Skip to content
master
Go to file
Code

README.md

A lightweight and minimal MicroPython GUI library for display drivers based on the FrameBuffer class. Various display technologies are supported, including small color and monochrome OLED's and color TFT's. The GUI is cross-platform.

These images, most from OLED displays, are poor. OLEDs are visually impressive displays with bright colors, wide viewing angle and extreme contrast. For some reason I find them hard to photograph well.
Image The aclock.py demo.

Image Label objects in two fonts.

Image One of the demos running on an Adafruit 1.27 inch OLED. The colors change dynamically with low values showing green, intermediate yellow and high red.

Image The alevel.py demo. The Pyboard was mounted vertically: the length and angle of the vector arrow varies as the Pyboard is moved.

There is an optional graph plotting module for basic Cartesian and polar plots, also realtime plotting including time series.

Image A sample image from the plot module.

The following images are from a different display but illustrate the widgets.
Image The Scale widget. Capable of precision display of floats.

Image The Textbox widget for scrolling text.

Notes on Adafruit and other OLED displays including wiring details, pin names and hardware issues.

Contents

  1. Introduction
    1.1 Update
    1.2 Description
    1.3 Quick start
  2. Files and Dependencies
    2.1 Files
         2.1.1 Core files
         2.1.2 Demo Scripts
         2.1.3 Fonts
         2.1.4 Color setup examples
    2.2 Dependencies
         2.2.1 Monochrome use
         2.2.2 Color use
  3. The nanogui module
    3.1 Application Initialisation Initial setup and refresh method.
         3.1.1 Setup file internals
    3.2 Label class Dynamic text at any screen location.
    3.3 Meter class A vertical panel meter.
    3.4 LED class Virtual LED of any color.
    3.5 Dial and Pointer classes Clock or compass style display of one or more pointers.
    3.6 Scale class Linear display with wide dynamic range.
    3.7 Class Textbox Scrolling text display.
  4. Device drivers Device driver compatibility requirements (these are minimal).
  5. ESP8266 This can work. Contains information on minimising the RAM and flash footprints of the GUI.

1. Introduction

This library provides a limited set of GUI objects (widgets) for displays whose display driver is subclassed from the FrameBuffer class. Such drivers can be tiny as the graphics primitives are supplied by the FrameBuffer class.

The GUI is display-only and lacks provision for user input. Displays with touch overlays are physically large, with correspondingly high pixel counts. Such displays would require large frame buffers. These would consume RAM and be slow to copy to the display. A FrameBuffer based driver is ill-suited to large displays. Drivers should use graphics primitives hosted on the display controller chip.

The GUI is cross-platform. By default it is configured for a Pyboard (1.x or D). This doc explains how to configure for other platforms by adapting a single small file. The GUI supports multiple displays attached to a single target, but bear in mind the RAM requirements for multiple frame buffers. It is tested on the ESP32 reference board without SPIRAM. Running on ESP8266 is possible but frozen bytecode should be used owing to its restricted RAM.

Authors of applications requiring touch should consider my touch GUI's for the following displays. These have internal buffers:

1.1 Update

29 Nov 2020 Add ST7735R TFT drivers.

17 Nov 2020 Add Textbox widget. Scale constructor arg border replaced by bdcolor as per other widgets.

5 Nov 2020
This library has been refactored as a Python package. The aim is to reduce RAM usage: widgets are imported on demand rather than unconditionally. This enabled the addition of new widgets with zero impact on existsing applications. Another aim was to simplify installation with dependencies such as writer included in the tree. Finally hardware configuration is contained in a single file: details only need to be edited in one place to run all demo scripts.

Existing users should re-install from scratch. In existing applications, import statements will need to be adapted as per the demos. The GUI API is otherwise unchanged.

1.2 Description

Compatible and tested display drivers include:

Widgets are intended for the display of data from physical devices such as sensors. They are drawn using graphics primitives rather than icons to minimise RAM usage. It also enables them to be effciently rendered at arbitrary scale on by hosts with restricted processing power. The approach also enables widgets to maximise information in ways that are difficult with icons, in particular using dynamic color changes in conjunction with moving elements.

