Arduino programming without the hassle of C. http://github.com/frp-arduino/frp-arduino
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- The language FRP Transforming Keeping state Filtering EDSL Compiles to C
- Examples Running the examples Example: Blinking led Example: Blinking pair of leds Example: Writing bytes on UART * Example: Displaying text on LCD
- This document
We believe that programming the Arduino can be more fun if we don't have to use the C language to program it. We aim to create a new language that allows us to program the Arduino using higher-level constructs. Our mission:
Arduino programming without the hassle of C
The language we create has the following properties:
- It is based on the functional reactive programming (FRP) paradigm
- It is implemented as a deeply embedded domain specific language (EDSL) in Haskell
- It compiles to C code
Lets explore them in more detail.
This section introduces FRP and shows how it fits in the domain of programming an Arduino.
The central building block in FRP is a stream. A stream contains values that change over time. Consider an input pin on the Arduino. If we constantly read the value of the pin we will get different values (high or low) over time:
We could take this stream and assign it to an output pin. Whenever there is a new value on the input stream, that value will be sent to the output pin. In this example we have a led connected to the output pin:
So building an Arduino application using FRP involves capturing inputs as streams, doing some interesting calculations (we'll come to that), and assigning streams to outputs.
The most common thing we do with streams is to transform the values in some
way. This operation is called map (
mapS). Let's say we have a
stream of numbers:
We can transform this stream to a stream of booleans by mapping a function that converts even numbers to true and odd numbers to false:
We now have a stream that alternates its boolean value at a time interval.
Mapping is always a one-to-one conversion.
Streams can also be used to keep track of state. We achieve that with the fold
A fold is like a map where we also have access to a state and the output is the new state.
Let's say we have a stream of booleans representing if a button is pressed or
not. Now we want a stream that keeps track of the number of button presses. We
can do that by folding the following function (pseudo code) with an initial
clickCount value of 0:
if buttonIsPressed clickCount + 1 else clickCount
The very first time
clickCount is 0. Subsequent values are incremented by one
if the boolean value is true, otherwise we just pass the current
Sometimes we would like to discard values from a stream. We do that with the
We can for example keep all even numbers in a stream:
Our language is embedded in the Haskell language. That means that when we write programs in our language, we are actually writing Haskell programs.
However, our programs will not look like standard Haskell because they use custom operators that are more suited to the FRP paradigm.
By hosting our language inside Haskell, as opposed to making up our own custom syntax, we gain a few things:
- We don't have to write our own parser
- We can take advantage of Haskell's advanced type system
When we combine our program with the language library, we get an executable that, when run, will produce a C file:
The executable is a compiler from our EDSL to C.
Compiles to C
In order to make our EDSL execute on the Arduino, we compile it to a C source file which we then turn into avr assembly code by using the avr gcc toolchain.
In this section we will see what our EDSL looks like and what kinds of programs we can write using it.
Running the examples
Command to compile an example:
./make [name of example]
Command to compile and upload an example to a connected Arduino:
./make [name of example] upload
Before we can run these commands, we need to install a few dependencies:
Haskell should be installed system wide, but Arduino-Makefile should just be copied to the root of this repository.
In order to use Arduino-Makefile, we also need standard build tools like make and gcc, and in particular, the gcc toolchain for avr.
On a Fedora system, we can install all dependencies with the following commands:
yum install haskell-platform yum install arduino-core git clone https://github.com/sudar/Arduino-Makefile.git
The arduino-core package depends on the following packages:
Example: Blinking led
import Arduino.Uno main = compileProgram $ do digitalOutput pin13 =: clock ~> toggle
- Source code: examples/Blink.hs
- Generated C code (no need to understand this): examples/Blink.c
- Compile and upload command:
./make Blink upload
This is the hello world of Arduino programs.
