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Raspberry Pi Web Server using Flask to Control GPIOs

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In this project you’ll create a standalone web server with a Raspberry Pi that can toggle two LEDs. You can replace those LEDs with any output (like a relay or a transistor).

In order to create the web server you will be using a Python microframework called Flask.

Parts Required

Here’s the hardware that you need to complete this project:

  • Raspberry Pi (any Pi should work, I recommend using Raspberry Pi 3) – view on eBay
  • SD Card (minimum size 8Gb and class 10) – view on eBay
  • Micro USB Power Supply – view on eBay
  • Ethernet cable or WiFi dongle
  • Breaboard – view on eBay
  • 2x LEDs
  • 2x 470Ω Resistors
  • Jumper wires
Raspberry Pi 3

Raspberry Pi 3 (best option)

Basic Raspberry Pi Setup

Before you continue reading this project, please make sure you have Raspbian Operating System installed in your Raspberry Pi.

You can read my Getting Started with the Raspberry Pi Guide to install Raspbian and complete the basic setup.

Installing Flask

We’re going to use a Python microframework called Flask to turn the Raspberry Pi into web server.

To install Flask, you’ll need to have pip installed. Run the following commands to update your Pi and install pip:

pi@raspberrypi ~ $ sudo apt-get update
pi@raspberrypi ~ $ sudo apt-get upgrade
pi@raspberrypi ~ $ sudo apt-get install python-pip python-flask

Then, you use pip to install Flask and its dependencies:

pi@raspberrypi ~ $ sudo pip install flask

Schematics

The schematics for this project are fairly straightforward. Simply connect two LEDs to pins GPIO 23 and GPIO 24, as the figure below illustrates.

RPi Web Server outputs_bb

Creating the Python Script

This is the core script of our application. It sets up the web server and actually interacts with the Raspberry Pi GPIOs.

To keep everything organized, start by creating a new folder:

pi@raspberrypi ~ $ mkdir web-server
pi@raspberrypi ~ $ cd web-server
pi@raspberrypi:~/web-server $

Create a new file called app.py.

pi@raspberrypi:~/web-server $ nano app.py

Copy and paste the following script to your Raspberry Pi (this code is based on Matt Richardson great example).

»» View and download code on GitHub!

Creating the HTML File

Keeping HTML tags separated from your Python script is how you keep your project organized.

Flask uses a template engine called Jinja2 that you can use to send dynamic data from your Python script to your HTML file.

Create a new folder called templates:

pi@raspberrypi:~/web-server $ mkdir templates
pi@raspberrypi:~/web-server $ cd templates
pi@raspberrypi:~/web-server/templates $

Create a new file called main.html.

pi@raspberrypi:~/web-server/templates $ nano main.html

Copy and paste the following template to your Pi:

»» View and download code on GitHub!

Launching the Web Server

To launch your Raspberry Pi web server move to the folder that contains the file app.py:

pi@raspberrypi:~/web-server/templates $ cd ..

Then run the following command:

pi@raspberrypi:~/web-server $ sudo python app.py

Your web server should start immediately!

python launch web server

Demonstration

Open your Raspberry Pi address in your browser by entering its IP address, in my case: http://192.168.1.98/.

rpi web server browser

Here’s a video demo of the web server in action.


I hope you’ve found this tutorial useful.

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Thanks for reading,

-Rui Santos

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