Overview

Here's a great way to display the GitHub Star count for any repo. Using CircuitPython and the PyPortal library, it's easy to grab the JSON data provided by a site's API and display it dynamically.

The PyPortal's built-in WiFi connects to your network and checks for updates every minute. And, you can control the fonts, captions, colors, background image, and even play a happy sound effect when the number changes.

Plus, for extra special fanciness, mount the PyPortal to a trophy for all to admire!

Parts

Adafruit PyPortal - CircuitPython Powered Internet Display

PRODUCT ID: 4116
PyPortal, our easy-to-use IoT device that allows you to create all the things for the “Internet of Things” in minutes. Make custom touch screen interface...
$54.95
IN STOCK

USB cable - USB A to Micro-B

PRODUCT ID: 592
This here is your standard A to micro-B USB cable, for USB 1.1 or 2.0. Perfect for connecting a PC to your Metro, Feather, Raspberry Pi or other dev-board or...
$2.95
IN STOCK

Materials

  • You may want to mount your PyPortal on a handsome trophy! I got one at a thrift store for fewer than two dollars
  • You can use small zip ties or double stick tape to mount the the PyPortal to your trophy

Install CircuitPython

CircuitPython is a derivative of MicroPython designed to simplify experimentation and education on low-cost microcontrollers. It makes it easier than ever to get prototyping by requiring no upfront desktop software downloads. Simply copy and edit files on the CIRCUITPY "flash" drive to iterate.

The following instructions will show you how to install CircuitPython. If you've already installed CircuitPython but are looking to update it or reinstall it, the same steps work for that as well!

Set up CircuitPython Quick Start!

Follow this quick step-by-step for super-fast Python power :)

Click the link above to download the latest version of CircuitPython for the PyPortal.

Download and save it to your desktop (or wherever is handy).

Plug your PyPortal into your computer using a known-good USB cable.

A lot of people end up using charge-only USB cables and it is very frustrating! So make sure you have a USB cable you know is good for data sync.

Double-click the Reset button on the top in the middle (magenta arrow) on your board, and you will see the NeoPixel RGB LED (green arrow) turn green. If it turns red, check the USB cable, try another USB port, etc. Note: The little red LED next to the USB connector will pulse red. That's ok!

If double-clicking doesn't work the first time, try again. Sometimes it can take a few tries to get the rhythm right!

You will see a new disk drive appear called PORTALBOOT.

Drag the adafruit-circuitpython-pyportal-<whatever>.uf2 file to PORTALBOOT.

The LED will flash. Then, the PORTALBOOT drive will disappear and a new disk drive called CIRCUITPY will appear.

If you haven't added any code to your board, the only file that will be present is boot_out.txt. This is absolutely normal! It's time for you to add your code.py and get started!

That's it, you're done! :)

PyPortal Default Files

Click below to download a zip of the files that shipped on the PyPortal.

PyPortal CircuitPython Setup

To use all the amazing features of your PyPortal with CircuitPython, you must first install a number of libraries. This page covers that process.

Adafruit CircuitPython Bundle

Download the Adafruit CircuitPython Library Bundle. You can find the latest release here:

Download the adafruit-circuitpython-bundle-4.x-mpy-*.zip bundle zip file, and unzip a folder of the same name. Inside you'll find a lib folder. You have two options:

  • You can add the lib folder to your CIRCUITPY drive. This will ensure you have all the drivers. But it will take a bunch of space on the 8 MB disk
  • Add each library as you need it, this will reduce the space usage but you'll need to put in a little more effort.

At a minimum we recommend the following libraries, in fact we more than recommend. They're basically required. So grab them and install them into CIRCUITPY/lib now!

