From Python to silicon

Table of Contents

Call Xilinx ISE from Python

Running Xilinx ISE implementation from a shell, with a script that has all the necessary parameters has the charm, that only the necessary settings are stored in a text file. On the Dillon Engineering web site a script named can be found, that creates a Makefile to run synthesis and the implementation tools, like place and route, from the command line.

Another way, implemented in later ISE versions, is to have a TCL script, that performs all the necessary settings and runs the implementation. For possible commands used in the TCL script, see the TCL Quickreference from Xilinx. Volker Stumpen has a nice tutorial about creating TCL scripts for ISE on the web page of IBM's Austin Research Laboratory.

As this page is about MyHDL and Python, a nice thing to have would be a Python wrapper for this functionality, that allows to run the implementation tools from a Python script. is a script that contains two classes trying to cover the tool run in an object oriented way. The two classes are:

  • Xilinx
  • Fpga


The class Xilinx will wrap the Xilinx tool calls. This is done by creating a TCL-script with the necessary settings and then run the script.


The class Fpga contains the function around the .ucf-file. It is possible to specify which signal is connected to what FPGA pin and what parameters the pin should get associated with.

Example usage

Here is an example how to use it. The file is put under a folder called tools, which is added to the PYTHONPATH. So it can be used with the import statement.

from tools import *
if __name__ == '__main__':
  path = 'syn/spartan2'
  # set up pin configuration for the FPGA
  fpga = Fpga()
  fpga.setPin('clk50', 'P80')
  fpga.setPin('led', 'P71')
  fpga.setPin('btn', 'P77')
  fpga.setDevice('spartan2', 'xc2s200', 'pq208', '-5')
  print fpga
  # set up path
  imp = Xilinx(path, 'led')


The script is in an early state of development. I decided to publish it anyway, in hope it is useful for someone.

projects/ise_py.txt · Last modified: 2011/06/05 17:09 by guenter
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