Adding Tasks

The official Mynewt 'Task' documentation is available at:

A task (os_task) in Mynewt is made up of a task handler function, a task 'stack' which provide the block of memory that will be used when executing the task, and a priority level.

Since Mynewt is a multitasking environment, tasks are also assigned a priority level, and at any given time the highest priority task will run. When the highest priority task stops (waiting for an event, or when delayed in code) the next highest priority task will fire, and so on until the scheduler gets down to the lowest priority task, usually called 'idle' (which will be set by the kernel when the OS starts up).

Declaring a task, priority and stack size

In order to declare a task, you need to set the task's:

  • priority
  • stack size
  • and the name of the task handler that will be run when the task is active.

The task's priority can be from 1..255, where the higher the number the lower the priority.

The stack size is in units of os_stack_t, which is usually a 32-bit value, meaning a stack size of 64 (as shown in the example below) is 256 bytes wide.

The task handler has the following signature: void my_task_func(void *arg)

/* Define task stack and task object */
#define MY_STACK_SIZE       OS_STACK_ALIGN(64)
struct os_task my_task;
os_stack_t my_task_stack[MY_STACK_SIZE];

Initializing a task

To initialize the task, you need to call the sysinit() function then add your task to the os via: os_task_init. This normally takes place in the main loop, or in a dedicated function called inside main like init_tasks().

os_task_init has the following signature and parameters:

os_task_init(struct os_task *t, const char *name, os_task_func_t func,
        void *arg, uint8_t prio, os_time_t sanity_itvl,
        os_stack_t *stack_bottom, uint16_t stack_size)
  • struct os_task *t: A pointer to the os_task to initialize
  • const char *name: The public name to associate with this task, which will be visible in the shell, newtmgr, and other reporting systems.
  • os_task_funct_t func: The function to execute when this task is active, which will have the following signature: void my_task_handler(void *arg)
  • void *arg: Optional arguments to pass into the task handler
  • uint8_t prio: The priority level for the task, lower = higher priority
  • os_time_t sanity_itvl: The time at which this task should check in with the sanity task. OS_WAIT_FOREVER means never check in.
  • os_stack_t *stack_bottom: A pointer to the bottom of a task's stack.
  • uint16_t stack_size: The size of the task's stack (in os_stack_t units), which are usually 32-bits.

The following examples initialises a task matching the values declared earlier in this document:

/* This is the main function for the project */
int main(void) {
    int rc;

    /* Initialize OS */

    /* Initialize the task */
    os_task_init(&my_task, "my_task", my_task_func, NULL, MY_TASK_PRIO,
                 OS_WAIT_FOREVER, my_task_stack, MY_STACK_SIZE);

    /* Start the OS */

    /* os start should never return. If it does, this should be an error */

    return rc;

Implementing the task handler

The last part of the system is the task handler, which will be called every time that the task is active (as determined by the scheduler).

Task handlers are infinite loops that have an initial setup face, and then normally a while(1) loop that runs forever as long as the task is active.

The following example initialises a GPIO pin as an output, setting the pin high. It then starts an infinite loop and toggles the LED every second, sleeping between 1s intervals so that other tasks can run:

Note that there are two parts to the task handler. An initial chunk of code that will be run once when the task is initialized, then a 'while (1)' loop that will be run in repetition whenever the task has focus in the scheduler.
static void
my_task_func(void *arg)
    hal_gpio_init_out(LED_BLINK_PIN, 1);

    while (1) {
        /* Wait one second */
        os_time_delay(OS_TICKS_PER_SEC * 1);

        /* Toggle the LED */

Task Delays

There are various ways that a task can be interrupted, such as delaying execution for a specific amount of time, waiting for an event on an event queue, waiting for a semaphore, etc.

Delaying your tasks is important, because as long as your task is active, no tasks of lower priority will execute. As such, it's important to manage your tasks as efficiently as possible to ensure that clock cycles are available for other tasks in the system.


The os_time_delay function is the easiest way to cause a delay in execution in your task. Simply specify a specific number of ticks, and the scheduler will mark this task as inactive for the indicated delay.

Please note that os_time_delay uses system ticks, which may vary from one system to the next, so any delays should be based on the OS_TICKS_PER_SECOND macro to remain portable.

Example: Updating apps/first/src/main.c

A simple example of adding a blinky task handler to apps/first can be implemented by updating apps/first/src/main.c with the following code, and reflashing the firmware image:

#include <assert.h>
#include <string.h>

#include "os/os.h"
#include "bsp/bsp.h"
#include "hal/hal_gpio.h"
#include "sysinit/sysinit.h"

/* Define task stack and task object */
#define LED_TASK_PRIO        (100)  /* 1 = highest, 255 = lowest */
struct os_task led_task;
os_stack_t led_task_stack[LED_STACK_SIZE];

static void led_task_func(void *arg);

main(int argc, char **argv)
    int rc;

    /* Initialize the task */
    os_task_init(&led_task, "blinky", led_task_func, NULL,
                 LED_TASK_PRIO, OS_WAIT_FOREVER, led_task_stack,

    /* Initialize the OS */

    while (1) {
        /* Run the event queue to process background events */

    return rc;

static void
led_task_func(void *arg)
    /* Configure the LED GPIO as an output and HIGH (On) */
    hal_gpio_init_out(LED_BLINK_PIN, 1);

    while (1) {
        /* Wait one second */
        os_time_delay(OS_TICKS_PER_SEC * 1);

        /* Toggle the LED */
You can vary the blinky rate by adjusting the delay in 'os_time_delay' in the task handler

Checking Task Status

You can verify the task status from the command line with the newtmgr taskstat command:

$ newtmgr -c serial1 taskstat
      task pri tid  runtime      csw    stksz   stkuse last_checkin next_checkin
    blinky 100   2        0        4       64       26        0        0
      idle 255   0      424        5       64       32        0        0
      main 127   1        0        3     1024       93        0        0
Last updated on 2017-08-18 at 01.53.37 PM Published on 2017-08-18 at 03.37.04 PM