  • adafruit_esp32spi - This is the library that gives you internet access via the ESP32 using (you guessed it!) SPI transport. You need this for anything Internet
  • adafruit_pyportal - This is our friendly wrapper library that does a lot of our projects, displays graphics and text, fetches data from the internet. Nearly all of our projects depend on it!
  • adafruit_touchscreen - a library for reading touches from the resistive touchscreen. Handles all the analog noodling, rotation and calibration for you.
  • adafruit_io - this library helps connect the PyPortal to our free datalogging and viewing service
  • adafruit_imageload - an image display helper, required for any graphics!
  • adafruit_display_text - not surprisingly, it displays text on the screen
  • adafruit_bitmap_font - we have fancy font support, and its easy to make new fonts. This library reads and parses font files.
  • adafruit_slideshow - for making image slideshows - handy for quick display of graphics and sound
  • neopixel - for controlling the onboard neopixel
  • adafruit_adt7410 - library to read the temperature from the on-board Analog Devices ADT7410 precision temperature sensor
  • adafruit_sdcard - support for reading/writing data from the onboard SD card slot.
  • adafruit_bus_device - low level support for I2C/SPI

Internet Connect!

Once you have CircuitPython setup and libraries installed we can get your board connected to the Internet. Note that access to enterprise level secured WiFi networks is not currently supported, only WiFi networks that require SSID and password.

To get connected, you will need to start by creating a secrets file.

What's a secrets file?

We expect people to share tons of projects as they build CircuitPython WiFi widgets. What we want to avoid is people accidentally sharing their passwords or secret tokens and API keys. So, we designed all our examples to use a secrets.py file, that is in your CIRCUITPY drive, to hold secret/private/custom data. That way you can share your main project without worrying about accidentally sharing private stuff.

Your secrets.py file should look like this:

Download: file
# This file is where you keep secret settings, passwords, and tokens!
# If you put them in the code you risk committing that info or sharing it

secrets = {
    'ssid' : 'home ssid',
    'password' : 'my password',
    'timezone' : "America/New_York", # http://worldtimeapi.org/timezones
    'github_token' : 'fawfj23rakjnfawiefa',
    'hackaday_token' : 'h4xx0rs3kret',
    }

Inside is a python dictionary named secrets with a line for each entry. Each entry has an entry name (say 'ssid') and then a colon to separate it from the entry key 'home ssid' and finally a comma ,

At a minimum you'll need the ssid and password for your local WiFi setup. As you make projects you may need more tokens and keys, just add them one line at a time. See for example other tokens such as one for accessing github or the hackaday API. Other non-secret data like your timezone can also go here, just cause its called secrets doesn't mean you can't have general customization data in there!

For the correct time zone string, look at http://worldtimeapi.org/timezones and remember that if your city is not listed, look for a city in the same time zone, for example Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Miami are all on the same time as New York.

Of course, don't share your secrets.py - keep that out of GitHub, Discord or other project-sharing sites.

Connect to WiFi

OK now you have your secrets setup - you can connect to the Internet. Lets use the ESP32SPI library - you'll need to visit the CircuitPython bundle and install:

  • adafruit_bus_device
  • adafruit_esp32spi
  • neopixel

Into your lib folder. Once that's done, load up the following example using Mu or your favorite editor:

import board
import busio
from digitalio import DigitalInOut

from adafruit_esp32spi import adafruit_esp32spi
import adafruit_esp32spi.adafruit_esp32spi_requests as requests

print("ESP32 SPI webclient test")

TEXT_URL = "http://wifitest.adafruit.com/testwifi/index.html"
JSON_URL = "http://api.coindesk.com/v1/bpi/currentprice/USD.json"


# If you are using a board with pre-defined ESP32 Pins:
esp32_cs = DigitalInOut(board.ESP_CS)
esp32_ready = DigitalInOut(board.ESP_BUSY)
esp32_reset = DigitalInOut(board.ESP_RESET)

# If you have an externally connected ESP32:
# esp32_cs = DigitalInOut(board.D9)
# esp32_ready = DigitalInOut(board.D10)
# esp32_reset = DigitalInOut(board.D5)

spi = busio.SPI(board.SCK, board.MOSI, board.MISO)
esp = adafruit_esp32spi.ESP_SPIcontrol(spi, esp32_cs, esp32_ready, esp32_reset)

requests.set_interface(esp)

if esp.status == adafruit_esp32spi.WL_IDLE_STATUS:
    print("ESP32 found and in idle mode")
print("Firmware vers.", esp.firmware_version)
print("MAC addr:", [hex(i) for i in esp.MAC_address])

for ap in esp.scan_networks():
    print("\t%s\t\tRSSI: %d" % (str(ap['ssid'], 'utf-8'), ap['rssi']))

