STMicro Streamlines Creation of User Interfaces for STM32 MCUs

January 14, 2020 by Paul Shepard

STMicroelectronics has added new features to the TouchGFX software framework for STM32 microcontrollers (MCUs), streamlining creation of attention-grabbing user interfaces for domestic appliances, home automation, industrial controls, medical devices, and wearables.

The latest version introduces TouchGFX Generator to make setting up a project and configuring related peripherals easier than ever. This plugin to the STM32CubeMX initialization tool generates a custom project based on the latest STM32Cube firmware and the user’s selected graphic settings and development environment (IDE). STM32CubeIDE and leading third-party IDEs are supported.

As the main tool for developing the TouchGFX hardware abstraction layer (TouchGFXHAL) that connects the TouchGFX application with the MCU hardware, TouchGFX Generator reduces reliance on the user’s understanding of the TFT display and enables a wider variety of developers to create sophisticated STM32 graphics.

TouchGFX Designer, the PC-based environment for creating, managing, and building graphic applications, adds enhancements that ease navigation, adjustment of settings, and code-version control. Project-configuration changes made in STM32CubeMX automatically update TouchGFX Designer graphical settings.

In addition, enhancements to the TouchGFX Engine that runs on the embedded STM32 MCU include improved texture-mapping performance that shortens rendering time by up to 60% and enables enhanced animations with scaling and rotating objects. Also, support for glyph substitution (GSUB) tables as used with Hindi fonts simplifies displaying advanced typography.

TouchGFX permits flexible approaches for creating high-quality user interfaces ranging from simple applications to those requiring high pixel resolution and color depth. Developers using a custom STM32-based board can use STM32CubeMX with TouchGFX Generator to generate the project for a preferred IDE/Compiler by configuring the TouchGFX software framework and the hardware features of the selected microcontroller.

Users prototyping with STM32 display kits, which are supported out-of-the-box, can start working in TouchGFX Designer with a new or pre-built demo application, and generate the complete project aided by a full Board Support Package (BSP) including STM32Cube software and drivers for external components.

Key Features:

  • Smartphone animations
    • TouchGFX (available as X-CUBE-TOUCHGFX Expansion Package) enables smartphone animations such as swipe, scroll, 3D effects, video playback, and others
    • Supports transparency, alpha-blending, anti-aliased fonts and kerning
    • Instant interaction from touch display or hard-keys at the user's choice
  • Easy programming
    • TouchGFX Designer offers drag-and-drop programming with automatic code generation
    • More than 30 widgets (such as swipe container, animated image, shapes, clock, scroll list, and others)
    • Custom triggers and actions
    • Easy addition of own C++ developer code for the creation of any unique UI application
    • Support of a variety of IDEs such as IAR Embedded Workbench™, Arm® Keil® MDK, and GCC-based IDEs such as STM32CubeIDE
    • Easy interfacing with any C code using the Model-View-Presenter pattern
  • Fast start of UI development
    • STM32 display kits are fully supported (one click) in TouchGFX Designer
    • TouchGFX Generator helps users start on their own STM32 hardware
    • Reference demo examples demonstrate achievable UI performance
  • Part of STM32 ecosystem
    • TouchGFX Engine compiled library running on any STM32 microcontroller
    • Smooth interoperability with STM32Cube MCU Packages, STM32CubeMX and STM32CubeIDE
    • TouchGFX project examples using STM32CubeMX, STM32CubeIDE, and STM32Cube MCU Packages
  • Support and documentation
    • TouchGFX knowledge base for technical literature
    • Active TouchGFX community for online support and graphical discussions
    • Videos and webinars addressing embedded graphic topics

STM32 users can download TouchGFX free of charge.