CircuitPython 7.3.0 Release Candidate Brings USB Host Support, Raspberry Pi RP2040 PIO Improvements

Those looking to try out the new features can grab the release candidate, considered stable, now.

The first release candidate for CircuitPython 7.3.0 has been published — bringing with it a range of improvements including experimental support for acting as a USB Host device, new capabilities for the Raspberry Pi RP2040's programmable input/output (PIO) state machines, and initial mDNS support.

"This is CircuitPython 7.3.0-rc.0, the first release candidate for CircuitPython 7.3.0," project maintainer Dan Halbert writes of the release, which brings with it an echo of the changes introduced in MicroPython 1.18. "It is considered stable, and is available as a release candidate for testing before the final release of 7.3.0."

The biggest change to come in the new release: Support for a CircuitPython device to act as a USB Host, meaning it can accept external devices like keyboards, mice, and potentially even storage devices, printers, and audio devices — providing appropriate drivers are written, of course. Those looking to make use of the feature, however, are warned that support is still "experimental" in this release — as is CircuitPython's new support for multicast DNS (mDNS), designed to make devices easier to find on small local-area networks.

Other changes include support for USB to serial/JTAG REPL operation where boards are capable of same, initial support for the zlib compression module with gzip to follow in a future release, a change to keypad in order to scan keystates immediately when an object is created, and improved NeoPixel timings to increase device compatibility.

For those using CircuitPython on a Raspberry Pi Pico or other RP2040-based board, the new release brings with it a couple of improvements to the handling of programmable input/output (PIO) state machines: The ability to write to a PIO state machine in the background, with the potential for looping; and support for wrap and wrap_target.

The new release is available to download on Adafruit's GitHub repository now, under the permissive MIT license.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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