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eLuaWebBuilderBasics

First steps on the eLua Web Builder

Overview

The eLua Web Builder is a free service offered to the community, to generate eLua firmware images for your boards without the need to install any development tools in you machine. All you need to use it is a browser.

Using the builder

Registering

To start using the builder, open your prefered browser and go to http://builder.eluaproject.net. You need to register a login name and a password, so that the builder can store previously build eLua images and files you upload, in a special area that only you will have access. So click on the "Create Account" link just below the submit button and complete the registration form. Once you press SUBMIT, if your fields are validated, you will be automatically logged on the builder.

The Main Page

The main page shows you two lists of files that are kept by the builder, in private areas associated with your account.

  • The first is a list of previous builds you have done, called the "Configured Builds" area.
  • The second is a list of files you have previously uploaded and is called the "Stored Files" area.

Of course, if this is the first time you are using the builder, both of the areas will show empty lists, as you don't have previous builds or uploaded files.

The Configured Builds area

Previous builds are kept on the builder until you delete them, you can download them whenever you want and you can also edit it's options and rebuild them accordingly. The new edited builds will replace the previous ones.

The Stored Files area

When you generate your builds, you will be able to selectively include any of this files on the eLua ROM File System (ROMFS) and use it on your eLua applications. To know more about the ROM File System check our main doc at http://www.eluaproject.net/en_arch_romfs.html

Our first web build

To make our first build a bit more useful than simply having the Lua interpreted embedded, let's create a simple program and upload it to the Stored Files area. This will allow us to configure our build to include it and we'll later test it on our board. First, open your prefered text editor and type any single program in Lua, like:

   1 print("Hello World!")
   2 

... then save it anywhere on your machine and we'll call it hello.lua in this tutorial. To upload this file to your Stored Files area, first click on the BROWSE button and point to where you saved the file. The file will not be uploaded immediately and will appear right below the button. This makes possible for you to specify several files and then upload them on just one operation. When you are ready to upload your file(s), click the UPLOAD button.

Now let's configure our first build. Click on the NEW BUILD button to enter the build configuration page. The fields are pretty self-explanatory and also have "?" icons on the right with some more information.

  • You can give a name for your build or simply accept the suggested one on the Build Configuration Name field. The suggested name is based on the date and time of the build.
  • The builder needs to know which target board you are configuring your build for. So please select on the Target Platform pull down box, the platform you want it to build for. All the eLua supported boards are listed there and this is an ever growing list.

  • Now you can specify which files you want to include in the ROM File System that will be part of the build for your board. You will chose files among the ones you have previously uploaded to your Stored Files area and you can also upload some now if you haven't done it before. As you already have your hello.lua on your Stored Files area, click the +Add Files button on the right and then select it with the +Add button on the popup window/list. Do this for every file you want to be included on your soon-to-be-generated eLua binary image then close this selection window. Note that now the selected files are listed on the ROM File System list. You can also select one (and only one) of them to be automatically run when you power or reset your board. For this, simply check the radio button on the desired file. You can use this to start a menu program that will select some others or to start a turnkey application you have created. Search for autorun on the doc for more information on this feature.

  • Right below you'll see that we are working on a Basic mode and that there is an Advanced mode available on the builder too. The Basic mode is sufficient to configure the options we want on this first build, so let's leave the Advanced mode for a later tutorial.

Now just press SAVE and watch our servers build eLua with your configurations and files for your board.

The Main Page will be shown again and now you have a new build on your Build Configurations area. Each generated build is a .zip file, that contains the binary image that you will flash into your board, along with some other useful information in some cases. Click on the Download icon to download it to your machine, extract to your working folder and then flash the binary image on your board. Connect your board to a terminal emulator and you are ready to use your program(s) or experiment interactively with the Lua interpreter.

For instructions on how to use eLua on each supported boards and platforms, please refer to the corresponding link on the kits page.

To delete build configurations that you no longer need, click on the Delete icon. To change options on your configuration and generate a new build with it, click on the Edit icon and go through the options as explained above. When you press SAVE again, a new firmware image will be built and replace the one you had on that entry.