Upgraded GUIs on STM32 microcontrollers

30 August 2023 Opto-Electronics

TouchGFX is ST’s free-to-use framework that helps create graphical user interfaces on STM32 microcontrollers. Written in C++, the engine takes advantage of optimisations on ST devices.

TouchGFX works under the assumption that interfaces consist of screens users navigate. The framework is intuitive and also extensive, as it handles 2D and 3D objects, videos, animations, and transitions. Additionally, the ability to access the code generated allows for optimisation by experienced engineers. A full set of TouchGFX documentation provides information on the framework’s APIs or available development tools.

TouchGFX Designer is a utility with a WYSIWYG interface where designers create exactly what the users will see and interact with. A startup screen helps choose the demo application, an ST development board, and then configures the project. Hence, running example codes and demos takes minutes, which means creating proofs-of-concept faster. UI elements in TouchGFX Designer often take the form of widgets one adds and configures through the utility’s interface. TouchGFX Simulator is available as part of the package to help developers preview the graphical user interface before uploading it onto a chosen MCU.

TouchGFX has now been upgraded to version 4.22, which sees many new features. Graphical assets take up a lot of memory space and usually reduce the quality of results in a downgrade of the user interface. The bundled L8 compression can now compress a file by up to 75% with no downgrade, thanks to the Chrom-ART accelerator embedded in the STM32 microcontrollers.

For all L8 images, the user has the option to choose between three compression methods: L4, LZW9 (Lempel-Ziv-Welch), and Run Length Encoding (RLE). There is also an auto option that automatically forces the compiler to choose the most optimised compression method based on its new file size and rendering time on the target processor.

Offline mode has also been introduced into the latest version, which enables users to download demos and examples to run thereafter without an internet connection. A more powerful proxy configuration tool is shipped with the new version to satisfy complex coding environments. It is now easier and more practical to use TouchGFX Designer from behind a corporate firewall or on a limited bandwidth connection.

TouchGFX 4.22 is all about the relationship developers have with their UI-building tools. This update puts an emphasis on how users interact with the framework and aids the overall experience.


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