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HID API for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X


HIDAPI is a multi-platform library which allows an application to interface with USB and Bluetooth HID-Class devices on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. On Windows, a DLL is built. On other platforms (and optionally on Windows), the single source file can simply be dropped into a target application.

What Does the API Look Like?
The API wraps the functionality of the most commonly used of the hid.dll functions. The sample program, which communicates with the USB Generic HID sample which is part of the Microchip Application Library (in folder "Microchip Solutions\USB Device - HID - Custom Demos\Generic HID - Firmware" when the Microchip Application Framework is installed), looks like this (with error checking removed for simplicity):

#include <windows.h>
#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include "hidapi.h"

#define MAX_STR 255

int main(int argc, char* argv[])
	int res;
	unsigned char buf[65];
	wchar_t wstr[MAX_STR];
	hid_device *handle;
	int i;

	// Open the device using the VID, PID,
	// and optionally the Serial number.
	handle = hid_open(0x4d8, 0x3f, NULL);

	// Read the Manufacturer String
	res = hid_get_manufacturer_string(handle, wstr, MAX_STR);
	wprintf(L"Manufacturer String: %s\n", wstr);

	// Read the Product String
	res = hid_get_product_string(handle, wstr, MAX_STR);
	wprintf(L"Product String: %s\n", wstr);

	// Read the Serial Number String
	res = hid_get_serial_number_string(handle, wstr, MAX_STR);
	wprintf(L"Serial Number String: (%d) %s\n", wstr[0], wstr);

	// Read Indexed String 1
	res = hid_get_indexed_string(handle, 1, wstr, MAX_STR);
	wprintf(L"Indexed String 1: %s\n", wstr);

	// Toggle LED (cmd 0x80). The first byte is the report number (0x0).
	buf[0] = 0x0;
	buf[1] = 0x80;
	res = hid_write(handle, buf, 65);

	// Request state (cmd 0x81). The first byte is the report number (0x0).
	buf[0] = 0x0;
	buf[1] = 0x81;
	res = hid_write(handle, buf, 65);

	// Read requested state
	hid_read(handle, buf, 65);

	// Print out the returned buffer.
	for (i = 0; i < 4; i++)
		printf("buf[%d]: %d\n", i, buf[i]);

	return 0;

HIDAPI may be used by anyone for any reason so long as the coypright header in the source code remains intact.

It can be downloaded from github
	git clone git://

Build Instructions
  Build the .sln file in the windows/ directory.
  cd to the linux/ directory and run make.
Mac OS X:
  cd to the mac/ directory and run make.

To build the Test GUI:
  On Windows, build the .sln file in the hidtest/ directory.
  On Linux and Mac, run make from the hidtest/ directory.

To build using the DDK (old method):

   1. Install the Windows Driver Kit (WDK) from Microsoft.
   2. From the Start menu, in the Windows Driver Kits folder, select Build Environments, then your operating system, then the x86 Free Build Environment (or one that is appropriate for your system).
   3. From the console, change directory to the windows/ddk_build/ directory, which is part of the HIDAPI distribution.
   4. Type build.
   5. You can find the output files (DLL and LIB) in a subdirectory created by the build system which is appropriate for your environment. On Windows XP, this directory is objfre_wxp_x86/i386.


Signal 11 Software - 2010-04-11
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