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  • MicroPython
    4 min | 24896

    #MicroPython: VSCode IntelliSense, Autocompletion & Linting capabilities

    MicroPython | 4 min | 24896

    Last December, I wrote an article telling you that I was switching from to Visual Studio Code to program MicroPython. Nowadays, I'm still using VSCode and the PyMakr extension. The latter enables the communication to a board running MicroPython using the built-in command line REPL. Thus, I can run a single file on my board, sync my entire project or directly type and execute commands using the Terminal on VSCode. However, I was missing some of the main features of VSCode, namely IntelliSense, autocompletion, and linting capabilities. Last month, BradenM contacted me and told me that he had programmed a new module that enables those features on VSCode for MicroPython! Then, this tutorial is to introduce the micropy-cli solution, which I am very happy with!


    For this tutorial, you need the following software and optional the following ESP32 board:

    • VSCode
    • micropy-cli
    VSCode Extensions
    • PyMakr extension


    Installing micropy-cli

    You need Python3 to run this extension and to install it you need pip. You can check if it is installed typing the following:

    user@lemariva:~$ pip --version
    pip 9.0.1 from /usr/lib/python3/dist-packages (python 3.6)

    If not, just type on Linux:

    user@lemariva:~$ sudo apt-get install python3-pip

    on Windows, check this link.

    Then, you need to install micropy-cli as:

    user@lemariva:~$ pip install --upgrade micropy-cli
    Collecting micropy-cli

    Setting a Project

    After installing the Python module, you can open VSCode and then, open the folder in which you have your project. Then, using the Terminal that you got on VSCode (if you don't see it, hit on Ctrl+` -Ctrl + back-tick character-, or drag the lower horizontal bar up) and type the following to search and install a MicroPython stub (in my case for the ESP32):

    # Searching for the MicroPython Stubs
    user@lemariva:~/uPyEink$ micropy stubs search esp32
    MicroPy  Searching Stub Repositories...
    MicroPy  Results for esp32:
    MicroPy  esp32-micropython-1.10.0
    MicroPy  esp32-micropython-1.11.0 (Installed)
    MicroPy  esp32-micropython-1.9.4
    MicroPy  esp32-pycopy-1.11.0
    MicroPy  esp32-pycopy-
    MicroPy  esp32_LoBo
    MicroPy  esp32_LoBo-esp32_LoBo-3.2.24
    # Installing the last version of the stub for the ESP32
    user@lemariva:~/uPyEink$ micropy stubs add esp32-micropython-1.11.0
    MicroPy  Adding esp32-micropython-1.11.0 to stubs
    MicroPy  Resolving stub...
    MicroPy  esp32-micropython-1.11.0: 100%|██████████████████████████████████████████████████| [13.4k/13.4k @ 15.9kB/s]
    MicroPy  Detected Firmware: micropython
    MicroPy  Firmware not found locally, attempting to install it...
    MicroPy  Resolving stub...
    MicroPy  micropython: 100%|███████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████| [36.6k/36.6k @ 63.9kB/s]
    MicroPy  ✔ micropython firmware added!
    MicroPy  ✔ esp32-micropython-1.11.0 added!

    As I said, in my case, I've installed the MicroPython stub v.1.11.0 for the ESP32. The stub files are the magic behind how micropy allows features such as linting, IntelliSense, and autocompletion to work (as described in the README of the repository). After doing this, you can initiate a project typing micropy init on the VSCode Terminal. The extension asks you 3 questions: project name, type of template and stub that you need:

    user@lemariva:~/uPyEink$ micropy init
    MicroPy  Creating New Project
    ? Project Name uPyEink                                                                                              
    ? Choose any Templates to Generate  (Use arrow keys to move, <space> to select, <a>
     to toggle, <i> to invert)                                                         
     » ● VSCode Settings for Autocompletion/Intellisense
       ○ Pymakr Configuration
       ○ Pylint Micropython Settings
       ○ & files
    ? Which stubs would you like to use?  (Use arrow keys to move, <space> to select, <
    a> to toggle, <i> to invert)                                                       
     » ● esp32-micropython-1.11.0

    After answering those questions (select the option using <space> - filled circle!), you get the following confirmation that everything is installed and working:

    MicroPy  Initiating uPyEink
    MicroPy  Stubs: esp32-micropython-1.11.0 
    MicroPy  Rendering Templates
    MicroPy  Populating Stub info...
    MicroPy  Vscode template generated!
    MicroPy  ✔ Stubs Injected!
    MicroPy  ✔ Project Created! 
    MicroPy  Created uPyEink at ./.