print("Connecting to AP...")
while not esp.is_connected:
    try:
        esp.connect_AP(b'MY_SSID_NAME', b'MY_SSID_PASSWORD')
    except RuntimeError as e:
        print("could not connect to AP, retrying: ",e)
        continue
print("Connected to", str(esp.ssid, 'utf-8'), "\tRSSI:", esp.rssi)
print("My IP address is", esp.pretty_ip(esp.ip_address))
print("IP lookup adafruit.com: %s" % esp.pretty_ip(esp.get_host_by_name("adafruit.com")))
print("Ping google.com: %d ms" % esp.ping("google.com"))

#esp._debug = True
print("Fetching text from", TEXT_URL)
r = requests.get(TEXT_URL)
print('-'*40)
print(r.text)
print('-'*40)
r.close()

print()
print("Fetching json from", JSON_URL)
r = requests.get(JSON_URL)
print('-'*40)
print(r.json())
print('-'*40)
r.close()

print("Done!")

And save it to your board, with the name code.py

This first connection example doesn't use a secrets file - you'll hand-enter your SSID/password to verify connectivity first!

Then go down to this line

esp.connect_AP(b'MY_SSID_NAME', b'MY_SSID_PASSWORD')

and change MY_SSID_NAME and MY_SSID_PASSWORD to your access point name and password, keeping them within the '' quotes. (This example doesn't use the secrets' file, but its also very stand-alone so if other things seem to not work you can always re-load this. You should get something like the following:

In order, the example code...

Initializes the ESP32 over SPI using the SPI port and 3 control pins:

Download: file
esp32_cs = DigitalInOut(board.ESP_CS)
esp32_ready = DigitalInOut(board.ESP_BUSY)
esp32_reset = DigitalInOut(board.ESP_RESET)

spi = busio.SPI(board.SCK, board.MOSI, board.MISO)
esp = adafruit_esp32spi.ESP_SPIcontrol(spi, esp32_cs, esp32_ready, esp32_reset)

Tells our requests mimic library the name of the WiFi interface object (this is a little bit of a hack but lets us use requests like CPython does)

Download: file
requests.set_interface(esp)

Verifies an ESP32 is found, checks the firmware and MAC address

Download: file
if esp.status == adafruit_esp32spi.WL_IDLE_STATUS:
    print("ESP32 found and in idle mode")
print("Firmware vers.", esp.firmware_version)
print("MAC addr:", [hex(i) for i in esp.MAC_address])

Performs a scan of all access points it can see and prints out the name and signal strength:

Download: file
for ap in esp.scan_networks():
    print("\t%s\t\tRSSI: %d" % (str(ap['ssid'], 'utf-8'), ap['rssi']))

Connects to the AP we've defined here, then prints out the local IP address, attempts to do a domain name lookup and ping google.com to check network connectivity (note sometimes the ping fails or takes a while, this isn't a big deal)

Download: file
    print("Connecting to AP...")
esp.connect_AP(b'MY_SSID_NAME', b'MY_SSID_PASSWORD')
print("Connected to", str(esp.ssid, 'utf-8'), "\tRSSI:", esp.rssi)
print("My IP address is", esp.pretty_ip(esp.ip_address))
print("IP lookup adafruit.com: %s" % esp.pretty_ip(esp.get_host_by_name("adafruit.com")))
print("Ping google.com: %d ms" % esp.ping("google.com"))
  

OK now we're getting to the really interesting part. With a SAMD51 or other large-RAM (well, over 32 KB) device, we can do a lot of neat tricks. Like for example we can implement an interface a lot like requests - which makes getting data really really easy

To read in all the text from a web URL call requests.get - you can pass in https URLs for SSL connectivity

Download: file
TEXT_URL = "http://wifitest.adafruit.com/testwifi/index.html"
print("Fetching text from", TEXT_URL)
r = requests.get(TEXT_URL)
print('-'*40)
print(r.text)
print('-'*40)
r.close()

Or, if the data is in structured JSON, you can get the json pre-parsed into a Python dictionary that can be easily queried or traversed. (Again, only for nRF52840, M4 and other high-RAM boards)

Download: file
JSON_URL = "http://api.coindesk.com/v1/bpi/currentprice/USD.json"
print("Fetching json from", JSON_URL)
r = requests.get(JSON_URL)
print('-'*40)
print(r.json())
print('-'*40)
r.close()

WiFi Manager

That simpletest example works but its a little finicky - you need to constantly check WiFi status and have many loops to manage connections and disconnections. For more advanced uses, we recommend using the WiFiManager object. It will wrap the connection/status/requests loop for you - reconnecting if WiFi drops, resetting the ESP32 if it gets into a bad state, etc.

