spihost=esp.HSPI_HOST, mhz=40, factor=4, hybrid=True,
        width=320, height=240, start_x=0, start_y=0, colormode=COLOR_MODE_BGR, rot=PORTRAIT,
        invert=True, double_buffer=True, half_duplex=True, asynchronous=False, initialize=True)

Parameter Description
miso Pin for SPI Data from display, -1 if not used as many st7789 displays do not have this pin
mosi Pin for SPI Data to display (REQUIRED)
clk Pin for SPI Clock (REQUIRED)
cs Pin for display CS
dc Pin for display DC (REQUIRED)
rst Pin for display RESET
power Pin for display Power ON, -1 if not used
power_on Pin value for Power ON
backlight Pin for display backlight control
backlight_on Pin value for backlight on
spihost ESP SPI Port
mhz SPI baud rate in mhz
factor Decrease frame buffer by factor
hybrid Boolean, True to use C refresh routine, False for pure Python driver
width Display width
height Display height
colormode Display colormode
rot Display orientation, PORTRAIT, LANDSCAPE, INVERSE_PORTRAIT, INVERSE_LANDSCAPE or Raw MADCTL value that will be OR'ed with colormode
invert Display invert colors setting
double_buffer Boolean, True to use double buffering, False to use single buffer (saves memory)
half_duplex Boolean, True to use half duplex SPI communications
asynchronous Boolean, True to use asynchronous routines
initialize Boolean, True to initialize display

TTGO T-Display st7789 Configuration example

import lvgl as lv
from ili9XXX import st7789

disp = st7789(width=135, height=240, rot=st7789.LANDSCAPE)

TTGO TWatch-2020 st7789 Configuration example

import lvgl as lv
from ili9XXX import st7789

import axp202c

# init power manager, set backlight
axp = axp202c.PMU()

# init display
disp = st7789(
    mosi=19, clk=18, cs=5, dc=27, rst=-1, backlight=12, power=-1,
    width=240, height=240, rot=st7789.INVERSE_PORTRAIT, factor=4)

st7735 driver class

By default, the st7735 driver is initialized with the following parameters. The parameter descriptions are the same as the st7789.

        miso=-1, mosi=19, clk=18, cs=13, dc=12, rst=4, power=-1, backlight=15, backlight_on=1, power_on=0,
        spihost=esp.HSPI_HOST, mhz=40, factor=4, hybrid=True, width=128, height=160, start_x=0, start_y=0,
        colormode=COLOR_MODE_RGB, rot=PORTRAIT, invert=False, double_buffer=True, half_duplex=True,
        asynchronous=False, initialize=True):

ST7735 128x128 Configuration Example

from ili9XXX import st7735, MADCTL_MX, MADCTL_MY

disp = st7735(
    mhz=3, mosi=18, clk=19, cs=13, dc=12, rst=4, power=-1, backlight=15, backlight_on=1,
    width=128, height=128, start_x=2, start_y=1, rot=PORTRAIT)

ST7735 128x160 Configuration Example

from ili9XXX import st7735, COLOR_MODE_RGB, MADCTL_MX, MADCTL_MY

disp = st7735(
    mhz=3, mosi=18, clk=19, cs=13, dc=12, rst=4, backlight=15, backlight_on=1,
    width=128, height=160, rot=PORTRAIT)

Creating a screen with a button and a label

scr = lv.obj()
btn = lv.btn(scr)
btn.align(lv.scr_act(), lv.ALIGN.CENTER, 0, 0)
label = lv.label(btn)

# Load the screen


Creating a screen with a button and a label

scr = lv.obj()
btn = lv.btn(scr)
btn.align(lv.scr_act(), lv.ALIGN.CENTER, 0, 0)
label = lv.label(btn)

# Load the screen


Creating an instance of a struct

symbolstyle = lv.style_t(lv.style_plain)

symbolstyle would be an instance of lv_style_t initialized to the same value of lv_style_plain

Setting a field in a struct

symbolstyle.text.color = lv.color_hex(0xffffff)

symbolstyle.text.color would be initialized to the color struct returned by lv_color_hex

Setting a nested struct using dict

symbolstyle.text.color = {"red":0xff, "green":0xff, "blue":0xff}

Creating an instance of an object

self.tabview = lv.tabview(lv.scr_act())

The first argument to an object constructor is the parent object, the second is which element to copy this element from. Both arguments are optional.

Calling an object method

self.symbol.align(self, lv.ALIGN.CENTER,0,0)

In this example lv.ALIGN is an enum and lv.ALIGN.CENTER is an enum member (an integer value).

Using callbacks

for btn, name in [(self.btn1, 'Play'), (self.btn2, 'Pause')]:
    btn.set_event_cb(lambda obj=None, event=-1, name=name: self.label.set_text('%s %s' % (name, get_member_name(lv.EVENT, event))))

Using callback with user_data argument:

def cb(user_data):

lv.async_call(cb, {'value':42})

Listing available functions/members/constants etc.