Visual Studio Code Development

This describes how to development C++ applications in the MLTK using Microsoft Visual Studio Code.
Using this guide, you can build C++ applications for Windows/Linux or supported embedded platforms.

NOTES:

  • All of the MLTK C++ source code may be found at: mltk repo/cpp

  • Internally, VSCode uses CMake to build the applications

  • Refer to the example applications or Python wrappers documentation for more details about what comes with the MLTK

  • Alternatively, applications may be built for Silicon Lab’s embedded targets using Simplicity Studio

Install Tools

First, we need to install a few tools:

0) Setup OS

If you’re on Windows, enable long file paths: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/win32/fileio/maximum-file-path-limitation?tabs=registry

Also install the Visual Studio C++ compiler (this is needed to build some of the 3rd party Python packages for Python 3.10): https://visualstudio.microsoft.com/visual-cpp-build-tools/

Be sure to check the __Desktop Development with C++__ workload in the installer GUI.

If you’re on Linux, run the following command to install the necessary packages:

sudo apt-get -y install build-essential g++-9 cmake ninja-build gdb p7zip-full git-lfs python3-dev python3-venv libusb-1.0-0 libgl1

1) Install CMake

CMake is a build system utility used to build the C++ applications.
Install CMake and ensure it is available on the command PATH
More details here: https://cmake.org/install

2) Install 7-Zip

7-Zip is a file archiver with a high compression ratio.
Several of the assets downloaded by the MLTK are compressed in this format.
More details here: https://www.7-zip.org/download.html

3) Install Python

Install Python 3.7, 3.8, 3.9 or 3.10 64-bit and ensure it is available on the command PATH
More details here: https://www.python.org/downloads

4) Install Segger GDB Debug Server

While not required, this is used to single-step debug an embedded development board.
If you’re only build for Window/Linux then you can skip this step.

Download and install the J-Link Software Pack:
https://www.segger.com/downloads/jlink/#J-LinkSoftwareAndDocumentationPack

If using Windows, select the 64-bit installer:
https://www.segger.com/downloads/jlink/JLink_Windows_x86_64.exe

5) Install a Serial Terminal

While not required, this is used to view the serial logs from an embedded development board. If you’re only build for Window/Linux then you can skip this step.

For Windows, TeraTerm is a free serial terminal.

6) Install GIT

If necessary, install Git:
https://git-scm.com/downloads

7) Windows: Install the C++ Redistributable Package

If you’re using Windows, install the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2015, 2017 and 2019 which is required by Tensorflow

Install MLTK

Next, we need to install the MLTK:

1) Clone the MLTK repository

# Clone the MLTK GIT repository
git clone https://github.com/siliconlabs/mltk.git

Then navigate to the MLTK repository directory

cd mltk

2) Run the install script

python .\install_mltk.py
python3 ./install_mltk.py

3) Activate the MLTK Python virtual environment

Activate the MLTK’s Python virtual environment:

.\.venv\Scripts\activate.bat
source ./.venv/bin/activate

After activation, the mltk command should be available on the command-line:

mltk --help

VSCode Setup

With the MLTK installed, let’s get Visual Studio Code setup.

1) Install VSCode

Download and install Visual Studio Code

2) Open the MLTK VSCode workspace

4) Select the Python Interpreter

Select the MLTK virtual environment’s Python interpreter.

It has the similar to:

<mltk dir>\.venv\Scripts\python.exe    <-- Windows
<mltk dir>/.venv/bin/python3           <--- Linux

Build for Windows or Linux

Many of the MLTK applications support running on Windows/Linux or embedded targets.
The following describes how to build for Windows/Linux.

1) Optionally create file: user_options.cmake

Optionally create the file: <mltk repo root>/user_options.cmake

And add any build specific settings. Refer to the Build Options for more details on the available settings.

2) Select the CMake Kit

Based on your host OS, select one of the following CMake kits:

  • MLTK-Windows-GCC

  • MLTK-Linux-GCC

3) Configure the CMake Project

Configure the CMake project (this may take awhile):

4) Select the build type and build target

Select the CMake build type, the build target, then build the application.

In this example, we build the mltk_hello_world application in release mode:

5) Build and run application

This shows how to:

  • Build as release

  • Run the mltk_hello_world application:

6) Or debug application

Alternatively, you can build as debug and single-step debug the application.
This shows how to:

  • Set a breakpoint

  • Build as debug

  • Debug the mltk_model_profiler application

Build for embedded

The MLTK also supports building and running/debugging applications on supported development boards.

0) Configure Serial Terminal

A serial terminal is needed to view the logs generated by the development board.
For Windows, TeraTerm is a free serial terminal.

First, connect your dev board via USB.

Then, open the serial terminal program and select the COM Port that has a description similar to: J-Link CDC Uart and set the Speed (aka BAUD Rate) to 115200:

1) Create file: user_options.cmake

Create the file: <mltk repo root>/user_options.cmake

And add the following to it:

mltk_set(MLTK_PLATFORM_NAME brd2601)

This creates a CMake variable and tells the build system to use the brd2601 platform.
Refer to Supported Hardware for more details.

NOTE: If this variable is not defined, then the host operating system (e.g. windows or linux) is automatically selected.

Refer to the Build Options for more details on the available settings.

2) Select the MLTK-ARM-GCC CMake Kit

3) Configure the CMake Project

Configure the CMake project (this may take awhile):

4) Select the build type and build target

Select the CMake build type, the build target, then build the application.

In this example, we build the mltk_hello_world application in release mode:

5) Build, download, and run application

The hello_world MLTK application has three “targets”:

  • mltk_hello_world - Build the application

  • mltk_hello_world_download - Build the application and download it to the development board

  • mltk_hello_world_reset - Reset the development board

Other applications have similar targets, e.g.:

  • mltk_model_profiler

  • mltk_model_profiler_download

  • mltk_model_profiler_reset

NOTES:

  • A supported development board must be connected via USB

  • You must have Segger J-Link installed (see the Install Tools section) and also a serial terminal to view the logs generated by the development board.

This shows how to:

  • Build as release

  • Download to the embedded development board

  • Run the mltk_hello_world application

6) Build, download, and debug application

NOTES:

  • A supported development board must be connected via USB

  • You must have Segger J-Link installed (see the Install Tools section) and also a serial terminal to view the logs generated by the development board.

This shows how to:

  • Build as debug

  • Set a breakpoint

  • Download to the embedded development board

  • Debug the mltk_model_profiler application

Example Applications

Refer to the Examples documentation for more details about the applications that come with the MLTK.

Python Wrappers

Refer to the Python wrappers documentation for more details about the wrappers that come with the MLTK.