Owing to RAM requirements and limitations on communication speed, FrameBuffer based display drivers are intended for physically small displays with limited numbers of pixels. The widgets are designed for displays as small as 0.96 inches: this involves some compromises.

Copying the contents of the frame buffer to the display is relatively slow. The time depends on the size of the frame buffer and the interface speed, but the latency may be too high for applications such as games. For example the time to update a 128x128x8 color ssd1351 display on a Pyboard 1.0 is 41ms.

Drivers based on FrameBuffer must allocate contiguous RAM for the buffer. To avoid 'out of memory' errors it is best to instantiate the display before importing other modules. The demos illustrate this.

1.3 Quick start

A GUI description can seem daunting because of the number of class config options. Defaults can usually be accepted and meaningful applications can be minimal. Installation can seem difficult. To counter this, this session using rshell installed and ran a demo showing analog and digital clocks.

Clone the repo to your PC, wire up a Pyboard (1.x or D) to an Adafruit 1.27" OLED as per color_setup.py, move to the root directory of the repo and run rshell.

> cp -r drivers /sd
> cp -r gui /sd
> cp color_setup.py /sd
> repl ~ import gui.demos.aclock

Note also that the gui.demos.aclock.py demo comprises 38 lines of actual code. This stuff is easier than you might think.

2. Files and Dependencies

Firmware should be V1.13 or later.

Installation comprises copying the gui and drivers directories, with their contents, plus a hardware configuration file, to the target. The directory structure on the target must match that in the repo.

In the interests of conserving RAM, supplied drivers support only the functionality required by the GUI. More fully featured drivers may better suit other applications. See section 4.

Filesystem space may be conserved by copying only the required driver from drivers, but the directory path to that file must be retained. For example, for SSD1351 displays only the following are actually required:
drivers/ssd1351/ssd1351.py, drivers/ssd1351/__init__.py

2.1 Files

2.1.1 Core files

The root directory contains two example setup files, for monochrome and color displays respectively. Other examples may be found in the color_setup directory. These are templates for adaptation: only one file is copied to the target. On the target a color files should be named color_setup.py. The monochrome ssd1306_setup.py retains its own name.

The chosen template will need to be edited to match the display in use, the MicroPython target and the electrical connections between display and target. Electrical connections are detailed in the driver source.

  • color_setup.py Setup for color displays. As written supports an SSD1351 display connected to a Pyboard.
  • ssd1306_setup.py Setup file for monochrome displays using the official driver. Supports hard or soft SPI or I2C connections, as does the test script mono_test.py. On non Pyboard targets this will require adaptation to match the hardware connections.

The gui/core directory contains the GUI core and its principal dependencies:

  • nanogui.py The library.
  • writer.py Module for rendering Python fonts.
  • fplot.py The graph plotting module.
  • colors.py Color constants.
  • framebuf_utils.mpy Accelerator for the CWriter class. This optional file is compiled for STM hardware and will be ignored on other ports (with a harmless warning message) unless recompiled. Instructions and code for compiling for other architectures may be found here.

2.1.2 Demo scripts

The gui/demos directory contains test/demo scripts.

  • mono_test.py Tests/demos using the official SSD1306 driver for a monochrome 128*64 OLED display.
  • color96.py Tests/demos for the Adafruit 0.96 inch color OLED.

Demos for larger displays.

  • color15.py Demonstrates a variety of widgets. Cross platform.
  • aclock.py Analog clock demo. Cross platform.
  • alevel.py Spirit level using Pyboard accelerometer.
  • fpt.py Plot demo. Cross platform.
  • scale.py A demo of the new Scale widget. Cross platform.
  • asnano_sync.py Two Pyboard specific demos using the GUI with uasyncio.
  • asnano.py Could readily be adapted for other targets.
  • tbox.py Demo Textbox class. Cross-platform.

Usage with uasyncio is discussed here. In summary the blocking which occurs during transfer of the framebuffer to the display may affect more demanding uasyncio applications. More generally the GUI works well with it.