Here's a more advanced example that shows the WiFi manager and also how to POST data with some extra headers:

import time
import board
import busio
from digitalio import DigitalInOut
import neopixel
from adafruit_esp32spi import adafruit_esp32spi
from adafruit_esp32spi import adafruit_esp32spi_wifimanager

print("ESP32 SPI webclient test")

# Get wifi details and more from a secrets.py file
try:
    from secrets import secrets
except ImportError:
    print("WiFi secrets are kept in secrets.py, please add them there!")
    raise

# If you are using a board with pre-defined ESP32 Pins:
esp32_cs = DigitalInOut(board.ESP_CS)
esp32_ready = DigitalInOut(board.ESP_BUSY)
esp32_reset = DigitalInOut(board.ESP_RESET)

# If you have an externally connected ESP32:
# esp32_cs = DigitalInOut(board.D9)
# esp32_ready = DigitalInOut(board.D10)
# esp32_reset = DigitalInOut(board.D5)

spi = busio.SPI(board.SCK, board.MOSI, board.MISO)
esp = adafruit_esp32spi.ESP_SPIcontrol(spi, esp32_cs, esp32_ready, esp32_reset)
"""Use below for Most Boards"""
status_light = neopixel.NeoPixel(board.NEOPIXEL, 1, brightness=0.2) # Uncomment for Most Boards
"""Uncomment below for ItsyBitsy M4"""
# status_light = dotstar.DotStar(board.APA102_SCK, board.APA102_MOSI, 1, brightness=0.2)
# Uncomment below for an externally defined RGB LED
# import adafruit_rgbled
# from adafruit_esp32spi import PWMOut
# RED_LED = PWMOut.PWMOut(esp, 26)
# GREEN_LED = PWMOut.PWMOut(esp, 27)
# BLUE_LED = PWMOut.PWMOut(esp, 25)
# status_light = adafruit_rgbled.RGBLED(RED_LED, BLUE_LED, GREEN_LED)
wifi = adafruit_esp32spi_wifimanager.ESPSPI_WiFiManager(esp, secrets, status_light)

counter = 0

while True:
    try:
        print("Posting data...", end='')
        data = counter
        feed = 'test'
        payload = {'value':data}
        response = wifi.post(
            "https://io.adafruit.com/api/v2/"+secrets['aio_username']+"/feeds/"+feed+"/data",
            json=payload,
            headers={"X-AIO-KEY":secrets['aio_key']})
        print(response.json())
        response.close()
        counter = counter + 1
        print("OK")
    except (ValueError, RuntimeError) as e:
        print("Failed to get data, retrying\n", e)
        wifi.reset()
        continue
    response = None
    time.sleep(15)

You'll note here we use a secrets.py file to manage our SSID info. The wifimanager is given the ESP32 object, secrets and a neopixel for status indication.

Note, you'll need to add a some additional information to your secrets file so that the code can query the Adafruit IO API:

  • aio_username
  • aio_key

You can go to your adafruit.io View AIO Key link to get those two values and add them to the secrets file, which will now look something like this:

Download: file
# This file is where you keep secret settings, passwords, and tokens!
# If you put them in the code you risk committing that info or sharing it

secrets = {
    'ssid' : '_your_ssid_',
    'password' : '_your_wifi_password_',
    'timezone' : "America/Los_Angeles", # http://worldtimeapi.org/timezones
    'aio_username' : '_your_aio_username_',
    'aio_key' : '_your_aio_key_',
    }

Next, set up an Adafruit IO feed named test

We can then have a simple loop for posting data to Adafruit IO without having to deal with connecting or initializing the hardware!

Take a look at your test feed on Adafruit.io and you'll see the value increase each time the CircuitPython board posts data to it!

