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15 October 2017

micro:bit MicroPython Animate Class

MicroPython for the micro:bit has a useful collection of images. And you can create your own custom LED images too. This time we'll write code to create an animation based on a collection of these images.

Python's list data type is ideal for our image collection. So, we'll define a class that inherits from the list data type. In this way we automatically have all the functionality of a list object and only need to add our own custom class methods.

In this case we're going to add two methods, the first to play (line 7) the image animation and the second to loop (line 13) through a series of animation plays.

Here's the code:

Now we've defined our class we can create an instance of the Animate class (line 19), then add a number of images using the append method inherited from the list data type. All we need to do now is call the play method (line 25) to display the animation, specifying the pause interval in microseconds.

Next we remove the image collection (line 29), using the clear method inherited from the list data type, then add more images. Finally, we call the loop method (line 35), specifying the number of loops and the pause interval in microseconds.

Here's the compete code listing:

Return to the micro:bit MicroPython Coding Tutorials page.

micro:bit MicroPython Animation Code

MicroPython for the micro:bit has a useful collection of images. And you can create your own custom LED images too. So let's write some code to animate a collection of these images.

We'll use Python's built-in list data type to hold our image collection. After adding the images with the append method we can create a for loop to iterate through the list.

Here's the code:

from microbit import *

# create an empty list
images = []

# add images to list

# display each image in the list
for img in images:

Note there is a one second pause between the display of each image so we can clearly see each one.

If you'd like to add code that builds a new image collection first use the clear method to remove the old images, like this:


Next time we'll see how to create an Animation Class that incorporates both one-time play and looping functionality.

Return to the micro:bit MicroPython Coding Tutorials page.

6 October 2017

Python's Popularity Soars

Python is an increasingly popular coding language. In fact, recently the IEEE Spectrum organisation put Python at number one in its programming languages popularity ranking; above C, Java, C++ and C#.

In other words, there's never been a better time to learn the Python language or extend your Python coding skills. Here are a few ideas.

Raspberry Pi

With well over 12 million boards in circulation the Raspberry Pi computer has undoubtably helped Python's impressive adoption rate. Start your Python journey with my free 'Learn Python on the Raspberry Pi' coding tutorial series.


Discover how to code MicroPython programs that run on the micro:bit board, using either a web browser or the free-to-download Mu editor. Tutorial code examples cover interacting with the LED display, A and B buttons plus the built-in sensors.


If you're a Minecraft fan then why not use the hackable Raspberry Pi Minecraft edition to write Minecraft Python code. Other development options include writing Java code using BlueJ.

Astro Pi Data Analysis

The newly launched Astro Pi Mission Zero initiative is designed to encourage young people to create Astro Pi programs. The winning programs will be uploaded and run on the International Space Station (ISS).

In the past I've shown how to explore the downloadable Astro Pi CSV data, associated with Tim Peake's ISS mission, and the related Python Date Filter post.

1 October 2017

Thonny for RPi and micro:bit

In a previous blog post I talked out the benefits of the Thonny Python IDE.

Now the latest Raspbian Stretch operating system for the Raspberry Pi family has an updated Thonny release.

In addition, if you click the Menu > Programming > Thonny (Simple Mode) option you'll find all the essential window panes for writing Python code, with the most common features just a click away via generously-sized icons.

And for micro:bit MicroPython coding fans there's a micro:bit Thonny plugin to download and try out.

Try My Free Raspberry Pi Python Coding Tutorials