Overview of Azure RTOS GUIX and Azure RTOS GUIX Studio

Azure GUIX embedded GUI is Microsoft’s advanced, industrial grade GUI solution designed specifically for deeply embedded, real-time, and IoT applications. Microsoft also provides a full-featured WYSIWYG desktop design tool named Azure RTOS GUIX Studio, which allows developers to design their GUI on the desktop and generate Azure RTOS GUIX embedded GUI code that can then be exported to the target. Azure RTOS GUIX is fully integrated with Azure RTOS ThreadX RTOS and is available for many of the same processors supported by Azure RTOS ThreadX. All of this combined with an extremely small footprint, fast execution, and superior ease-of-use, make Azure RTOS GUIX the ideal choice for the most demanding embedded IoT applications requiring a user interface.


Powerful APIs

  • Full support for direct canvas drawing when needed
  • Simple to interact with Azure RTOS GUIX Studio generated code
  • APIs for line, rectangle, polygon, etc.
  • APIs for circle, arc, pie, chord, ellipse, etc.
  • APIs for text drawing and positioning
  • Anti-aliasing, texture fills, and solid fills
  • APIs for creating and modifing screens and widgets

Azure RTOS GUIX Studio Generated Files

  • Automatically generated ANSI C source files
  • Insulates application software from layout details
  • Includes fonts and images required by UI design
  • Generated files compiled with application code
  • Screen layout can be updated without affecting application logic
  • Resource IDs create language and theme independence
  • User-supplied custom drawing and event processing functions

Widget library

  • Pre-defined but customizable set of common interface elements
  • Extremely small, compact, and efficient
  • Library includes button, gauge, list, window, scroll, slider, progress bar, prompt and many more
  • Fully customizable drawing and appearance
  • Fully customizable operation and event handling
  • Only the widgets used are linked with application software

Math and utilities

  • Functions for sin, cos, arcsin, arccos, tangent, square root
  • Functions for manipulating screen regions
  • System configuration and startup
  • Memory pool definition (optional)
  • Timer Management
  • Animation Management
  • Dirty list maintenance

Image processing

  • Functions for runtime decode of jpeg and png images
  • Apply dithering and color space conversion
  • Image rotation
  • Image scaling
  • Image blending

Event processing

  • Automatically suspends Azure RTOS GUIX thread when idle
  • Event-driven programming model popular in UI design
  • Insulates input drivers from Azure RTOS GUIX drawing thread
  • Functions for sending and receiving events
  • Pre-defined event types for all Azure RTOS GUIX widget types
  • User-defined custom events supported

Canvas processing

  • Clipping and Z-Order maintenance
  • Insulates widget library from hardware details
  • Insulates application from hardware details
  • Automatic background refresh of dirty areas
  • Multiple canvases with layering and blending supported
  • Can be invoked directly by the application software

Input device driver(s)

  • Hardware-specific support, Azure RTOS GUIX and application insulated from hardware details
  • Resistive Touch, Cap Touch, and keypad supported
  • Input events passed to Azure RTOS GUIX event queue

Display drivers

  • Hardware-specific support
  • Generic drivers provided for all color depth and formats
  • Customized to utilize available graphics accelerators

Target hardware

  • Nearly any hardware capable of graphical output Is compatible with GUIX
  • Multiple physical displays supported
  • Minimal RAM and Flash requirements

Create Elegant User Interfaces

Azure RTOS GUIX and Azure RTOS GUIX Studio provide all the features necessary to create uniquely elegant user interfaces. The standard Azure RTOS GUIX package includes various sample user interfaces, including a medical device reference, a smart watch reference, a home automation reference, an industrial control reference, an automotive reference, and various sprite and animation examples. Please click on the reference examples shown below.

Home Automation

Screenshot of the GUIX home automation


Screenshot of the GUIX medical device


Screenshot of the GUIX Consumer smart watch

White Goods

Screenshot of the GUIX white goods exaample


Screenshot of the GUIX automotive


Screenshot of the GUIX industrial control

Each Azure RTOS GUIX reference has a corresponding Azure RTOS GUIX Studio project that defines all the graphical elements of the reference design. Changing a reference design is easy. Simply open the corresponding Azure RTOS GUIX project, make the desired changes, save the project, and then select Project.