Demo scripts for Sharp displays are in drivers/sharp. Check source code for wiring details. See the README. They may be run as follows:

import drivers.sharp.sharptest
# or
import drivers.sharp.clocktest

2.1.3 Fonts

Python font files are in the gui/fonts directory. The easiest way to conserve RAM is to freeze them which is highly recommended. In doing so the directory structure must be maintained. Python fonts may be created using font_to_py.py. The -x option for horizontal mapping must be specified. If fixed pitch rendering is required -f is also required. Supplied examples are:

  • arial10.py Variable pitch Arial in various sizes.
  • arial35.py
  • arial_50.py
  • courier20.py Fixed pitch font.
  • font6.py
  • font10.py
  • freesans20.py

2.1.4 Color setup examples

The color_setup directory contains example setup files for various hardware. These are templates which may be adapted to suit the hardware in use, then copied to the hardware root as color_setup.py.

  • esp32_setup.py As written supports an ESP32 connected to a 128x128 SSD1351 display. After editing to match the display and wiring, it should be copied to the target as /pyboard/color_setup.py.
  • esp8266_setup.py Similar for ESP8266. Usage is somewhat experimental.
  • st7735r_setup.py Assumes a Pyboard with an Adafruit 1.8 inch TFT display.
  • st7735r144_setup.py For a Pyboard with an Adafruit 1.44 inch TFT display.

2.2 Dependencies

The source tree now includes all dependencies. These are listed to enable users to check for newer versions.

Optional feature:

2.2.1 Monochrome use

A copy of the official driver for OLED displays using the SSD1306 chip is provided. The official file is here:

Displays based on the Nokia 5110 (PCD8544 chip) require this driver. It is not in this repo but may be found here:

The Sharp display is supported in drivers/sharp. See README and demos.

2.2.2 Color use

Drivers for Adafruit 0.96", 1.27" and 1.5" OLEDS are included in the source tree. Each driver has its own small README.md. The default driver for the larger OLEDs is Pyboard specific, but there are slightly slower cross platform alternatives in the directory - see the code below for usage on ESP32.

If using the Adafruit 1.5 or 1.27 inch color OLED displays it is suggested that after installing the GUI the following script is pasted at the REPL. This will verify the hardware. Please change height to 128 if using the 1.5 inch display.

from machine import Pin, SPI
from drivers.ssd1351.ssd1351 import SSD1351 as SSD  # Pyboard-specific driver
height = 96   # Ensure height is correct (96/128)
pdc = Pin('Y1', Pin.OUT_PP, value=0)
pcs = Pin('Y2', Pin.OUT_PP, value=1)
prst = Pin('Y3', Pin.OUT_PP, value=1)
spi = SPI(2)
ssd = SSD(spi, pcs, pdc, prst, height=height)
ssd.fill(0)
ssd.line(0, 0, 127, height - 1, ssd.rgb(0, 255, 0))  # Green diagonal corner-to-corner
ssd.rect(0, 0, 15, 15, ssd.rgb(255, 0, 0))  # Red square at top left
ssd.show()

On ESP32 the following may be used:

from machine import Pin, SPI
from drivers.ssd1351.ssd1351_generic import SSD1351 as SSD  # Note generic driver
height = 128  # Ensure height is correct (96/128)
pdc = Pin(25, Pin.OUT, value=0)
pcs = Pin(26, Pin.OUT, value=1)
prst = Pin(27, Pin.OUT, value=1)
spi = SPI(1, 10_000_000, sck=Pin(14), mosi=Pin(13), miso=Pin(12))
ssd = SSD(spi, pcs, pdc, prst, height=height)
ssd.fill(0)
ssd.line(0, 0, 127, height - 1, ssd.rgb(0, 255, 0))  # Green diagonal corner-to-corner
ssd.rect(0, 0, 15, 15, ssd.rgb(255, 0, 0))  # Red square at top left
ssd.show()
Contents

3. The nanogui module

The GUI supports a variety of widgets, some of which include text elements. The coordinates of a widget are those of its top left corner. If a border is specified, this is drawn outside of the limits of the widgets with a margin of 2 pixels. If the widget is placed at [row, col] the top left hand corner of the border is at [row-2, col-2].

