TcMenu - Overview and quick start

By dave on April 20, 2018

Above: getting started video showing how to use our menu library with Arduino. Link to the Getting started with tcMenu Slides (from youtube video). TcMenu is a modular, IoT ready menu library for Arduino and mbed supporting many input, display and IoT / remote interfaces. It makes presenting configuration, status and operational information much easier. The designer UI works by converting your menu structure into C++ code that works with your chosen hardware through plugins.

Embedded Java for Raspberry PI and other embedded Linux

By dave on April 2, 2022

Embedded Java for Raspberry PI and embedded Linux is supported from V2.3 onwards directly from the designer UI. We are building out the number of UI options, but presently No Local UI and JavaFX are supported, we will try and add Android longer term. The Java version is well served with remote capabilities offering Serial (USB, Bluetooth, RS232) devices, Ethernet, WiFi and Webserver based protocols. Also, it’s easy to write your own additional remote extension point if needed.

Rendering using themes - properties, grids and icons

By dave on September 5, 2021

Most display plugins can be customized using a grid layout, with graphical displays additionally using themes to configure fonts, colors, spacing and icons. To the left you can see cool-blue theme with a multi-column grid layout. Grid positions are used to define an items position in the menu, and even break rows up into multiple columns. Each grid position also defines the justification and drawing mode too. Choosing a theme to get started in a new project To avoid having to define the fonts, spacing, colors and other details from scratch, we have themes that can be applied out of the box.

Setting up IO-expanders in the menu designer

By dave on August 28, 2021

Setting up IO devices has been made much easier as of V2.2 of the designer software. you can now directly edit the IO expander configurations directly within tcMenu. When we discuss IO devices we are talking about IoAbstractionRef objects that refer to either device pins, or any other device such as I2C expanders or shift registers from the IoAbstraction library. In order to manage the IO Expanders that are available within a project you can do so from the Code menu -> Show Io Expanders.

Integrating EEPROM support into menu applications

By dave on August 14, 2021

IoAbstraction EEPROM support can be integrated into your menu application, it can be used to load and store menu item values, authentication and also choice menu items that are using EEPROM storage. Menu Manager makes it very easy to save values to EEPROM between runs. Each menu item can optionally have a storage point in the EEPROM area (-1 / 0xffff means not stored). Any items that have a valid EEPROM address will be persisted upon calling the save function on menuMgr, and similarly, will be read back by calling load.

Securing sub-menus and remote connections with an Authenticator

By dave on August 14, 2021

You can secure both sub-menu items and remote connections using an Authenticator. In summary, when an authenticator is present on menuMgr any attempt to show a secure sub menu will result in a dialog asking for the pin; only proceeding to display the sub menu if the pin matches the on in authenticator. In addition, all remote/IoT connections will only be allowed if the authenticator approves the connection. An example of the secure sub-menu pin entry screen is below:

Taking over the display from a renderer

By dave on November 12, 2020

TcMenu allows you to take over the display from the renderer very easily, once you own the display, you will be called back at regular intervals by the rendering class, and it is your responsibility to update the display at this time (if there are changes that require redrawing). You should never update the screen outside of these callbacks, as doing so would interfere with TcMenu rendering. There are three choices for drawing custom screens:

MenuManager and menu iteration

By dave on October 2, 2020

MenuManager contains the functions to manage menu items, there is a global instance of this class called menuMgr on Arduino and mbed boards. Here we present the most commonly used features, check out the reference docs for more details. There are a lot of iteration helper functions that can be used to navigate through menu structures. These are described further down the page. The following two reference documentation pages extend on the information here:

Rendering menus to TFT, LCD and OLED using tcMenu

By dave on September 12, 2019

TcMenu supports a wide range of rendering devices, from HD44780 based units using our LiquidCrystal fork through to mono OLEDs and full colour TFT displays using Adafruit_GFX and TFT_eSPI library. Over to the left you see an example of rendering to OLED device with title widgets. You can also easily take over the display to draw your own screen at any time. This is such a large subject, it deserves a page of its own.

Menu control using a matrix keyboard

By dave on August 2, 2019

Using a matrix keyboard with TcMenu is straightforward, we use the IoAbstraction Keyboard Manager component to handle the keyboard, along with a custom listener for tcMenu that feeds the menu manager with appropriate events upon key presses. This library allows you to connect your keyboard either using Arduino pins, or any supported IoAbstraction such as the I2C PCF8574 or MCP23017. Setting up the menu sketch for a Matrix Keyboard Before proceeding, it is recommended that you wire up your keyboard in accordance with the above linked keyboard manager page and any documentation that came with the keyboard.

tcMenu for Arduino

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