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The Basics of CircuitPython for Rapid Microcontroller-Based Prototyping and Development #CircuitPython #Python @DigiKey

Adafruit Trinket M0

A new article by Steve Leibson on digikey.com discusses using Python, specifically CircuitPython, for rapid development on microcontrollers:

While the Python language has made programming more accessible, it was designed to run on PCs and other machines with plenty of processing, memory, and peripheral resources. For embedded systems that face tighter resource and interface constraints, an optimized version for microcontrollers, called MicroPython, has become popular. So much so that the open source community has been adapting MicroPython to specific microcontrollers and dev boards to support serious microcontroller development.

This article will introduce one such adaptation, Adafruit’s CircuitPython. After a brief discussion of Python, as it compares to the classic embedded development language C++, the article will discuss how Python has evolved to MicroPython and now CircuitPython. It will then describe the process of writing software using CircuitPython before introducing several dev boards from Adafruit and other vendors that support the CircuitPython environment.

With Arduino, why should one use CircuitPython?

The original Arduino dev board and its many successors have been very popular microcontroller dev boards for maker, hobby, and student projects, as well as for embedded prototypes. However, the Arduino IDE and programming language are based on C++, a powerful but complex compiled language with an odd-looking syntax and rigid punctuation rules that novice programmers find off-putting.

Python is a newer programming language. It is an interpreted, interactive, object-oriented language that combines remarkable programming power with a very clear syntax. It is known for its writability and readability, as well as for its simpler syntax. These characteristics combine to reduce the number of programming errors and make code reuse easier, and so speed software development.

The language’s interpretive nature provides immediate programmer feedback that encourages experimentation and rapid learning. For these reasons, Python is now the first programming language that many students and makers learn.

Read the entire article on digikey.com.

Image of Adafruit's open source programming interface called Mu

Image of Adafruit’s 3333 Circuit Playground Express

Are you interested in using Python on microcontrollers? Let us know in the comments below.

 


Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

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