Code PyPortal with CircuitPython

CircuitPython Code

In the embedded code element below, click on the Download: Project Zip link, and save the .zip archive file to your computer.

Then, uncompress the .zip file, it will unpack to a folder named PyPortal_GithubStars.

Copy the contents of the PyPortal_GithubStars directory to your PyPortal's CIRCUITPY drive, and then be sure to rename the stars.py file to code.py so it will automatically run when the PyPortal re-starts.

This is what the final contents of the CIRCUITPY drive will look like:

"""
This example will access the github API, grab a number like
the number of stars for a repository... and display it on a screen!
if you can find something that spits out JSON data, we can display it
"""
import time
import board
from adafruit_pyportal import PyPortal

# Get wifi details and more from a secrets.py file
try:
    from secrets import secrets
except ImportError:
    print("WiFi secrets are kept in secrets.py, please add them there!")
    raise

# Set up where we'll be fetching data from
DATA_SOURCE = "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython"
CAPTION = "www.github.com/adafruit/circuitpython"
# If we have an access token, we can query more often
if 'github_token' in secrets:
    DATA_SOURCE += "?access_token="+secrets['github_token']

# The data we want to display
DATA_LOCATION = ["stargazers_count"]

cwd = ("/"+__file__).rsplit('/', 1)[0]
pyportal = PyPortal(url=DATA_SOURCE, json_path=DATA_LOCATION,
                    status_neopixel=board.NEOPIXEL,
                    default_bg=cwd+"/stars_background.bmp",
                    text_font=cwd+"/fonts/Collegiate-50.bdf",
                    text_position=(200, 100),
                    text_color=0xFFFFFF,
                    caption_text=CAPTION,
                    caption_font=cwd+"/fonts/Arial.bdf",
                    caption_position=(40, 220),
                    caption_color=0xFFFFFF)

# track the last value so we can play a sound when it updates
last_value = 0

while True:
    try:
        value = pyportal.fetch()
        print("Response is", value)
        if last_value < value:  # ooh it went up!
            print("New star!")
            pyportal.play_file(cwd+"/coin.wav")
        last_value = value
    except (ValueError, RuntimeError) as e:
        print("Some error occured, retrying! -", e)

    time.sleep(60)  # wait a minute before getting again
If you run into any errors, such as "ImportError: no module named `adafruit_display_text.label`" be sure to update your libraries to the latest release bundle!

How It Works

The PyPortal Stats Trophy is doing a couple of neat-o things to provide for your stats-tastic display needs!

Background

First, it displays a bitmap graphic as the screen's background. This is a 320 x 240 pixel RGB 16-bit raster graphic in .bmp format.

Font

Then, it displays the repo's name as a caption, created with bitmapped fonts to overlay on top of the background. The fonts used here is are bitmap fonts made from the Collegiate and Arial typefaces. You can learn more about converting type in this guide.

Next, the PyPortal will display the current number of GitHub Stars for the repository.

JSON

To keep things current, the Star count is grabbed from the website itself.

GitHub automatically generates a JSON file for each repo, in this case at the address https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython

This file contains all sorts of information, delivered in an easy-to-parse format. If you visit that URL by copying the address in to your browser, your browser may return it as a somewhat difficult to read chunk of raw text, or if you view it in Firefox, it will format it nicely for reading.

You can also use online code "beautifiers" such as https://codebeautify.org/jsonviewer or http://jsonviewer.stack.hu

Here it is in a raw-er form, but still using indentation and carriage returns to make it readable:

