The python implementation of WPILib/HAL is derived from the Java implementation of WPILib. In particular, we strive to keep the python implementation of WPILib as close to the spirit of the original WPILib java libraries as we can, only adding language-specific features where it makes sense.

Things that you won’t find in the original WPILib can be found in the _impl package.

If you have a suggestion for things to add to WPILib, we suggest making a request to the WPILib team directly, or if appropriate you can add it to the robotpy_ext package, which is a separate package for “high quality code of things that should be in WPILib, but aren’t”. This package is installed by the RobotPy installer by default.

HAL Loading

Currently, the HAL is split into two python packages:

  • hal - Provided by the robotpy-hal-base package
  • hal_impl - Provided by either robotpy-hal-roborio or robotpy-hal-sim

You can only have a single hal_impl package installed in a particular python installation.

The hal package provides the definition of the functions and various types & required constants.

The hal_impl package provides the actual implementation of the HAL functions, or links them to a shared DLL via ctypes.

Adding options to

When run() is called, that function determines available commands that can be run, and parses command line arguments to pass to the commands. Examples of commands include:

  • Running the robot code
  • Running the robot code, connected to a simulator
  • Running unit tests on the robot code
  • And lots more!

python setuptools has a feature that allows you to extend the commands available to without needing to modify WPILib’s code. To add your own command, do the following:

  • Define a setuptools entrypoint in your package’s (see below)
  • The entrypoint name is the command to add
  • The entrypoint must point at an object that has the following properties:
    • Must have a docstring (shown when --help is given)
    • Constructor must take a single argument (it is an argparse parser which options can be added to)
    • Must have a ‘run’ function which takes two arguments: options, and robot_class. It must also take arbitrary keyword arguments via the **kwargs mechanism. If it receives arguments that it does not recognize, the entry point must ignore any such options.

If your command’s run function is called, it is your command’s responsibility to execute the robot code (if that is desired). This sample command demonstrates how to do this:

class SampleCommand:
    '''Help text shown to user'''

    def __init__(self, parser):

    def run(self, options, robot_class, **static_options):
        # runs the robot code main loop

To register your command as a robotpy extension, you must add the following to your setup() invocation:

from setuptools import setup

      entry_points={'robotpy': ['name_of_command = package.module:CommandClassName']},