When a widget is drawn or updated (typically with its value method) it is not immediately displayed. To update the display nanogui.refresh is called: this enables multiple updates to the FrameBuffer contents before once copying the buffer to the display. Postponement enhances performance providing a visually instant update.

Text components of widgets are rendered using the Writer (monochrome) or CWriter (colour) classes.

3.1 Application Initialisation

The GUI is initialised for color display by issuing:

from color_setup import ssd, height

This works as described below.

A typical application then imports nanogui modules and clears the display:

from gui.core.nanogui import refresh
from gui.widgets.label import Label  # Import any widgets you plan to use
from gui.widgets.dial import Dial, Pointer

refresh(ssd)  # Initialise and clear display.

This is followed by Python fonts. A CWriter instance is created for each font (for monochrome displays a Writer is used). Upside down rendering is not supported. Only the Textbox widget supports scrolling text.

from gui.core.writer import CWriter  # Renders color text
import gui.fonts.arial10  # A Python Font
from gui.core.colors import *  # Standard color constants

CWriter.set_textpos(ssd, 0, 0)  # In case previous tests have altered it
 # Instantiate any CWriters to be used (one for each font)
wri = CWriter(ssd, arial10, GREEN, BLACK, verbose=False)  # Colors are defaults
wri.set_clip(True, True, False)

The application calls nanogui.refresh on initialisation to clear the display, then subsequently whenever a refresh is required. The method takes two args:

  1. device The display instance (the GUI supports multiple displays).
  2. clear=False If set True the display will be blanked; it is also blanked when a device is refreshed for the first time.

3.1.1 Setup file internals

The file color_setup.py contains the hardware dependent code. It works as described below, with the aim of allocating the FrameBuffer before importing other modules. This is intended to reduce the risk of memory failures.

Firstly the file sets the display height and imports the driver:

height = 96  # 1.27 inch 96*128 (rows*cols) display. Set to 128 for 1.5 inch
import machine
import gc
from drivers.ssd1351.ssd1351 import SSD1351 as SSD  # Import the display driver

It then sets up the bus (SPI or I2C) and instantiates the display. At this point the framebuffer is created:

pdc = machine.Pin('X1', machine.Pin.OUT_PP, value=0)
pcs = machine.Pin('X2', machine.Pin.OUT_PP, value=1)
prst = machine.Pin('X3', machine.Pin.OUT_PP, value=1)
spi = machine.SPI(1)
gc.collect()  # Precaution before instantiating framebuf
ssd = SSD(spi, pcs, pdc, prst, height)  # Create a display instance
Contents

3.2 Label class

This supports applications where text is to be rendered at specific screen locations.

Text can be static or dynamic. In the case of dynamic text the background is cleared to ensure that short strings cleanly replace longer ones.

Labels can be displayed with an optional single pixel border.

Colors are handled flexibly. By default the colors used are those of the Writer instance, however they can be changed dynamically; this might be used to warn of overrange or underrange values.

Constructor args:

  1. writer The Writer instance (font and screen) to use.
  2. row Location on screen.
  3. col
  4. text If a string is passed it is displayed: typically used for static text. If an integer is passed it is interpreted as the maximum text length in pixels; typically obtained from writer.stringlen('-99.99'). Nothing is dsplayed until .value() is called. Intended for dynamic text fields.
  5. invert=False Display in inverted or normal style.
  6. fgcolor=None Optionally override the Writer colors.
  7. bgcolor=None
  8. bdcolor=False If False no border is displayed. If None a border is shown in the Writer forgeround color. If a color is passed, it is used.

The constructor displays the string at the required location.

Methods:

  1. value Redraws the label. This takes the following args:
    • text=None The text to display. If None displays last value.
    • invert=False If true, show inverse text.
    • fgcolor=None Foreground color: if None the Writer default is used.
    • bgcolor=None Background color, as per foreground.
    • bdcolor=None Border color. As per above except that if False is passed, no border is displayed. This clears a previously drawn border.
      Returns the current text string.
  2. show No args. (Re)draws the label. Primarily for internal use by GUI.

