TouchGFX suite update to reduce memory needs in STM32 microcontrollers

Updates to the TouchGFX user-interface software framework for STM32 microcontrollers add new features that enable smoother and more dynamic user interfaces and lower demand on the memory and CPU, says STMicroelectronics.

TouchGFX is a free tool in the STM32 ecosystem. It comprises of the TouchGFX Designer PC tool for designing and configuring rich user interfaces and TouchGFX Engine software that runs on the end-device to secure high user interface (UI) performance. The latest version 4.12 contains updates to both.

Users can now build sophisticated user interfaces on one-chip displays without external RAM or flash. They can also save power for longer battery life and benefit from easier development to get to market faster, adds ST.

In TouchGFX Engine, a partial frame buffer mode now allows the buffer to operate using as little as 6kbyte of RAM. A fully functioning UI can now have just 16kbyte of RAM, so that small STM32 microcontrollers do not require external memory to execute “great user experiences” says ST.

New 8-bit luminance (L8) with 16-bit, 24-bit, and 32-bit palettes reduces demand for flash memory. The TouchGFX maximises performance by leveraging the STM32 Chrom-ART Accelerator to accelerate graphics and handle sophisticated effects. There is also a new cacheable container with dynamic bitmap that reduces CPU loading to run smooth and fluid animations at high frame rates.

Users can also now choose 6-bit colour depth, which saves both RAM and flash while making 64 colours available for creating entry-level GUIs. Support for external non-memory-mapped flash is also new and helps build basic UIs within tight system resources.

The updates to TouchGFX Designer include extensions to the powerful set of customisable widgets, adding features such as scale and rotate that increase the power of simple drag-and-drop programming. Custom triggers and actions reduce reliance on coding to create sophisticated features, and a new image tab lets users quickly configure individual attributes such as image format, dither algorithm, and layout rotation.

Performance improvements accelerate automatic code generation and reduce loading time, as well as new easy-to-use functions for guiding text, such as bring-forward and send-to-back.

The TouchGFX Suite, including TouchGFX Designer and TouchGFX Engine, is available to download free of charge.

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