Why GPIO Zero Is Better Than RPi.GPIO for Raspberry Pi Projects

The Raspberry Pi is the perfect computer for learning. The Linux-based Raspbian OS has Python built in, which makes it a great first system for beginner coders. Its General Purpose Input/Output (GPIO) pins make it easy for budding makers to experiment with DIY electronics projects.

It’s especially easy when you use code libraries that control these pins, and the popular RPi.GPIO Python library is an excellent example of such a library. But is it the best path for beginners? Join us as we investigate.

What Is GPIO Zero?

The GPIO Zero library is a Python library for working with GPIO pins. It was written by Raspberry Pi community manager Ben Nuttall. Aimed at being intuitive and “friendly,” it streamlines Python code for most regular Raspberry Pi use cases. computer science computer science computer science computer science computer science

Combining simple naming practices and descriptive functions, GPIO Zero is more accessible for beginners to understand. Even seasoned users of the RPi.GPIO library may prefer it—and to understand why, let’s take a look at how RPi.GPIO compares to GPIO Zero. computer science computer science computer science computer science computer science

What’s Wrong With RPi.GPIO?

Nothing. Nothing at all. RPi.GPIO was released in early 2012 by developer Ben Croston. It is a robust library allowing users to control GPIO pins from code. It features in almost every beginner project we’ve covered.

Despite its extensive use, RPi.GPIO was never designed for end users. It is a testament to RPi.GPIO’s good design that so many beginners use it nonetheless. computer science computer science computer science computer science computer science

What’s So Good About GPIO Zero?

When you are learning Python code, you learn that it should be easy to read and as short as possible. GPIO Zero aims to cover both points. Built on top of RPi.GPIO as a front-end language wrapper, it simplifies GPIO setup and usage.

Consider the following example, setting up and turning on an LED: computer science computer science computer science computer science computer science

Code to set up and LED to Output using the RPi.GPIO library

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The above code should be pretty familiar to anyone who has used their Pi to control LEDs.

The RPi.GPIO library is imported, and a pin for the LED is declared. The pin layout type is set up (BCM and BOARD mode are explained in our GPIO guide), and the pin is set up as an output. Then, the pin is turned on.

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