If populating a label would cause it to extend beyond the screen boundary a warning is printed at the console. The label may appear at an unexpected place. The following is a complete "Hello world" script.

from color_setup import ssd  # Create a display instance
from gui.core.nanogui import refresh
from gui.core.writer import CWriter
from gui.core.colors import *

from gui.widgets.label import Label
import gui.fonts.freesans20 as freesans20

refresh(ssd)  # Initialise and clear display.
CWriter.set_textpos(ssd, 0, 0)  # In case previous tests have altered it
wri = CWriter(ssd, freesans20, GREEN, BLACK, verbose=False)
wri.set_clip(True, True, False)

# End of boilerplate code. This is our application:
Label(wri, 2, 2, 'Hello world!')
refresh(ssd)
Contents

3.3 Meter class

This provides a vertical linear meter display of values scaled between 0.0 and 1.0.

Constructor positional args:

  1. writer The Writer instance (font and screen) to use.
  2. row Location on screen.
  3. col

Keyword only args:

  1. height=50 Height of meter.
  2. width=10 Width.
  3. fgcolor=None Foreground color: if None the Writer default is used.
  4. bgcolor=None Background color, as per foreground.
  5. ptcolor=None Color of meter pointer or bar. Default is foreground color.
  6. bdcolor=False If False no border is displayed. If None a border is shown in the Writer forgeround color. If a color is passed, it is used.
  7. divisions=5 No. of graduations to show.
  8. label=None A text string will cause a Label to be drawn below the meter. An integer will create a Label of that width for later use.
  9. style=Meter.LINE The pointer is a horizontal line. Meter.BAR causes a vertical bar to be displayed.
  10. legends=None If a tuple of strings is passed, Label instances will be displayed to the right hand side of the meter, starting at the bottom. E.G. ('0.0', '0.5', '1.0')
  11. value=None Initial value. If None the meter will not be drawn until its value() method is called.

Methods:

  1. value Args: n=None, color=None.
    • n should be a float in range 0 to 1.0. Causes the meter to be updated. Out of range values are constrained. If None is passed the meter is not updated.
    • color Updates the color of the bar or line if a value is also passed. None causes no change.
      Returns the current value.
  2. text Updates the label if present (otherwise throws a ValueError). Args:
    • text=None The text to display. If None displays last value.
    • invert=False If true, show inverse text.
    • fgcolor=None Foreground color: if None the Writer default is used.
    • bgcolor=None Background color, as per foreground.
    • bdcolor=None Border color. As per above except that if False is passed, no border is displayed. This clears a previously drawn border.
  3. show No args. (Re)draws the meter. Primarily for internal use by GUI.
Contents

3.4 LED class

This is a virtual LED whose color may be altered dynamically.

Constructor positional args:

  1. writer The Writer instance (font and screen) to use.
  2. row Location on screen.
  3. col

Keyword only args:

  1. height=12 Height of LED.
  2. fgcolor=None Foreground color: if None the Writer default is used.
  3. bgcolor=None Background color, as per foreground.
  4. bdcolor=False If False no border is displayed. If None a border is shown in the Writer forgeround color. If a color is passed, it is used.
  5. label=None A text string will cause a Label to be drawn below the LED. An integer will create a Label of that width for later use.

Methods:

  1. color arg c=None Change the LED color to c. If c is None the LED is turned off (rendered in the background color).
  2. text Updates the label if present (otherwise throws a ValueError). Args:
    • text=None The text to display. If None displays last value.
    • invert=False If true, show inverse text.
    • fgcolor=None Foreground color: if None the Writer default is used.
    • bgcolor=None Background color, as per foreground.
    • bdcolor=None Border color. As per above except that if False is passed, no border is displayed. This clears a previously drawn border.
  3. show No args. (Re)draws the LED. Primarily for internal use by GUI.
Contents

3.5 Dial and Pointer classes

A Dial is a circular display capable of displaying a number of vectors; each vector is represented by a Pointer instance. The format of the display may be chosen to resemble an analog clock or a compass. In the CLOCK case a pointer resembles a clock's hand extending from the centre towards the periphery. In the COMPASS case pointers are chevrons extending equally either side of the circle centre.