Generate All Output Files to generate the C code for Azure RTOS GUIX. Then simply rebuild the target application and run to observe the modified reference design.

GUIX Memory footprint

Azure RTOS GUIX has a remarkably small minimal footprint of 13.2KB of FLASH and 4KB RAM for basic support, not including the memory required for a canvas.

For a display with internal GRAM and self-refresh technology, no canvas memory is required. However, to improve drawing performance, or for a display configuration that does not utilize GRAM local to the display, a canvas memory area is defined by the application.

Canvas memory requirements are a function of the canvas size as well as the color depth, and are defined by the formula:

Canvas RAM (bytes) = (x * y * (bpp/8))

Where “x” and “y” are the dimensions of the canvas (display).

Most applications also utilize graphical resources, which are not included in the core Azure RTOS GUIX library storage requirements. These resources include fonts, graphical icons (pixelmaps), and static strings. This data can be stored in the const memory section (i.e. FLASH).

The size of this memory area is dependent on a number of factors, including the number and size of unique fonts used, the number and size of the graphical icons used, the output color format, and whether or not each resource is using compressed data, since Azure RTOS GUIX supports RLE compression of both font and pixelmap data. The storage requirements for each resource are displayed within the Azure RTOS GUIX Studio application, allowing the user to track and monitor the amount of flash memory that will be consumed by the application resources.

Like Azure RTOS ThreadX, the size of Azure RTOS GUIX automatically scales based on the services actually used by the application. This virtually eliminates the need for complicated configuration and build parameters, making things easier for the developer.

Simple, easy-to-use

Azure RTOS GUIX is very simple to use and Azure RTOS GUIX Studio makes it even easier by allowing developers to visually design on the desktop and generate C code that runs on the actual target. Applications can then add their own custom event handling and drawing functions to complete their GUI.

Using the Azure RTOS GUIX API is straightforward. The Azure RTOS GUIX API is both intuitive and highly functional. The API names are made of real words and not the “alphabet soup” and/or the highly abbreviated names that are so common in other file system products. All Azure RTOS GUIX APIs have a leading gx_ and follow a noun-verb naming convention. Furthermore, there is a functional consistency throughout the API. For example, all APIs that initialize a widget control block are named < widget_type>_create, and the create function parameters for each widget type are always defined in the same order.

Comprehensive set of built-in widgets

  • Azure RTOS GUIX provides a rich set of built-in widgets, including:
  • Accordion Menu
  • Button
  • Checkbox
  • Circular Gauge
  • Drop Down List
  • Horizontal List
  • Horizontal Scrollbar Window
  • Icon
  • Icon Button
  • Line Chart
  • Menu
  • Multi Line Text Button
  • Multi Line Text Input
  • Multi Line Text View
  • Numeric Pixelmap Prompt
  • Numeric Prompt
  • Numeric Scroll Wheel
  • Pixelmap Button
  • Pixelmap Prompt
  • Pixelmap Slider
  • Pixelmap Sprite
  • Progress Bar
  • Prompt
  • Radial Progress Bar
  • Radio Button
  • Scroll Wheel
  • Single Line Text Input
  • Slider
  • String Scroll Wheel
  • Text Button
  • Tree View
  • Vertical List
  • Vertical Scrollbar

It’s easy for the application to create its own customer widgets as well.

Complete low-level drawing API

Azure RTOS GUIX provides a robust canvas drawing API, allowing the application to render complex graphical shapes.

All functions support anti-aliasing on high color depth targets, and all shapes can be filled our outlined, including solid and pixelmap pattern fills. All drawing primitives support brush alpha when running at 16 bpp and higher color depth. Drawing functions include:

  • Arc Draw
  • Circle Draw
  • Line Draw
  • Pie Draw
  • Pixelmap Blend
  • Pixelmap Tile
  • Polygon Draw
  • Text Draw
  • Chord Draw
  • Ellipse Draw
  • Pixel Draw
  • Pixelmap Draw
  • Pixelmap Rotate
  • Rectangle Draw
  • Text Blend

Default free fonts and easy to add more

Azure RTOS GUIX provides a free set of TrueType fonts. Developers can add additional TrueType fonts as desired.

