Creating/Evaluating Lua Scripts on Norns?

I am feeling very inspired by the Circle/drone in three worlds exercise. I wasn’t able to finish anything I was happy with in time, but it did give me the confidence to try Lua scripting for the first time. I am still coming to grips with Maiden/Lua but I was curious, is it possible to create/evaluate Lua scripts on the Norns hardware? This is one of the things that was most satisfying in my attempt to learn Teletype, the immediacy of prototyping and deploying scripts directly in the hardware.

Sorry, I couldn’t find information if this is already possible, or something planned, or if it’s impossible? Alternatively I am curious to find out how you folks are scripting with a mobile setup? I mean, I understand the most obvious is some kind of laptop. I’ve been experimenting with an old android tablet (better carry for my commute) as an SSH terminal for things at work, haven’t tested it yet with Maiden.


There was some discussion on this topic here in the Norns: development mega-thread.

Several different takes on this in there, but definitely come back here with further thoughts/questions :smiley:

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you mean plugging in a keyboard and editing lua code on the screen?

i think it would be really difficult due to the extremely minimal screen resolution (128x64), even if we were willing to implement basic editing features.

lua code tends to verbosity, whereas tt-script is really designed specifically for the tiny screen.

as far as tablets, i’m pretty sure some folks here have been using ipads and such both with ssh and with maiden.

you can definitely run vim/emacs on the norns itself, though i think only vim is installed by default.

if some enterprising soul wanted to make a lua wrapper around a teletype interpreter that could be fun.

there are also a few more or less esoteric norns metaprogramming environments now! maybe Nisp would be a fun thing to dig into - it’s like a scheme interpreter inside a tracker.


FWIW I’ve been using Termux on my Android phone to ssh into Norns during my commute. It’s def clunky and pretty ridiculous, but it’s useful in tracking ideas for me to execute more robustly with my full dev setup.

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If we want to get crazy and throw out ideas and see what sticks… a USB monitor (randomly chosen), and a portable USB keyboard (also random)… actually, I’m kinda groovin’ on that keyboard… BT wireless as well…

Not certain that norns would be up to powering all of that & grid, but it’s a cool idea.

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That is an interesting concept! So if I have this right, with a USB keyboard and external monitor one could write scripts directly to Norns with vim? Maybe a round about setup, but maybe cheaper and more portable than a dedicated terminal laptop

@zebra I see what you are saying. I should give Nisp a closer look. I had the idea of writing scripts directly on Norns while exploring r engine at work. It seems pretty simple even to compose on a Norns sized screen but I didn’t have anything to SSH on hand

@Frederickk I’ve used termux and connectbot with norns on my nexus tablet and both work great!

we have some ideas about onboard editing, may have some more concrete propositions after this weekend


I can’t think of why not… If ssh plus vim or e.g. VSCode Remote, performs acceptably, I’d think that as long as the keyboard /monitor combo worked as expected, you’d be fine.

“You kids and your embedded programming these days; when I was doing it, we had to use a dedicated terminal wired to the device” or something :stuck_out_tongue:

pico (my preferred text-editor) is on there, too.

Isn’t the HDMI output disabled in the default Norns disk image?

Sounds intriguing. I wonder if you’re thinking of enabling a VNC client, and installing a basic window manager (as was suggested over at the Orac thread), to allow remote editing from another computer via VNC.

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I don’t think that the physical HDMI connector is available, but that’s the beauty of a USB monitor - no other video outlet is required.

I didn’t know they existed…

Would they need drivers, though? HDMI output is hardware (GPU)-accelerated, I assume. I imagine an external monitor attached to a USB port would require considerably more system resources to operate.

Unknown, but (see below) the ones I’ve dealt with tend to be very small and low res - 1024x768 or smaller, so low bandwidth etc. Also, we’re really only talking about needing 80x24 characters - running Overwatch is an exercise left to the reader :rofl:


Almost certainly, but

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