Commit d60ad5cf authored by Paul Sokolovsky's avatar Paul Sokolovsky
Browse files

docs/utime: Describe new semantics of ticks_diff() (signed ring arithmetics).

parent 153665f1
......@@ -82,9 +82,22 @@ Functions
.. function:: ticks_ms()
Returns an increasing millisecond counter with arbitrary reference point,
that wraps after some (unspecified) value. The value should be treated as
opaque, suitable for use only with ticks_diff().
Returns an increasing millisecond counter with an arbitrary reference point,
that wraps around after some value. This value is not explicitly exposed,
but we will refer to it as `TICKS_MAX` to simplify discussion. Period of
the values is `TICKS_PERIOD = TICKS_MAX + 1`. `TICKS_PERIOD` is guaranteed
to be a power of two, but otherwise may differ from port to port. The same
period value is used for all of ticks_ms(), ticks_us(), ticks_cpu() functions
(for simplicity). Thus, these functions will return a value in range
[0 .. `TICKS_MAX`], inclusive, total `TICKS_PERIOD` values. Not that only
non-negative values are used. For the most part, you should treat values
return by these functions as opaque. The only operations available for them
are ``ticks_diff()`` and ``ticks_add()`` functions described below.
Note: Performing standard mathematical operations (+, -) on these value
will lead to invalid result. Performing such operations and then passing
results as arguments to ``ticks_diff()`` or ``ticks_add()`` will also lead to
invalid result.
.. function:: ticks_us()
......@@ -105,22 +118,59 @@ Functions
.. only:: port_unix or port_pyboard or port_wipy or port_esp8266
.. function:: ticks_diff(old, new)
.. function:: ticks_diff(ticks1, ticks2)
Measure period between consecutive calls to ticks_ms(), ticks_us(), or ticks_cpu().
The value returned by these functions may wrap around at any time, so directly
subtracting them is not supported. ticks_diff() should be used instead. "old" value should
actually precede "new" value in time, or result is undefined. This function should not be
used to measure arbitrarily long periods of time (because ticks_*() functions wrap around
and usually would have short period). The expected usage pattern is implementing event
polling with timeout::
Measure ticks difference between values returned from ticks_ms(), ticks_us(), or ticks_cpu()
functions. The argument order is the same as for subtraction operator,
``tick_diff(ticks1, ticks2)`` has the same meaning as ``ticks1 - ticks2``. However, values returned by
ticks_ms(), etc. functions may wrap around, so directly using subtraction on them will
produce incorrect result. That is why ticks_diff() is needed, it implements modular
(or more specifically, ring) arithmetics to produce correct result even for wrap-around
values (as long as they not too distant inbetween, see below). The function returns
**signed** value in the range [`-TICKS_PERIOD/2` .. `TICKS_PERIOD/2-1`] (that's a typical
range definition for two's-complement signed binary integers). If the result is negative,
it means that `ticks1` occured earlier in time than `ticks2`. Otherwise, it means that
`ticks1` was after `ticks2`. This holds `only` if `ticks1` and `ticks2` are apart from
each other for no more than `TICKS_PERIOD/2-1` ticks. If that does not hold, incorrect
result will be returned. Specifically, if 2 tick values are apart for `TICKS_PERIOD/2-1`
ticks, that value will be returned by the function. However, if `TICKS_PERIOD/2` of
real-time ticks has passed between them, the function will return `-TICKS_PERIOD/2`
instead, i.e. result value will wrap around to the negative range of possible values.
``ticks_diff()`` is designed to accommodate various usage patterns, among them:
Polling with timeout. In this case, the order of events is known, and you will deal
only with positive results of ``ticks_diff()``::
# Wait for GPIO pin to be asserted, but at most 500us
start = time.ticks_us()
while pin.value() == 0:
if time.ticks_diff(start, time.ticks_us()) > 500:
if time.ticks_diff(time.ticks_us(), start) > 500:
raise TimeoutError
Scheduling events. In this case, ``ticks_diff()`` result may be negative
if an event is overdue::
# This code snippet is not optimized
now = time.ticks_ms()
scheduled_time = task.scheduled_time()
if ticks_diff(now, scheduled_time) > 0:
print("Too early, let's nap")
sleep_ms(ticks_diff(now, scheduled_time))
elif ticks_diff(now, scheduled_time) == 0:
print("Right at time!")
elif ticks_diff(now, scheduled_time) < 0:
print("Oops, running late, tell task to run faster!")
Note: Do not pass ``time()`` values to ``ticks_diff()``, and should use
normal mathematical operations on them. But note that ``time()`` may (and will)
also overflow. This is known as .
.. function:: time()
Returns the number of seconds, as an integer, since the Epoch, assuming that underlying
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