Writing Expressions

Table of Contents

  1. Writing Patterns
  2. Supported Language Features
  3. Language limitations
  4. Variables
  5. Constants
  6. Functions

Writing Patterns

Enter code above, and everything you type is compiled on the fly. If your program is valid, it is sent down to Pixelblaze, and you'll see your changes instantly! Look for syntax or run-time errors in the left sidebar and the status area just below the editor.

Pixelblaze looks for a few exported functions that it can call to generate pixels.

The exported render(index) function is called for each pixel in the strip. The index argument tells you which pixel is being rendered. Use the hsv or rgb function to set the current pixel's color.

The exported beforeRender(delta) function is called before it is going to render a new frame of pixels to the strip. The delta argument is the number of ellapsed milliseconds (with a resulution of 6.25ns!) since the last time beforeRender was called. You can use delta to create animations that run at the same speed regardless of the frame rate.

Pixelblaze's language is based off of JavaScript (ES6) syntax, but with a subset of the language features available. All numbers in Pixelblaze are a 16.16 fixed-point numbers. This can handle values between -32,768 to +32,768 with fractional accuracy down to 1/65,536ths.

A global called pixelCount is defined based on how many pixels you've configured in settings. You can use this in initialization code or in any function.

Supported Language Features

  • All of the usual math operators work. Most work on 16.16 fixed-point math. The bit-wise operators work on the top 16 bits. =, +, -, !, *, /, %, >>, <<, data-preserve-html-node="true" ~, ^, >, <, data-preserve-html-node="true" >=, <=, data-preserve-html-node="true" ==, !=, ||, &&, ?
  • Logical operators work like JavaScript and carry over the value, not just a boolean. e.g. v = 0 || 42 will result in 42.
  • Trig and other math functions. abs, floor, ceil, min, max, clamp, sin, cos, tan, asin, acos, atan, atan2, sqrt, exp, log, log2, pow, random
  • Declare global or function-local variables using var or globals implicitly.
  • Use if and else to have some code run conditionally.
  • Use while and for for making loops and use break and continue statements to escape a loop or loop early.
  • Define functions using the function keyword or short lambda-style form.
    • function myFunction(arg1) {return arg1 * 2}
    • myFunction = (arg1) => arg1 * 2
  • Functions can be stored in variables, passed as arguments, and returned from other functions.
  • Create arrays using the array(size) function and access them with the bracket syntax. Arrays can be passed around just like any other type.

Language limitations

This are language features you'd expect to work writing JavaScript that won't run on Pixelblaze.

  • Objects, named properties, classes, etc.
  • Garbage collection or freeing memory. Arrays are currently the only dynamically allocated memory, and you can't (yet) free them once created.
  • Closures aren't supported, so any function defined in another function won't have access to parameters or local varables. It can still access globals or its own parameters.
  • switch + case statements. You can use chained else if statements, or put functions in an array and use it as a lookup table.
modes[0] = () => {/* do mode 0 */}; 
modes[1] = () => {/* do mode 1 */}; 
// ...
  • Narrow scoped variables using let or read-only variables with const
  • Array literals


The pixelCount variable is available as a global even during initialization. This is the number of LED pixels that have been configured in settings.

Variables can be created/assigned implicitly with the = operator. e.g.: foo = sin(time(0.1,PI2)) or explicitly using the var keyword. e.g.: var foo = 1.

You can also declare local variables inside functions using the var keyword.


E , PI, PI2, PI3_4, PISQ, LN2, LN10, LOG2E, LOG10E, SQRT1_2, SQRT2


Math Functions





atan2(y, x)


clamp(value, low, hi)

Clamps value such that it isn't less than low or greater than high






max(v1, v2)

min(v1, v2)

pow(base, exponent)


A random number between 0.0 and max (exclusive)




Waveform Functions


A sawtooth waveform between 0.0 and 1.0 that loops about every 65.536*interval seconds. e.g. use .015 for an aproximately 1 second.


Converts a sawtooth waveform v between 0.0 and 1.0 to a sinusoidal waveform between 0.0 to 1.0. Same as (1+sin(v*PI2))/2 but faster. v "wraps" between 0.0 and 1.0.

square(v, duty)

Converts a sawtooth waveform v to a square wave using the provided duty cycle where duty is a number between 0.0 and 1.0. v "wraps" between 0.0 and 1.0.


Converts a sawtooth waveform v between 0.0 and 1.0 to a triangle waveform between 0.0 to 1.0. v "wraps" between 0.0 and 1.0.

Pixel / Color Functions

hsv(hue, saturation, value)

Sets the current pixel by calculating the RGB values based on the HSV color space. Hue "wraps" between 0.0 and 1.0. Nevative values wrap backwards.

rgb(red, green, blue)

Sets the current pixel to the RGB value provided. Values range between 0.0 and 1.0.

Input / Output Functions

NOTE that GP2 is used for NeoPixel and WS2811/12/13 support and can't be used unless the trace on the bottom is cut.


Reads the value from the ADC as a number between 0.0 and 1.0.



INPUT_PULLUP works for GP2*, GP4, GP5, and GP12 but not for GP16. Useful for buttons, connect between the pin and GND. Pins will read LOW or zero while the button is pressed.

INPUT_PULLDOWN_16 works only for GP16. Can be used with a button, connect between GP16 and 3.3v. Pins will read HIGH or 1.0 while the button is pressed.


Set a pin HIGH or LOW. Any non-zero value wil set the pin HIGH.


Read a pin state, returns 1.0 if the pin is HIGH, 0.0 for LOW otherwise.