Lets examine this example line by line:
This imports functions that allow us to define a program in the EDSL.
main = compileProgram $ do
main function is the standard
main function in Haskell. The
compileProgram function has the following type:
compileProgram :: Action a -> IO ()
That means that we can define a set of actions in the do-block that we pass to
compileProgram. It takes those actions, builds an internal representation of
the program, and then generates C code and writes that to a file.
So what action is defined by the last line in the example?
digitalOutput pin13 =: clock ~> toggle
Let's look at the type for the
(=:) :: Output a -> Stream a -> Action ()
It takes an output of a specific type and connects it to a stream of values of the same type.
digitalOutput :: GPIO -> Output Bit pin13 :: GPIO
That means that the stream we define on the right hand side has to be a stream of bits. The stream is created with the following expression:
clock ~> toggle
Let's look at the types of the individual components:
clock :: Stream Word (~>) :: Stream a -> (Stream a -> Stream b) -> Stream b toggle :: Stream Word -> Stream Bit
clock is a built in stream that produces incrementing
integers at a given time interval.
~> is an operator that takes a stream on the left hand side
and a function on the right hand side. The result is a stream that we get by
applying the function to the stream on the left hand side.
The resulting stream in the example is a stream of bits that toggles between 1 and 0 values at a specific time interval. When we connect that stream to the pin where the led is connect, the led will blink at a specific time interval.
Example: Blinking pair of leds
import Arduino.Uno main = compileProgram $ do let doubleOutput = output2 (digitalOutput pin12) (digitalOutput pin13) doubleOutput =: every 5000 ~> flip2TupleStream flip2TupleStream :: Stream a -> Stream (Bit, Bit) flip2TupleStream = foldpS (\_ -> flip2Tuple) (pack2 (bitLow, bitHigh)) where flip2Tuple :: Expression (a, b) -> Expression (b, a) flip2Tuple tuple = let (aValue, bValue) = unpack2 tuple in pack2 (bValue, aValue)
- Source code: examples/DoubleBlink.hs
- Generated C code (no need to understand this): examples/DoubleBlink.c
- Compile and upload command:
./make DoubleBlink upload
This example shows how to group two values together and output them to two different outputs.
Example: Writing bytes on UART
import Arduino.Uno main = compileProgram $ do digitalOutput pin13 =: clock ~> toggle uart =: timerDelta ~> mapSMany formatDelta ~> flattenS formatDelta :: Expression Word -> [Expression [Byte]] formatDelta delta = [ formatString "delta: " , formatNumber delta , formatString "\r\n" ]
- Source code: examples/UART.hs
- Generated C code (no need to understand this): examples/UART.c
- Compile and upload command:
./make UART upload
This example shows how to write bytes to the UART output.
Example: Displaying text on LCD
import Arduino.Uno import qualified Arduino.Library.LCD as LCD main = compileProgram $ do let rs = digitalOutput pin3 let d4 = digitalOutput pin5 let d5 = digitalOutput pin6 let d6 = digitalOutput pin7 let d7 = digitalOutput pin8 let enable = digitalOutput pin4 tick <- def clock digitalOutput pin13 =: tick ~> toggle LCD.output rs d4 d5 d6 d7 enable =: tick ~> mapSMany (\_ -> LCD.init ++ LCD.text "FRP Arduino :)")
- Source code: examples/LCD.hs
- Generated C code (no need to understand this): examples/LCD.c
- Compile and upload command:
./make LCD upload
This example shows how to display text on an LCD display.
The API documentation for the latest version is hosted on Hackage:
The contributors are listed in AUTHORS (add yourself).
Comments on the process:
A patch MUST compile cleanly and pass project self-tests on at least the principle target platform.
In our case, this means that
./test should run without failure.
- Domain-specific Languages and Code Synthesis Using Haskell
- Tech Mesh 2012 - Making EDSLs fly - Lennart Augustsson
- Representing DSL expressions in Haskell
The Haskell library that implements the language and all examples are free software, distributed under the GNU General Public License, version 3. For more information, see COPYING.