Test the Vala language / Engineering on Raspberry Pi

Languages are many on Raspberry Pi. Elders like C passing through the modern (Python ?) or heavy like Java, the choice is wide ! New supported The Gnome Project, Genie just settle on our Raspberry. most-popular-programming-languages-of-2014_52efd3a81d277_w1500On the official page Genie you will find the basis for use of this language. But let's start by installing what is for the language :

  1. Update of the system
    apt-get update && apt-get -y upgrade
  2. Install the compiler VALA who supports the engineering language. Will also need you the compiler GCC.
    apt-get install gcc valac-0.16

    Screenshot 2014-05-05 from 22.52.29

  3. You can now create your first program : Hello World ! (Lui est vraiment universel 😉 )
            print "Hello World"
  4. You start compiling with the command valac.
  5. Remains to launch the generated program : hello. Screenshot 2014-05-05 from 22.59.22

Then everything is nice but what is the point of this language ?

I'll give you the list (partial) its benefits :

  • Ease of programming. The code is similar to the Python (with a bit of Boo, Delphi or encode the D). So easy to understand !
  • Performance. There where the high-level languages use a process for interpretation (via pre compilation or not), Engineering-generated code is c with excellent performance in execution.
  • The possibility of using objects of type GObject. It comes (in the outline) equivalent to objective-C for Apple. Ultra practice to mount a portable graphical interface in a few lines. Only libc and Glib are needed.
  • Lightweight executables. The Hello World classic is 2.9 Kb and the same GTK is less than 6 Kb.
  • Liaison with libraries systems directly from engineering. Not of overlay like in Python for the binding example.

Well on, all is not rosy and there are drawbacks :

  • It is compiled. C’est l’inconvénient des avantages 🙂 Un script python peut être facilement envoyé par email, amended and implemented. Here it is not necessarily so simple (surtout si vous envoyé le code C généré ou que la personne n’a pas Vala d’installé).
  • And the last : a community existing but fairly small. Support remains therefore limited during the learning phase. I galley ! 🙂

So here in the (very) large lines that can be said of the language.

I give you further examples :

Display a red screen with text from above using the curses library :

[Indent = 8]
uses Curses init initscr() ()

        start_color ()
        init_pair (1, Color.YELLOW, Color.RED)

        var win = new Window (LINES - 8, COLLARS - 8, 4, 4)
        win.bkgdset (COLOR_PAIR (1) | Attribute.BOLD);
        win.addstr ("Raspberry Pi Home Server");
        win.clrtobot ();
        win.getch ();

        endwin ()

To compile (If your file is named test.GS) :

valac - pkg curses x - lncurses test.gs

The result :

Screenshot 2014-05-06 from 22.54.11

With GTK installed, You can create windows quickly :

[Indent = 4]
uses Gtk init Gtk.init (REF args)
    var wintest = new win_test()
    wintest.show_all ()
    Gtk.main ()

class win_test : Window isn't it title = "Raspberry Pi Home Server"
        default_height = 250
        default_width = 250
        window_position = WindowPosition.CENTER var button = new Button.with_label ("Press here")
        button.clicked.connect (pushed)



    definitely pushed (btn : Button)
        title = "You clicked it"
        btn.label = "You pressed me !"

La compilation avec GTK 3 installed :

valac--pkg gtk  -3.0 gtk.gs

Screenshot 2014-05-06 from 23.08.48

Simple, fast and efficient !

Bon et pour notre Raspberry Pi ? It's almost easy. But I well paved the way ! 🙂

  1. Install the C wiringPi library. Le tutoriel est sur the official page.
  2. CRera a link (the binding) between wiringPi and Vala/engineering. For that you create the file /usr/share/vala-0.16/VAPI/wiringPi.vapi with the following content :
    [CCode (cheader_filename = "wiringPi.h")]
    public const int NUM_PINS;
    [CCode (cheader_filename = "wiringPi.h")]
    public const int INPUT;
    [CCode (cheader_filename = "wiringPi.h")]
    public const int OUTPUT;
    [CCode (cheader_filename = "wiringPi.h")]
    public const int PWM_OUTPUT;
    [CCode (cheader_filename = "wiringPi.h")]
    public const int GPIO_CLOCK;
    [CCode (cheader_filename = "wiringPi.h")]
    public const int LOW;
    [CCode (cheader_filename = "wiringPi.h")]
    public const int HIGH;
    [CCode (cheader_filename = "wiringPi.h")]
    public const int PUD_OFF;
    [CCode (cheader_filename = "wiringPi.h")]
    public const int PUD_DOWN;
    [CCode (cheader_filename = "wiringPi.h")]
    public const int PUD_UP;
    [CCode (cheader_filename = "wiringPi.h")]
    public const int PWM_MODE_MS;
    [CCode (cheader_filename = "wiringPi.h")]
    public const int PWM_MODE_BAL;
    [CCode (cheader_filename = "wiringPi.h")]
    public const int INT_EDGE_SETUP;
    [CCode (cheader_filename = "wiringPi.h")]
    public const int INT_EDGE_FALLING;
    [CCode (cheader_filename = "wiringPi.h")]
    public const int INT_EDGE_RISING;
    [CCode (cheader_filename = "wiringPi.h")]
    public const int INT_EDGE_BOTH;
    [CCode (cname = "int", cprefix = "WPI_", has_type_id = false)]
    public enum Foo {
    [CCode (cname = "wiringPiSetup")]
    public int wiringPiSetup ();
    [CCode (cname = "pinMode")]
    public void pinMode (int pin, int mode);
    [CCode (cname = "digitalRead")]
    public int digitalRead (int pin);
    [CCode (cname = "digitalWrite")]
    public void digitalWrite (int pin, int value);
    [CCode (cname = "piBoardRev")]
    public int piBoardRev ();
    namespace wiringPi {
    	[CCode (cname = "int", cprefix = "WPI_MODE_", has_type_id = false)]
    	public enum WpiMode {

    This file includes part of the definitions made in the C library. I did everything but the principle is there ! You can make the setup and change the position of a GPIO.

  3. Is the program which is flashing an LED connected to the GPIO 17. Je l’ai nommé genius_test.gs
    	stdout.printf ("Raspberry Pi Board revision : %d\n", piBoardRev());
    	pinMode (0, OUTPUT) ;
    	for var i = 0 to 6
    		digitalWrite (0, HIGH);
    		Thread.usleep (500*1000);
    		digitalWrite (0, LOW);
    		Thread.usleep (500*1000);
  4. Et enfin la compilation !
    valac --pkg wiringPi -X -lwiringPi genie_test.gs ; ./genie_test

You this is so with a LED which flashes through a program that is less than 6 kb and without having to go through the more complex coding of C. You can integrate it easily into a GTK interface for example.

You can play now ! 🙂

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