In both cases the length, angle and color of each Pointer may be changed dynamically. A Dial can include an optional Label at the bottom which may be used to display any required text.

In use, a Dial is instantiated then one or more Pointer objects are instantiated and assigned to it. The Pointer.value method enables the Dial to be updated affecting the length, angle and color of the Pointer. Pointer values are complex numbers.

Dial class

Constructor positional args:

  1. writer The Writer instance (font and screen) to use.
  2. row Location on screen.
  3. col

Keyword only args:

  1. height=50 Height and width of dial.
  2. fgcolor=None Foreground color: if None the Writer default is used.
  3. bgcolor=None Background color, as per foreground.
  4. bdcolor=False If False no border is displayed. If None a border is shown in the Writer forgeround color. If a color is passed, it is used.
  5. ticks=4 No. of gradutions to show.
  6. label=None A text string will cause a Label to be drawn below the meter. An integer will create a Label of that width for later use.
  7. style=Dial.CLOCK Pointers are drawn from the centre of the circle as per the hands of a clock. Dial.COMPASS causes pointers to be drawn as arrows centred on the control's centre. Arrow tail chevrons are suppressed for very short pointers.
  8. pip=None Draws a central dot. A color may be passed, otherwise the foreground color will be used. If False is passed, no pip will be drawn. The pip is suppressed if the shortest pointer would be hard to see.

When a Pointer is instantiated it is assigned to the Dial by the Pointer constructor.

Pointer class

Constructor arg:

  1. dial The Dial instance on which it is to be dsplayed.

Methods:

  1. value Args:
    • v=None The value is a complex number. A magnitude exceeding unity is reduced (preserving phase) to constrain the Pointer within the unit circle.
    • color=None By default the pointer is rendered in the foreground color of the parent Dial. Otherwise the passed color is used.
      Returns the current value.
  2. text Updates the label if present (otherwise throws a ValueError). Args:
    • text=None The text to display. If None displays last value.
    • invert=False If true, show inverse text.
    • fgcolor=None Foreground color: if None the Writer default is used.
    • bgcolor=None Background color, as per foreground.
    • bdcolor=None Border color. As per above except that if False is passed, no border is displayed. This clears a previously drawn border.
  3. show No args. (Re)draws the control. Primarily for internal use by GUI.

Typical usage (ssd is the device and wri is the current Writer):

def clock(ssd, wri):
    # Border in Writer foreground color:
    dial = Dial(wri, 5, 5, ticks = 12, bdcolor=None)
    hrs = Pointer(dial)
    mins = Pointer(dial)
    hrs.value(0 + 0.7j, RED)
    mins.value(0 + 0.9j, YELLOW)
    dm = cmath.exp(-1j * cmath.pi / 30)  # Rotate by 1 minute
    dh = cmath.exp(-1j * cmath.pi / 1800)  # Rotate hours by 1 minute
    # Twiddle the hands: see aclock.py for an actual clock
    for _ in range(80):
        utime.sleep_ms(200)
        mins.value(mins.value() * dm, RED)
        hrs.value(hrs.value() * dh, YELLOW)
        refresh(ssd)
Contents

3.6 Scale class

This displays floating point data having a wide dynamic range. It is modelled on old radios where a large scale scrolls past a small window having a fixed pointer. This enables a scale with (say) 200 graduations (ticks) to readily be visible on a small display, with sufficient resolution to enable the user to interpolate between ticks. Default settings enable estimation of a value to within about +-0.1%.

Legends for the scale are created dynamically as it scrolls past the window. The user may control this by means of a callback. The example lscale.py illustrates a variable with range 88.0 to 108.0, the callback ensuring that the display legends match the user variable. A further callback enables the scale's color to change over its length or in response to other circumstances.

