One of the main questions we see for people who’ve mastered the basics of MicroPython is “how do I make my program do more than one thing”. For example: a program might want to display something on the screen for a certain amount of time, but also respond to button presses during that time. Or perhaps it needs to remember to do something at some point in the future, but continue doing its main function until then.
What’s the problem?
This limitation comes up because most of the methods available to you will suspend the program until they have completed. A simple example is shown below where the program first scrolls a message and then starts responding to button presses.
This means that the code can’t respond to user input while the message is scrolling on the screen — the while loop doesn’t start until after display.scroll finishes. Conceptually, the display.scrollmethod “blocks” the program until it’s finished.
This program is supposed to count button presses, and it does work most of the time, but it can’t detect any presses while it’s scrolling the current number.
Now the display.scroll function no longer blocks, and we correctly count the number of presses, but this still has the unfortunate effect of “resetting” the display every time the button is pressed. If you’re pressing the button fast enough, you’d never actually see anything on the screen.
What we want instead is a way to have the display show the current count periodically — perhaps every 10 seconds. We’ll see how to do this at the end of the article.
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