Automated generation of bin/hex/uf2 files for Arduino continuous integration

Our continuous integration script for Arduino, ci-arduino,  has been updated to include the ability to automatically generate and export build artifacts. This means that if you have an Arduino library with an example sketch, you can call ci-arduino from GitHub Actions to generate a binary or hex file of the sketch for easier uploading. If a platform supports the Microsoft UF2 USB Flashing Format, ci-arduino will also generate a UF2 file of the example sketch.

This workflow lets Arduino library maintainers (like Adafruit) test out pull requests on hardware by dragging + dropping a UF2 file from a pull request onto their board, or flashing a compiled .hex/.bin file. Previously, an Arduino library maintainer would test a pull request on hardware by checking out the specific pull request, opening up Arduino IDE, selecting a target platform, compiling the example, and uploading it.

It’s easy to add ci-arduino to an Arduino library. First, mark a platform (such as the Adafruit QTPy SAMD21) for generation by adding a .platformName.generate file in the same folder as the example:

https://github.com/adafruit/Adafruit_IS31FL3741/tree/main/examples/gfxdemo

Next, update the actions workflow to specify that we’ll be uploading the build artifacts to GitHub:

https://github.com/adafruit/Adafruit_IS31FL3741/blob/main/.github/workflows/githubci.yml

Subsequent pull requests will produce build artifacts after CI-Arduino has completed its run, attached each run. You can check it out here: https://github.com/adafruit/Adafruit_IS31FL3741/actions/runs/1239270699.

You may also use this script to upload compiled binaries to a tagged release. For example, our upcoming Adafruit.io WipperSnapper library uses CI-Arduino to automatically generate UF2 files for 3 different platforms (ESP32, ESP32-S2, SAMD51) and attaches them to a tagged release.

If you encounter a bug, please file a new issue on the repository – https://github.com/adafruit/ci-arduino/issues

We hope this updated tooling is useful not only for us – but also for the Arduino maintainer community!


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