The scale displays floats in range -1.0 <= V <= 1.0.

Constructor positional args:

  1. writer The Writer instance (font and screen) to use.
  2. row Location on screen.
  3. col

Keyword only arguments (all optional):

  • ticks=200 Number of "tick" divisions on scale. Must be divisible by 2.
  • legendcb=None Callback for populating scale legends (see below).
  • tickcb=None Callback for setting tick colors (see below).
  • height=0 Pass 0 for a minimum height based on the font height.
  • width=200
  • bdcolor=None Border color. If None, fgcolor will be used.
  • fgcolor=None Foreground color. Defaults to system color.
  • bgcolor=None Background color defaults to system background.
  • pointercolor=None Color of pointer. Defaults to .fgcolor.
  • fontcolor=None Color of legends. Default fgcolor.

Method:

  • value=None Set or get the current value. Always returns the current value. A passed float is constrained to the range -1.0 <= V <= 1.0 and becomes the Scale's current value. The Scale is updated. Passing None enables reading the current value.

Callback legendcb

The display window contains 20 ticks comprising two divisions; by default a division covers a range of 0.1. A division has a legend at the start and end whose text is defined by the legendcb callback. If no user callback is supplied, legends will be of the form 0.3, 0.4 etc. User code may override these to cope with cases where a user variable is mapped onto the control's range. The callback takes a single float arg which is the value of the tick (in range -1.0 <= v <= 1.0). It must return a text string. An example from the lscale.py demo shows FM radio frequencies:

def legendcb(f):
    return '{:2.0f}'.format(88 + ((f + 1) / 2) * (108 - 88))

The above arithmetic aims to show the logic. It can (obviously) be simplified.

Callback tickcb

This callback enables the tick color to be changed dynamically. For example a scale might change from green to orange, then to red as it nears the extremes. The callback takes two args, being the value of the tick (in range -1.0 <= v <= 1.0) and the default color. It must return a color. This example is taken from the scale.py demo:

def tickcb(f, c):
    if f > 0.8:
        return RED
    if f < -0.8:
        return BLUE
    return c

Increasing the ticks value

This increases the precision of the display.

It does this by lengthening the scale while keeping the window the same size, with 20 ticks displayed. If the scale becomes 10x longer, the value diference between consecutive large ticks and legends is divided by 10. This means that the tickcb callback must return a string having an additional significant digit. If this is not done, consecutive legends will have the same value.

Contents

3.7 Class Textbox

Displays multiple lines of text in a field of fixed dimensions. Text may be clipped to the width of the control or may be word-wrapped. If the number of lines of text exceeds the height available, scrolling will occur. Access to text that has scrolled out of view may be achieved by calling a method. The widget supports fixed and variable pitch fonts.

from gui.widgets.textbox import Textbox

Constructor mandatory positional arguments:

  1. writer The Writer instance (font and screen) to use.
  2. row Location on screen.
  3. col
  4. width Width of the object in pixels.
  5. nlines Number of lines of text to display. The object's height is determined from the height of the font:
    height in pixels = nlines*font_height
    As per most widgets the border is drawn two pixels beyond the control's boundary.

Keyword only arguments:

  • bdcolor=None Border color. If None, fgcolor will be used.
  • fgcolor=None Color of border. Defaults to system color.
  • bgcolor=None Background color of object. Defaults to system background.
  • clip=True By default lines too long to display are right clipped. If False is passed, word-wrap is attempted. If the line contains no spaces it will be wrapped at the right edge of the window.

Methods:

  • append Args s, ntrim=None, line=None Append the string s to the display and scroll up as required to show it. By default only the number of lines which will fit on screen are retained. If an integer ntrim=N is passed, only the last N lines are retained; ntrim may be greater than can be shown in the control, hidden lines being accessed by scrolling.
    If an integer (typically 0) is passed in line the display will scroll to show that line.
  • scroll Arg n Number of lines to scroll. A negative number scrolls up. If scrolling would achieve nothing because there are no extra lines to display, nothing will happen. Returns True if scrolling occurred, otherwise False.
  • value No args. Returns the number of lines of text stored in the widget.
  • clear No args. Clears all lines from the widget and refreshes the display.
  • goto Arg line=None Fast scroll to a line. By default shows the end of the text. 0 shows the start.

