Commit 7a0636e8 authored by Paul Sokolovsky's avatar Paul Sokolovsky
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docs: Add initial "uctypes" modules docs. WIP.

parent 7ee91cf8
......@@ -39,6 +39,7 @@ it will fallback to loading the built-in ``ujson`` module.
:maxdepth: 1
:mod:`uctypes` -- access C structures
.. module:: uctypes
:synopsis: access C structures
This module implements "foreign data interface" for MicroPython. The idea
behind it is similar to CPython's ``ctypes`` modules, but actual API is
different, steamlined and optimized for small size.
Defining structure layout
Structure layout is defined by a "descriptor" - a Python dictionary which
encodes field names as keys and other properties required to access them as
an associated values. Currently, uctypes requires explicit specification of
offsets for each field. Offset are given in bytes from structure start.
Following are encoding examples for various field types:
Scalar types::
"field_name": uctypes.UINT32 | 0
in other words, value is scalar type identifier ORed with field offset
(in bytes) from the start of the structure.
Recursive structures::
"sub": (2, {
"b0": uctypes.UINT8 | 0,
"b1": uctypes.UINT8 | 1,
i.e. value is a 2-tuple, first element of which is offset, and second is
a structure descriptor dictionary (note: offsets in recursive descriptors
are relative to a structure it defines).
Arrays of primitive types::
"arr": (uctypes.ARRAY | 0, uctypes.UINT8 | 2),
i.e. value is a 2-tuple, first element of which is ARRAY flag ORed
with offset, and second is scalar element type ORed number of elements
in array.
Arrays of aggregate types::
"arr2": (uctypes.ARRAY | 0, 2, {"b": uctypes.UINT8 | 0}),
i.e. value is a 3-tuple, first element of which is ARRAY flag ORed
with offset, second is a number of elements in array, and third is
descriptor of element type.
Pointer to a primitive type::
"ptr": (uctypes.PTR | 0, uctypes.UINT8),
i.e. value is a 2-tuple, first element of which is PTR flag ORed
with offset, and second is scalar element type.
Pointer to aggregate type::
"ptr2": (uctypes.PTR | 0, {"b": uctypes.UINT8 | 0}),
i.e. value is a 2-tuple, first element of which is PTR flag ORed
with offset, second is descriptor of type pointed to.
"bitf0": uctypes.BFUINT16 | 0 | 0 << uctypes.BF_POS | 8 << uctypes.BF_LEN,
i.e. value is type of scalar value containing given bitfield (typenames are
similar to scalar types, but prefixes with "BF"), ORed with offset for
scalar value containing the bitfield, and further ORed with values for
bit offset and bit length of the bitfield within scalar value, shifted by
BF_POS and BF_LEN positions, respectively. Bitfield position is counted
from the least significant bit, and is the number of right-most bit of a
field (in other words, it's a number of bits a scalar needs to be shifted
right to extra the bitfield).
In the example above, first UINT16 value will be extracted at offset 0
(this detail may be important when accessing hardware registers, where
particular access size and alignment are required), and then bitfield
whose rightmost bit is least-significant bit of this UINT16, and length
is 8 bits, will be extracted - effectively, this will access
least-significant byte of UINT16.
Note that bitfield operations are independent of target byte endianness,
in particular, example above will access least-significant byte of UINT16
in both little- and big-endian structures. But it depends on the least
significant bit being numbered 0. Some targets may use different
numbering in their native ABI, but ``uctypes`` always uses normalized
numbering described above.
Module contents
.. class:: struct(descriptor, layout_type)
Create a "foreign data structure" object based on its descriptor (encoded
as a dictionary) and layout type.
Little-endian packed structure. (Packed means that every field occupies
exactly many bytes as defined in the descriptor, i.e. alignment is 1).
.. data:: BIG_ENDIAN
Big-endian packed structure.
.. data:: NATIVE
Native structure - with data endianness and alignment conforming to
the target ABI.
(to be continued)
Structure objects
Structure objects allow accessing individual fields using standard dot
notation: ``my_struct.field1``. If a field is of scalar type, getting
it will produce primitive value (Python integer or float) corresponding
to value contained in a field. Scalar field can also be assigned to.
If a field is an array, its individual elements can be accessed with
standard subscript operator - both read and assigned to.
If a field is a pointer, it can be dereferenced using ``[0]`` syntax
(corresponding to C ``*`` operator, though ``[0]`` works in C too).
Subscripting pointer with other integer values but 0 are supported too,
with the same semantics as in C.
Summing up, accessing structure fields generally follows C syntax,
except for pointer derefence, you need to use ``[0]`` operator instead
of ``*``.
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