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In this chapter...

This chapter provides an overview of writing input device drivers for QNX Neutrino. Use this along with the code in the sample and hirun directories (under ddk_install_dir/ddk-input/src/hardware/devi).

DDK source code

When you install the DDK package, the source is put into a directory under the ddk_install_dir/ddk-input directory. Currently, the directory structure for the Input DDK looks like this:

Input DDK directories

Directory structure for the Input DDK.

Inside an input driver

The input driver consists of two main components:

At run time, modules are linked together to form a data path for gathering data from an input device, processing the data, and then outputting the data to the system.

There are three types of modules:

The modules are typically organized as follows:

Input chain.

The input chain.

When modules are linked together, they form an “event bus line.” Data passes from an input device up the event bus line and out to the system. Conversely, configuration control flows the other way (i.e. down the line to the device).

Types of event bus lines

There are three different types of event bus lines:

The term “relative” simply means that the device provides position data that's relative to the last location it reported. This is typically the method that mice use.

An “absolute” bus line is used with devices (e.g. touchscreens) that provide position data at absolute coordinates.

Finally, a “keyboard” type of bus line is one in which some sort of keypad device provides codes for every key press and release.

How modules are linked

As mentioned earlier, there are three types of modules:

Device-layer module
Responsible for communicating with a hardware or software device. It typically has no knowledge of the format of the data from the device; it's responsible only for getting data.
Protocol-layer module
Interprets the data it gets from a device module according to a specific protocol.
Filter module
Provides any further data manipulation common to a specific class of event bus.

Modules are linked together according to the command-line parameters passed into the input driver. The command line has the following format:

devi-driver_name [options] protocol [protocol_options]
    [device [device_options]] [filter [filter_options]]

In this example:

devi-hirun ps2 kb -2 &

the elements are as follows:

the “high-runner” input driver, which contains mouse and keyboard drivers used in most desktop systems.
specifies the PS/2 mouse protocol, a three-byte protocol indicating mouse movement and button states.
specifies the kb device module, which can communicate with a standard PC 8042-type keyboard controller.
specifies an option to the kb module, telling it to set up communication to its second (or auxiliary) port, which is for a PS/2 mouse.

You don't need to specify a filter module, because the three classes of event bus lines are represented by three modules, called rel, abs, and keyboard. When the input driver parses the command line, it can tell from the ps2 module that it needs to link in the rel filter-module. The only time you would explicitly specify a filter module on the command line is if you need to pass it optional command-line parameters. For example:

devi-hirun ps2 kb -2 rel -G2

This tells the relative filter module to multiply X and Y coordinates passed in by 2, effectively providing a gain factor (a faster-moving mouse).

Interface to the system

After data has passed from the input device up the event bus line to the filter module, it's passed to the system. There are currently two interfaces to the system:

Photon interface
This requires that the Photon server is running. It passes data from the input to Photon via raw system events. Keyboard data is given by raw keyboard events, while relative and absolute data is given by raw pointer events. See the Photon docs for more on Photon events.
Resource manager interface
This interface establishes a pathname under the /dev directory, which can be read by applications to get input data. For example, a relative event bus line would be represented by the file /dev/mouse0. Reading from /dev/mouse0 would provide pointer packets, as defined in <sys/dcmd_input.h>. Multiple opens are allowed, and device files can be opened in blocking or non-blocking mode, with I/O notification (i.e. select(), ionotify()) supported.

The default interface started by the input system is the Photon interface. If you want to run input drivers without Photon, then you'd use the resource manager interface.

You start the resource manager interface by passing the -r option to the devi-* driver. You can disable the Photon interface by passing the -P option to the devi-* driver.

Source file organization for devi-*

The input (or devi-*) source base is organized as follows:

Directory structure for the source

How the input SDK source base is organized.

The lib directory contains “glue” code used by all drivers. It contains the command-line parsing code, the code used to manipulate modules and event bus lines, the code for the Photon and resource manager interfaces, as well as the filter modules (rel, abs, and keyboard). In addition, the lib directory contains functions used by modules to request services of the input system (e.g. for attaching interrupts and pulse handlers, mapping device I/O space, etc.)

Note: We don't recommend changing anything in the lib directory. The source code is there simply to aid in understanding and debugging.

The hirun directory is an example of an actual input driver, devi-hirun. In this directory, you'll find various device and protocol modules.

The elo directory contains source for the “ELO” touchscreen drivers.

The sample directory contains sample code with lots of comments detailing the steps required to initialize your module, and what to put in your module's functions.

When writing your own input driver, you would create your own directory and put your new input modules there.