Download: file
{
  "id": 66166069,
  "node_id": "MDEwOlJlcG9zaXRvcnk2NjE2NjA2OQ==",
  "name": "circuitpython",
  "full_name": "adafruit/circuitpython",
  "private": false,
  "owner": {
    "login": "adafruit",
    "id": 181069,
    "node_id": "MDEyOk9yZ2FuaXphdGlvbjE4MTA2OQ==",
    "avatar_url": "https://avatars3.githubusercontent.com/u/181069?v=4",
    "gravatar_id": "",
    "url": "https://api.github.com/users/adafruit",
    "html_url": "https://github.com/adafruit",
    "followers_url": "https://api.github.com/users/adafruit/followers",
    "following_url": "https://api.github.com/users/adafruit/following{/other_user}",
    "gists_url": "https://api.github.com/users/adafruit/gists{/gist_id}",
    "starred_url": "https://api.github.com/users/adafruit/starred{/owner}{/repo}",
    "subscriptions_url": "https://api.github.com/users/adafruit/subscriptions",
    "organizations_url": "https://api.github.com/users/adafruit/orgs",
    "repos_url": "https://api.github.com/users/adafruit/repos",
    "events_url": "https://api.github.com/users/adafruit/events{/privacy}",
    "received_events_url": "https://api.github.com/users/adafruit/received_events",
    "type": "Organization",
    "site_admin": false
  },
  "html_url": "https://github.com/adafruit/circuitpython",
  "description": "CircuitPython - a Python implementation for teaching coding with microcontrollers",
  "fork": true,
  "url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython",
  "forks_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/forks",
  "keys_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/keys{/key_id}",
  "collaborators_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/collaborators{/collaborator}",
  "teams_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/teams",
  "hooks_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/hooks",
  "issue_events_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/issues/events{/number}",
  "events_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/events",
  "assignees_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/assignees{/user}",
  "branches_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/branches{/branch}",
  "tags_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/tags",
  "blobs_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/git/blobs{/sha}",
  "git_tags_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/git/tags{/sha}",
  "git_refs_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/git/refs{/sha}",
  "trees_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/git/trees{/sha}",
  "statuses_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/statuses/{sha}",
  "languages_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/languages",
  "stargazers_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/stargazers",
  "contributors_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/contributors",
  "subscribers_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/subscribers",
  "subscription_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/subscription",
  "commits_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/commits{/sha}",
  "git_commits_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/git/commits{/sha}",
  "comments_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/comments{/number}",
  "issue_comment_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/issues/comments{/number}",
  "contents_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/contents/{+path}",
  "compare_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/compare/{base}...{head}",
  "merges_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/merges",
  "archive_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/{archive_format}{/ref}",
  "downloads_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/downloads",
  "issues_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/issues{/number}",
  "pulls_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/pulls{/number}",
  "milestones_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/milestones{/number}",
  "notifications_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/notifications{?since,all,participating}",
  "labels_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/labels{/name}",
  "releases_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/releases{/id}",
  "deployments_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython/deployments",
  "created_at": "2016-08-20T20:10:40Z",
  "updated_at": "2019-03-01T20:31:34Z",
  "pushed_at": "2019-03-01T19:07:33Z",
  "git_url": "git://github.com/adafruit/circuitpython.git",
  "ssh_url": "[email protected]:adafruit/circuitpython.git",
  "clone_url": "https://github.com/adafruit/circuitpython.git",
  "svn_url": "https://github.com/adafruit/circuitpython",
  "homepage": "",
  "size": 57300,
  "stargazers_count": 1059,
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    "milestones_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/micropython/micropython/milestones{/number}",
    "notifications_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/micropython/micropython/notifications{?since,all,participating}",
    "labels_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/micropython/micropython/labels{/name}",
    "releases_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/micropython/micropython/releases{/id}",
    "deployments_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/micropython/micropython/deployments",
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    "git_url": "git://github.com/micropython/micropython.git",
    "ssh_url": "[email protected]:micropython/micropython.git",
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    "svn_url": "https://github.com/micropython/micropython",
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      "html_url": "https://github.com/micropython",
      "followers_url": "https://api.github.com/users/micropython/followers",
      "following_url": "https://api.github.com/users/micropython/following{/other_user}",
      "gists_url": "https://api.github.com/users/micropython/gists{/gist_id}",
      "starred_url": "https://api.github.com/users/micropython/starred{/owner}{/repo}",
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    "collaborators_url": "https://api.github.com/repos/micropython/micropython/collaborators{/collaborator}",
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Keys

If we look a bit further down the JSON page, we'll see a key called stargazers_count that has a value of 1059. The raw JSON for this key : value pair looks like this: "stargazers_count": 1059

Our CircuitPython code is able to grab and parse this data using these variables:

Download: file
DATA_SOURCE = "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython"
DATA_LOCATION = ["stargazers_count"]

Traversing JSON

The DATA_LOCATION contains a value that we use to traverse the JSON file. In the image above, note how there is a tree hierarchy indicated by the indentation level. The stargazer_count key is at the root level of the file's hierarchy, so we can call it explicitly. In some JSON files, the key you seek may have a parent or parents that must be traversed as well.

