The Adafruit tutorial for flashing an LED using Lua on an ESP8266 is buggy: The main loop does not yield to the underlying operating system, and instead hogs the CPU causing eventual crash - usually after about 10 seconds for me.
Here's the code reproduced from the tutorial:
while 1 do gpio.write(3, gpio.HIGH) tmr.delay(1000000) -- waits a second, without allowing OS to run gpio.write(3, gpio.LOW) tmr.delay(1000000) -- and again end
The NodeMCU people advocate using a node.js async callback style, where instead of delaying your thread, you would instead set an alarm for a callback to do the next thing. Using
tmr.delay and looping a lot is strongly discouraged because it upsets the OS.
I hate that callback style of coding (for reasons).
Lua has co-routines, though, apparently because people wanted to do things like write scripts that kept yielding back to a game engine and then resuming. (See this history of Lua)
I've recently been playing with effect systems in Haskell (see blog tag extensible-effects) and realised that Lua co-routines provide enough infrastructure for (some of) this.
So I hacked up a prototype.
The "user program" looks very much like the Adafruit example:
flashDelay = 200 -- ms function flasher() while 1 do gpio.write(3, gpio.HIGH) coroutine.yield(flashDelay) gpio.write(3, gpio.LOW) coroutine.yield(flashDelay) end endand can be run like this;
You can also use
driveCoroutineBad which uses the blocking
tmr.delay instead of the asynchronous
tmr.alarm, and get the same ESP-crashing behaviour as the original example.
The main difference is that calls to
tmr.delay are replaced by a call to
yield. In effect system language, that means the code is asking the effect handler (
driveCoroutineBad) to perform an effect (to delay by the appropriate time) rather than performing the effect itself. How that actually happens is down to the effect handler: in the bad case, just calls
tmr.delay; and in the good case, does all the wrapping up of callbacks for
This ends up looking almost identical to the code in this GitHub issue, tmr.delay() is synchronous and blocks the network stack.
On a very simple example, this is a bit overkill, but on a bigger example is probably more interesting: you can call
coroutine.yield deep down inside a whole stack of functions, which becomes tangly if you're trying to build this manually as an async callback.
Other callback style stuff is hopefully amenable to this - for example, socket handling.