When you’ve got more than the simplest embedded program for Arduino (or any other framework), it becomes much harder to test that it’s working properly by purely running it. For something like Blink, testing is simple because all we need to do is upload it and see the LED turn on and off; there’s little risk of missing anything significant. However, let’s skip forward to a menu based application with Serial or Ethernet control, there is very little chance that you’d catch all the edge cases by manual testing.
Timed blink is a version of well known Arduino blink example that is shipped with the standard IDE, but is redesigned to use the Abstraction and timer library. Example circuit for the code is exactly the same a blink, and if you use the inbuilt LED pin (which it does by default) then there’s no need to build any circuit whatsoever. Instead of using delay() calls to set the duration of the led flash, it uses the task management library to schedule a task.
There are often cases when you’ll need to run a micro controller from a battery power source. Unlike when running from mains power, every milli-amp matters. In these cases IoAbstraction’s task manager is able to integrate easily with most low power libraries. Task manager works by repeatedly calling the runLoop() function within loop() or main, during each loop task manager evaluates if any tasks are yet ready to run, and if they are it runs them.
Sometimes the situation arises where a product is built (or gets close to being built), before any concerns about it’s stability are discussed or proper planning arranged. Often this leads to code being written without any proper test plan in place. Combined with very tight deadlines there’s often even no plan to go back and fix things up. Once this situation occurs, it’s probable that the product release will be compromised.
IoAbstraction has full support for interrupts on most devices, meaning we can connect a Rotary Encoder to an Arduino using a standard PCF8574 IO expander chip. In order to do this we need the PCF8574 /INT line to be connected to an Arduino pin that supports interrupts (such as pins 2 or 3). Further, you can also have switches handle push button input without polling, by initialising for interrupt, especially useful with IO exapnders.
Matrix keyboards are arranged such that the keys are in a matrix of rows and columns. This means that instead of needing a spare input for each key, one INPUT for each column and one OUTPUT for each row is all that’s needed. In order to use the keyboard, we create a class of type MatrixKeyboardManager and configure it with an IoAbstractionRef, a KeyboardLayout that describes the keyboard attached (there are some standard ones already defined) and a listener that will be informed of changes.
This article discusses how to unit test a simple project with Arduino, if you’re not used to writing unit tests, or need more background, then first read this guide on unit testing embedded projects. My favoured library for writing unit tests on Arduino platform is AUnit. It is open source, under a commercial friendly MIT license and provides a nice API. It is available from here: AUnit is available through library manager, just install it direct from the IDE.
Have you ever wanted to treat button presses in Arduino similar to other languages, where you get an event callback when the switch is pressed? Look no further, the IO abstraction library can do that with very little fuss. In fact it can also do the same for rotary encoders as well, treating them similar to how scroll bars work in desktop applications. To start we need to get the IoAbstraction library and open the buttonRotartyEncoder example.
In this tutorial for IoAbstraction’s taskManager I explain the differences between traditional loop based programming; which is very common on the Arduino platform and event based programming based on taskManager. Although event based programming looks slightly more complicated at first, as the sketch and surrounding code gets more complex, eventing will scale to that much easier. Eventing task frameworks make ongoing maintenance much easier. Example: Two LEDs blink at different rates.
Recently, I have made a fork of Arduino LiquidCrystal (HD44780 display driver library) that allows the library to work with the IO abstraction library, meaning you can configure a display to use Arduino pins, an i2c 8574 IO expander or shift registers by simply changing one line of code in your sketch. There are two additional examples provided with this version that show how to use the fork with both a shift register and an 8574 i2c IO expander.