PyPortal Constructor

When we set up the pyportal constructor, we are providing it with these things:

  • url to query
  • json_path to traverse and find the key:value pair we need
  • default_bg path and name to display the background bitmap
  • text_font path and name to the font used for displaying the star count value
  • text_position on the screen's x/y coordinate system
  • text_color
  • caption_text to display statically -- in this case the name of the repo
  • caption_font
  • caption_position
  • caption_color

Fetch

With the pyportal set up, we can then use pyportal.fetch() to do the query and parsing of the GitHub data and then display it on screen along with the caption text on top of the background image.

Ba-Ding!

Additionally, we use the last_value variable's state to compare against the latest value. If they differ, we play the coin.wav file for a satisfying ding over the PyPortal's built in speaker!

To make your own .wav files, check out this guide.

Customization

You can customize this project to make it your own and point to different website API's as the source of your JSON data, as well as adjust the graphics and text.

Text Position

Depending on the design of your background bitmap and the length of the text you're displaying, you may want to reposition the text and caption. You can do this with the text_position and caption_position options.

The PyPortal's display is 320 pixels wide and 240 pixels high. In order to refer to those positions on the screen, we use an x/y coordinate system, where x is horizontal and y is vertical.

The origin of this coordinate system is the upper left corner. This means that a pixel placed at the upper left corner would be (0,0) and the lower right corner would be (320, 240).

So, if you wanted to move the subscriber count text to the right and up closer to the top, your code may look like this for that part of the pyportal constructor: text_position=(250, 10)

Text Color

Another way to customize your stats trophy is to adjust the color of the text. The line text_color=0xFFFFFF in the constructor shows how. You will need to use the hexidecimal value for any color you want to display.

You can use something like https://htmlcolorcodes.com/ to pick your color and then copy the hex value, in this example it would be 0x0ED9EE

Background Image

If you would like to create your own background, awesome! You'll want to save the file with these specifications:

  • 320 x 240 pixels
  • 24-bit RGB color (8-bits per channel)
  • Save file as .bmp format

You can then copy the .bmp file to the root level of the CIRCUITPY drive. Make sure you refer to this new filename in the pyportal constructor line:

default_bg=cwd+"/stars_background.bmp"

Change that line to use the new filename name, such as:

default_bg=cwd+"/my_new_background.bmp"

Advanced Option: API Key

The GitHub API allows up to ten queries per minute for an unauthenticated request. If you would like to query your GitHub stars stats at a higher rate, up to 30 per minute, you can do so by adding your GitHub API key token to the secrets.py file. The code we're using checks for the presence of the github_token variable in the file, and if it's there, it adds that argument to the query.

Here's more info on the query limits. To get a token, follow these instruction.

Once you have your token, add it to the secrets.py file. Your file should look something like this:

Download: file
secrets = {
    'ssid' : '_your_wifi_ssid_',
    'password' : '_your_wifi_password',
    'timezone' : "America/Los_Angeles", # this is offset from UTC
    'location' : "Los Angeles, US",
    'github_token' : 'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx',
    }

Save your secrets file and now you can query three times as fast!

Now, we'll look at mounting the PyPortal onto a trophy for display!

Build the Trophy

Now that you've got your PyPortal displaying your stats, dress things up a bit with a re-purposed trophy! C'mon, you know you've got one in a box somewhere. If not, get one at a yard sale or thrift shop.

Prep

Remove off any unnecessary parts or labels from your trophy if you like.

In this case, I'm going to mount the PyPortal in the center, so I'll remove the (admittedly awesome) spinning "KICKBALL" element.

Mounting

Using zip ties, connect each of the four mounting holes of the PyPortal to the trophy.

Alternately, you can use double-stick foam mounting tape or some other method to mount it.

Now, your display is complete, just plug it into USB power and admire your achievements!

This guide was first published on Mar 01, 2019. It was last updated on Mar 01, 2019.