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Using Spinal from CLI with SBT

First, open a terminal in the root of the template you have downloaded earlier in Create a SpinalHDL project.

Commands can be executed right from the terminal:

sbt "firstCommand with arguments" "secondCommand with more arguments"

But sbt has a quite long boot time so the we recommend to use its interactive mode:


Now sbt shows a prompt. Let’s start by doing Scala compilation. It will fetch dependencies so it can take time the first time:


Actually you never need to just compile as it is done automatically when needed. This time was just to evacuate the long first build, and to get all sbt autocompletion features on the next commands.

To run a specific generation or simulation, the command is runMain. So if you type runMain, space, and tab, you should get this:

sbt:SpinalTemplateSbt> runMain
;                                         mylib.MyTopLevelVerilog
mylib.MyTopLevelFormal                    mylib.MyTopLevelVerilogWithCustomConfig
mylib.MyTopLevelSim                       mylib.MyTopLevelVhdl

The autocompletion suggests all things that can be run. Let’s run the Verilog generation for instance:

runMain mylib.MyTopLevelVerilog

Look at the directory: there is a new MyTopLevel.v file!

Now add a ~ at the beginning of the command:

~ runMain mylib.MyTopLevelVerilog

It prints this:

sbt:SpinalTemplateSbt> ~ runMain mylib.MyTopLevelVerilog
[info] running (fork) mylib.MyTopLevelVerilog
[info] [Runtime] SpinalHDL v1.7.3    git head : aeaeece704fe43c766e0d36a93f2ecbb8a9f2003
[info] [Runtime] JVM max memory : 3968,0MiB
[info] [Runtime] Current date : 2022.11.17 21:35:10
[info] [Progress] at 0,000 : Elaborate components
[info] [Progress] at 0,385 : Checks and transforms
[info] [Progress] at 0,533 : Generate Verilog
[info] [Done] at 0,634
[success] Total time: 2 s, completed 17 nov. 2022, 21:35:11
[info] 1. Monitoring source files for mylib/runMain mylib.MyTopLevelVerilog...
[info]    Press <enter> to interrupt or '?' for more options.

So now, each time you save a source file, it will re-generate MyTopLevel.v. To do this, it automatically compiles the source files and it performs lint checks. This way you can get errors printed on the terminal almost in real-time while you are editing the source files.

You can press Enter to stop automatic generation, then Ctrl-D to exit sbt.

It is also possible to start it right from the terminal, without using sbt’s interactive prompt:

sbt "~ runMain mylib.MyTopLevelVerilog"

Now you can use your environment, let’s explore the code: A simple example.