    Then, you can start using the Python extension in your project. An example can be seen in Fig. 1.

    Fig. 1: Checking the micropy-cli functionalities

    Installing MicroPython Extensions

    micropy-cli has also a dependency management system. If your project needs a MicroPython module, you can add it by typing, while in your project's root directory, the following: micropy install <PACKAGE_NAMES>.

    # Example: picoweb
    user@lemariva:~/uPyEink$ micropy install picoweb
    MicroPy  Loading Project
    MicroPy  esp32-micropython-1.11.0 is already installed!
    MicroPy  ✔ Project Ready!
    MicroPy  Installing Packages
    MicroPy  Adding picoweb to requirements...
    MicroPy  picoweb-1.7.2.tar.gz: 100%|█████████████████████| [7.61k/7.61k @ 3.98MB/s]
    MicroPy  ✔ Package installed!

    After installing the package, autocompletion and IntelliSense help you to program your code as you can see in Fig. 2.

    Fig. 2: Checking the micropy-cli with MicroPython extensions (picoweb)

    The line micropy install <PACKAGE_NAMES> also creates a requirements.txt file inside the directory listing the modules that you've installed.

    However, you still need to install the packages on the target board (ESP32, ESP8266, etc.). To do that, you can follow this tutorial.

    Uploading the Code

    To upload your code, you still need the PyMakr extension. You can type again micropy init and this time select Pymakr Configuration. This creates the pymakr.conf with the needed settings to connect to your target board.

    Be aware that the standard configuration is using "address": "", which is not always the case if you're just starting to program the board. Change the option value to /dev/ttyUSBx (Linux, macOS) or the corresponding COMxx (Windows) if you're connected to the target board using the USB port, and read this article to learn how to upload the files. Additionally, check the option "sync_folder": "src", it should point to the folder to sync, if you don't need it (upload the whole project), you can delete it.

    VSCode PyMakr Error (Update 01.08.2019) - Only version 1.36.1:

    Today, I tried to upload the files to an ESP32 and I got following error on VSCode::

    There was an error with your serialport module, Pymakr will likely not work properly. Please try to install again or report an issue on our github (see developer console for details)

    This is not a micropy-cli problem, but a PyMakr problem. Apparently this is caused by VSCode switching to a newer version of Electron (4.2.5), which requires a different binding for the serialport module in order to work. If you go to VSCode > Help > About, you can see your Electron version as in Fig. 3.

    Fig. 3: VSCode About

    To solve the problem you need to rebuild the binding. Thus, open a CMD or Terminal and type the following:

    npm install -g prebuild-install # use sudo if required
    cd ~/.vscode/extensions/    # depeding on your platform this changes (see Note 1)
    cd pycom.pymakr-1.1.3  
    cd node_modules/@serialport/bindings
    prebuild-install --runtime electron --target 4.2.5 --tag-prefix @serialport/bindings@ --verbose --force
    # Restart VSCode, then all is working
    Note 1: Depending on your platform, go to the extension location in the following folder:
    • - Windows %USERPROFILE%\.vscode\extensions
    • - macOS ~/.vscode/extensions`
    • - Linux ~/.vscode/extensions`


    The micropy-cli module is an excellent option to program MicroPython using VSCode. It's an optimal complement to PyMakr and allows you to use the features of VSCode (IntelliSense, autocompletion, and linting capabilities). If you are programming MicroPython, you need to switch to VSCode right now and install the micropy-cli module and the Pymakr extension.