This page is meant to introduce you to some of the concepts inherent to the Apache Mynewt Operating System, and Newt the tool that stitches a project built on Apache Mynewt together.


The project is the base directory of your embedded software tree. It is a workspace that contains a logical collection of source code, for one or more of your applications. A project consists of the following items:

  • Project Definition: defines project level dependencies, and parameters (located in project.yml)
  • Packages

Packages are described in detail in the section below.

Here is an example project definition file from the default Apache Mynewt project:

$ more project.yml 
<snip> "my_project"

    - apache-mynewt-core

# Use github's distribution mechanism for core ASF libraries.
# This provides mirroring automatically for us.
    type: github
    vers: 0-latest
    user: apache
    repo: incubator-mynewt-core

A couple of things to note in the project definition:

  • project.repositories: Defines the remote repositories that this project relies upon.

  • repository.apache-mynewt-core: Defines the repository information for the apache-mynewt-core repository.

Repositories are versioned collections of packages.

Projects can rely on remote repositories for functionality, and the newt tool will resolve those remote repositories, and download the correct version into your local source tree. Newly fetched repositories are put in the repos directory of your project, and can be referenced throughout the system by using the @ specifier.

By default, the @apache-mynewt-core repository is included in every project. Apache Mynewt Core contains all the base functionality of the Apache Mynewt Operating System, including the Real Time Kernel, Bluetooth Networking Stack, Flash File System, Console, Shell and Bootloader.

NOTE: Any project can be converted into a repository by providing it with a repository.yml file and putting it up onto Github. More information about repositories can be found in the Newt documentation.


A package is a collection items that form a fundamental unit in the Mynewt Operating System. Packages can be:

  • Applications
  • Libraries
  • Compiler definitions
  • Targets

A package is identified by having a pkg.yml file in it's base directory. Here is a sample pkg.yml file for the blinky applicaton:

$ more pkg.yml 
<snip> apps/blinky
pkg.type: app
pkg.description: Basic example application which blinks an LED. "Apache Mynewt <>"
pkg.homepage: ""

    - "@apache-mynewt-core/libs/os"
    - "@apache-mynewt-core/hw/hal"
    - "@apache-mynewt-core/libs/console/full"

Packages have a few features worth noting:

  • Dependencies: Packages can rely upon other packages, and when they do they will inherit their functionality (header files, library definitions, etc.)
  • APIs: Packages can export named APIs, and they can require that certain APIs be present, in order to compile.
  • Features: Packages can operate differently depending on what named features are present in the system. Packages can also export features to the rest of the Mynewt system.

Everything that newt knows about within a project's directory is a package. This makes it very clean and easy to write re-usable components, which can describe their Dependencies and APIs to the rest of the system.


A target in Apache Mynewt is very similar to a target in make. It is the collection of parameters that must be passed to Newt in order to generate a reproducible build. A target represents the top of the build tree, and any packages or parameters specified at the target level, cascade down to all dependencies.

Targets are also packages, and are stored in the targets/ directory at the base of your project. Most targets consist of:

  • app: The application to build.
  • bsp: The board support package to combine with that application
  • build_profile: Either debug or optimized.

Targets can also have additional items specified, including:

  • cflags: Any additional compiler flags you might want to specify to the build.
  • features: Any system level features you want to enable.

In order to create and manipulate targets, the newt tool offers a set of helper commands, you can find more information about these by issuing:

$ newt target

  newt target [flags]
  newt target [command]

Available Commands: 
  show        View target configuration variables
  set         Set target configuration variable
  create      Create a target
  delete      Delete target
  copy        Copy target
  vars        Show variable names

  -h, --help=false: help for target

Global Flags:
  -l, --loglevel="WARN": Log level, defaults to WARN.
  -o, --outfile="": Filename to tee log output to
  -q, --quiet=false: Be quiet; only display error output.
  -s, --silent=false: Be silent; don't output anything.
  -v, --verbose=false: Enable verbose output when executing commands.

Additional help topics:

Use "newt help [command]" for more information about a command.