18.08.2020 | Technical topic

The Tslib - Story

The Tslib - Story

Software library Tslib for optimized user experience

Tslib is a software library. It filters inputs via touch screen according to certain specifications. For example, errors can be suppressed and the UX (user experience) can be better optimized when interacting with a device.

The "tslib project" was founded at the end of 2001 by Russel King. Originally, tslib was used as a userspace driver. It was intended to make devices generally usable and to be able to apply linear scaling, for example to eliminate drift. These could be caused by environmental influences.

Tslib is a cross-platform library that runs on Mac OS, Windows and Linux. In fact it has been used exclusively on Linux for a long time and is included in many commercial projects. For example, the Nokia Internet Tables such as the N800 used tslib early on.

But also many companies from the industry, for example the elevator manufacturer Otis, used tslib. The software library is still in use today, for example in Boundary Devices devices and the customer-specific products of Ginzinger electronic systems.

Tslib places great value on compatibility. The latest version always works as a replacement for an old version. Even if there are 15 years of development in between. Modern technologies of touch screen panels and controllers on the one hand, but also the uniform driver model of Linux on the other hand, often make the use of tslib today superfluous. Due to its flexible structure, there are still interesting possibilities of use.

For example, Tslib contains various mathematical filters that can be switched on at runtime. The UX (user experience) of touch screens can also be optimized with tslib. Ginzinger electronic systems has therefore developed tslib further in recent years. One employee even became the maintainer of the open source project and added support for multitouches, which are available for all touchscreens under Linux.

As a maintainer, third-party extensions are also checked and added. From new filter modules to a logo for the project: The community worked together on tslib. The organization of the open source project has also been reworked from the ground up and is constantly being improved.

Until 2016 the project "Tslib" was hosted in the Github user account of the then maintainer Christopher Larson. Today it is hosted in the Github organization "libts". This simplifies the ongoing administration considerably. Furthermore, a mailing list and, with the help of Ginzinger electronic systems, the "tslib.org" project page was created. Since then the "Github Stars" increased from about 120 to over 300. The project is constantly being nurtured and maintained, so that "downstream users" such as well-known distributions (Debian, Ubuntu, buildroot) receive all updates from tslib.

Buildroot is also used for GELin, the own Linux distribution of Ginzinger electronic systems.


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