The #[app] attribute and an RTIC application

Requirements on the app attribute

All RTIC applications use the app attribute (#[app(..)]). This attribute only applies to a mod-item containing the RTIC application.

The app attribute has a mandatory device argument that takes a path as a value. This must be a full path pointing to a peripheral access crate (PAC) generated using svd2rust v0.14.x or newer.

The app attribute will expand into a suitable entry point and thus replaces the use of the cortex_m_rt::entry attribute.

Structure and zero-cost concurrency

An RTIC app is an executable system model for single-core applications, declaring a set of local and shared resources operated on by a set of init, idle, hardware and software tasks.

  • init runs before any other task, and returns the local and shared resources.
  • Tasks (both hardware and software) run preemptively based on their associated static priority.
  • Hardware tasks are bound to underlying hardware interrupts.
  • Software tasks are schedulied by an set of asynchronous executors, one for each software task priority.
  • idle has the lowest priority, and can be used for background work, and/or to put the system to sleep until it is woken by some event.

At compile time the task/resource model is analyzed under the Stack Resource Policy (SRP) and executable code generated with the following outstanding properties:

  • Guaranteed race-free resource access and deadlock-free execution on a single-shared stack.
  • Hardware task scheduling is performed directly by the hardware.
  • Software task scheduling is performed by auto generated async executors tailored to the application.

Overall, the generated code infers no additional overhead in comparison to a hand-written implementation, thus in Rust terms RTIC offers a zero-cost abstraction to concurrency.


Priorities in RTIC are specified using the priority = N (where N is a positive number) argument passed to the #[task] attribute. All #[task]s can have a priority. If the priority of a task is not specified, it is set to the default value of 1.

Priorities in RTIC follow a higher value = more important scheme. For examples, a task with priority 2 will preempt a task with priority 1.

An RTIC application example

To give a taste of RTIC, the following example contains commonly used features. In the following sections we will go through each feature in detail.

//! examples/


use panic_semihosting as _;

#[rtic::app(device = lm3s6965, dispatchers = [UART0, UART1])]
mod app {
    use cortex_m_semihosting::{debug, hprintln};

    struct Shared {}

    struct Local {
        local_to_foo: i64,
        local_to_bar: i64,
        local_to_idle: i64,

    // `#[init]` cannot access locals from the `#[local]` struct as they are initialized here.
    fn init(_: init::Context) -> (Shared, Local) {

            Shared {},
            // initial values for the `#[local]` resources
            Local {
                local_to_foo: 0,
                local_to_bar: 0,
                local_to_idle: 0,

    // `local_to_idle` can only be accessed from this context
    #[idle(local = [local_to_idle])]
    fn idle(cx: idle::Context) -> ! {
        let local_to_idle = cx.local.local_to_idle;
        *local_to_idle += 1;

        hprintln!("idle: local_to_idle = {}", local_to_idle);

        debug::exit(debug::EXIT_SUCCESS); // Exit QEMU simulator

        // error: no `local_to_foo` field in `idle::LocalResources`
        // _cx.local.local_to_foo += 1;

        // error: no `local_to_bar` field in `idle::LocalResources`
        // _cx.local.local_to_bar += 1;

        loop {

    // `local_to_foo` can only be accessed from this context
    #[task(local = [local_to_foo], priority = 1)]
    async fn foo(cx: foo::Context) {
        let local_to_foo = cx.local.local_to_foo;
        *local_to_foo += 1;

        // error: no `local_to_bar` field in `foo::LocalResources`
        // cx.local.local_to_bar += 1;

        hprintln!("foo: local_to_foo = {}", local_to_foo);

    // `local_to_bar` can only be accessed from this context
    #[task(local = [local_to_bar], priority = 1)]
    async fn bar(cx: bar::Context) {
        let local_to_bar = cx.local.local_to_bar;
        *local_to_bar += 1;

        // error: no `local_to_foo` field in `bar::LocalResources`
        // cx.local.local_to_foo += 1;

        hprintln!("bar: local_to_bar = {}", local_to_bar);