Fast updates:
Rendering text to the screen is relatively slow. To send a large amount of text the fastest way is to perform a single append. Text may contain newline ('\n') characters as required. In that way rendering occurs once only.

ntrim__ If text is regularly appended to a Textbox its buffer grows, using RAM. The value of ntrim sets a limit to the number of lines which are retained, with the oldest (topmost) being discarded as required.

Contents

4. Device drivers

Device drivers capable of supporting nanogui can be extremely simple: see drivers/sharp/sharp.py for a minimal example. It should be noted that the supplied device drivers are designed purely to support nanogui. To conserve RAM they provide no functionality beyond the transfer of an external frame buffer to the device. This transfer typically takes a few tens of milliseconds. While visually instant, this period constitutes latency between an event occurring and a consequent display update. This may be unacceptable in applications such as games. In such cases the FrameBuffer approach is inappropriate. Many driver chips support graphics primitives in hardware; drivers using these capabilities will be faster than those provided here and may often be found using a forum search.

For a driver to support nanogui it must be subclassed from framebuf.FrameBuffer and provide height and width bound variables being the display size in pixels. This, and a show method, are all that is required for monochrome drivers.

Refresh must be handled by a show method taking no arguments; when called, the contents of the buffer underlying the FrameBuffer must be copied to the hardware.

For color drivers, to conserve RAM it is suggested that 8-bit color is used for the FrameBuffer. If the hardware does not support this, conversion to the supported color space needs to be done "on the fly" as per the SSD1351 driver. This uses framebuf.GS8 to stand in for 8 bit color in rrrgggbb format. To maximise update speed consider using native, viper or assembler for the conversion, typically to RGB565 format.

Color drivers should have a static method converting rgb(255, 255, 255) to a form acceptable to the driver. For 8-bit rrrgggbb this can be:

    @staticmethod
    def rgb(r, g, b):
        return (r & 0xe0) | ((g >> 3) & 0x1c) | (b >> 6)

This should be amended if the hardware uses a different 8-bit format.

The Writer (monochrome) or CWriter (color) classes and the nanogui module should then work automatically.

Drivers for displays using I2C may need to use I2C.writevto depending on the chip requirements.

Contents

5. ESP8266

Some personal observations on successful use with an ESP8266.

I chose an Adafruit 128x128 OLED display to represent the biggest display I thought the ESP8266 might support. I reasoned that, if this can be made to work, smaller or monochrome displays would present no problem.

The ESP8266 is a minimal platform with typically 36.6KiB of free RAM. The framebuffer for a 128*128 OLED requires 16KiB of contiguous RAM (the display hardware uses 16 bit color but my driver uses an 8 bit buffer to conserve RAM).

A further issue is that, by default, ESP8266 firmware does not support complex numbers. This rules out the plot module and the Dial widget. It is possible to turn on complex support in the build, but I haven't tried this.

I set out to run the scale.py and textbox.py demos as these use uasyncio to create dynamic content, and the widgets themselves are relatively complex.

I froze a subset of the drivers and the gui directories. A subset minimises the size of the firmware build and eliminates modules which won't compile due to the complex number issue. The directory structure in my frozen modules directory matched that of the source. This is the structure of my frozen directory:
Image

I erased flash, built and installed the new firmware. Finally I copied color_setup/esp8266_setup.py to /pyboard/color_setup.py. This could have been frozen but I wanted to be able to change pins if required.

Both demos worked perfectly.

I modified the demos to regularly report free RAM. scale.py reported 10480 bytes, tbox.py reported 10512 bytes, sometimes more, as the demo progressed. In conclusion I think that applications of moderate complexity should be feasible.

Contents

About

A lightweight MicroPython GUI library for display drivers based on framebuf class

Resources

License

Releases

No releases published

Packages

No packages published

Languages

You can’t perform that action at this time.