The Azure RTOS GUIX font format supports 8bpp anti-aliasing, 4bpp anti-aliasing, and 1bpp monochrome fonts. For the most resource-constrained applications, Azure RTOS GUIX pre-renders the TrueType fonts to a compressed bitmap format using our GUIX Studio desktop tool.

Custom JPG and PNG decoder implementation

Custom JPG and PNG decoder implementation JPG and PNG file decoder implementation. This implementation supports color space conversion, dithering, and runtime creation of Azure RTOS GUIX-compatible pixelmap format images.

Extensive display and touchscreen support

Azure RTOS GUIX provides generic display drivers for nearly all color formats, including 1bpp monochrome, 8 bpp palette, 8 bpp 3:3:2 format,

16 bpp 565 rgb format, 16 bpp 4:4:4:4 format, 32 bpp x:r:g:b format, and 32 bpp a:r:g:b format. In addition, Azure RTOS GUIX is integrated with many of the most popular LCD controllers and hardware accelerators (ST ChromeArt, Renesas Synergy, etc.).

Azure RTOS GUIX fully supports touchscreen (including gesture support), pen, and virtual keyboard input devices.

Azure RTOS GUIX Studio desktop WYSIWYG tool

Azure RTOS GUIX Studio provides a complete WYSIWYG screen design environment which allows the user to drag-and-drop graphical elements used to build the GUI screens. Azure RTOS GUIX Studio automatically generates C code compatible with the Azure RTOS GUIX library, ready to be compiled and run on the target. Developers can produce pre-rendered fonts for use within an application using the integrated Azure RTOS GUIX Studio font generation tool. Fonts can be generated in monochrome or anti-aliased formats, and are optimized to save space on the target. Fonts can include any set of characters, including Unicode characters for multi-lingual applications.

Diagram of SGS-TUV Saar certification logo

Azure RTOS GUIX Studio facilitates the import of graphics from PNG or JPG files with conversion to compressed Azure RTOS GUIX Pixelmaps for use on the target system. Many of the Azure RTOS GUIX widget types are designed to incorporate user graphics for a custom look and feel. In addition, Azure RTOS GUIX Studio allows customization of the default colors and drawing styles used by the Azure RTOS GUIX widgets, allowing developers to tune the appearance of Azure RTOS GUIX very easily. Generation and maintenance of application strings is another built-in facility of Azure RTOS GUIX Studio. This enables developers to design an application using one language for developing, and quickly and easily add support for additional languages after the product is released. A complete Azure RTOS GUIX application can be executed on a PC desktop within the Azure RTOS GUIX Studio environment, allowing a quick and easy generation and demonstration of GUI concepts, testing of screen flows, and observation of screen transitions and animations. When completed, a design can be exported as target-ready C data structures, ready to be compiled and linked with the Azure RTOS GUIX and Azure RTOS ThreadX libraries.

Azure RTOS GUIX and Azure RTOS GUIX Studio support multiple resource themes, allowing an application to be easily reskinned at run-time. Fonts, colors, and pixelmaps can be changed at run-time with one simple API.

Learn more about GUIX Studio

Complete Win32 simulation

Azure RTOS GUIX runs on a Windows PC, using exactly the same drawing library that runs on the target board. With Azure RTOS GUIX, you can build and run a GUI application on the PC, and use the same application code on your target for debugging, rapid prototyping, demonstration, and WYSIWYG target operation.

Advanced technology

  • Azure RTOS GUIX's advanced technology incorporates:
  • Alpha blending
  • Anti-Aliasing
  • Automatic scaling
  • Bitmap compression
  • Canvas blending
  • Custom widget support
  • Deferred drawing support
  • Dithering support
  • Endian neutral programming
  • Hardware accelerator support
  • Multilingual support and UTF-8 encoding
  • Multiple display and canvas support
  • Optimized clipping, drawing, and event handling
  • Runtime JPEG and PNG decoder
  • Skinning and Themes
  • Supports monochrome through 32-bit true-color with alpha graphics formats
  • Transitions, Sprites, and Animation support
  • Win32 simulation
  • Window management including Viewports and Z-order maintenance