Create Stateflow Charts for Execution as MATLAB Objects
To combine the advantages of state machine programming with the full functionality of
MATLAB®, create a standalone Stateflow® chart outside of a Simulink® model. Save the standalone chart with the extension
.sfx and execute it as a MATLAB object. Refine your design by using chart animation and graphical
With standalone charts, you can create MATLAB applications such as:
MATLAB App Designer user interfaces that use mode logic to manage the behavior of widgets. See Design Human-Machine Interface Logic by Using Stateflow Charts.
Communication protocols and data stream processing applications that use sequential logic. See Model a Communications Protocol by Using Chart Objects.
Data Acquisition Toolbox™ or Instrument Control Toolbox™ applications that use timer-based logic to monitor and control external tasks. See Implement a Financial Strategy by Using Stateflow.
These applications can be shared and executed without requiring a Stateflow license. For more information, see Share Standalone Charts.
Construct a Standalone Chart
To construct a standalone Stateflow chart, open the Stateflow Editor by using the
edit function. For example, at the MATLAB Command Window,
chart.sfxdoes not exist, the Stateflow Editor opens an empty chart with the name
chart. Otherwise, the editor opens the chart defined by the
In the Stateflow Editor, create a standalone chart by combining states, transitions, data, and other elements. For more information, see Construct and Run a Stateflow Chart.
After you save the standalone chart, the
help function displays information
about executing it in MATLAB:
To close the standalone chart from the MATLAB Command Window, use the
Create a Stateflow Chart Object
To execute a standalone chart in MATLAB, first create a Stateflow chart object. Use the name of the
sfx file for the
standalone chart as a function. Specify the initial values of data as name-value
pairs. For example, suppose that you defined a standalone chart with data objects
data2. Then this command
creates the chart object
data2, and executes its default
chartObject = chart('data1',value1,'data2',value2)
To display chart information, such as the syntax for execution, the values of the
chart data, and the list of active states, use the
Execute a Standalone Chart
After you define a Stateflow chart object, you can execute the standalone chart by calling the
step function (with data values, if necessary):
Alternatively, you can call one of the input event functions:
In either case, the values are assigned to local data before the chart executes.
If your chart has graphical or MATLAB functions, you can call them directly in the MATLAB Command Window. Calling a chart function does not execute the standalone chart.
If you use
nargin in a graphical or
MATLAB function in your chart,
nargin counts the chart
object as one of the input arguments. The value of
the same whether you call the function from the chart or from the MATLAB Command Window.
You can execute a standalone chart without opening the Stateflow Editor. If the chart is open, then the Stateflow Editor highlights active states and transitions through chart animation.
For the purposes of debugging and unit testing, you can execute a standalone chart directly from the Stateflow Editor. During execution, you enter data values and broadcast events from the user interface. For more information, see Execute and Unit Test Stateflow Chart Objects.
You can execute a standalone chart from a MATLAB script, a Simulink model, or an App Designer user interface. For more information, see:
Stop Chart Execution
To stop executing a chart, destroy the chart object by calling the
After the chart object is deleted, any handles to the chart object remain in the
workspace, but become invalid. To remove the invalid handle from the workspace, use
If you clear a valid chart object handle and there are other handles to the same chart object, the chart object is not destroyed. For example, when you are executing a chart, the Stateflow Editor contains internal handles to the chart object. Clearing the chart object handle from the workspace does not destroy the chart object or remove the chart animation highlighting in the editor. To reset the animation highlighting, right-click the chart canvas and select Remove Highlighting.
Share Standalone Charts
You can share standalone charts with collaborators who do not have a Stateflow license.
If your collaborators have the same or a later version of MATLAB than you have, they can execute your standalone charts as MATLAB objects without opening the Stateflow Editor. Chart animation and debugging are not supported. Run-time error messages do not link to the state or transition in the chart where the error occurs.
To run standalone charts that you saved in R2019a or R2019b, your collaborators must have the same version of MATLAB.
If your collaborators have an earlier version of MATLAB, export a standalone chart to a format that they can use. You can only export to R2019a and later releases. To complete the export process, you need access to the versions of Stateflow from which and to which you are exporting.
Using the later version of Stateflow, open the standalone chart.
On the State Chart tab, select Save > Previous Version.
In the Export to Previous Version dialog box, specify a file name for the exported chart.
From the Save as type list, select the earlier version to which to export the chart.
Using the earlier version of Stateflow, open and resave the exported chart.
Attempting to execute an exported chart before resaving it will result in an error.
Properties and Functions of Stateflow Chart Objects
A Stateflow chart object encapsulates data and operations in a single structure by providing:
Private properties that contain the internal state variables for the standalone chart.
stepfunction that calls the various operations implementing the chart semantics.
A chart object can have other properties and functions that correspond to the various elements present in the chart.
|Standalone Chart Elements||Chart Object Elements|
|Local and constant data||Public properties|
|Input events||Functions that execute the chart|
|Graphical and MATLAB functions||Functions that you can call from the MATLAB Command Window|
Chart Object Configuration Options
When you create a chart object, you can specify chart behavior by including these configuration options as name-value pairs.
|Specify the delay that the chart animation uses to
highlight each transition segment. The default value is
Create a chart object that has slow animation by specifying one-second delays.
chartObject = chart('-animationDelay',1)
|Enable chart animation and debugging instrumentation. The
default value is |
Create a chart object that has animation and debugging instrumentation disabled.
chartObject = chart('-enableAnimation',false)
|Specify the size of the queue used for events and
temporal logic operations. The default value is
Create a chart object that ignores all events without warning if they occur when the chart is processing another operation.
chartObject = chart('-eventQueueSize',0)
|Enable the initial execution of default transitions. The
default value is |
Create a chart object but do not execute the default transition.
chartObject = chart('-executeInitStep',false)
|Enable the warning about empty chart data after
initializing the chart object. The default value is
Eliminate the warning when creating a chart object.
chartObject = chart('-warningOnUninitializedData',false)
Initialization of Chart Data
In the Stateflow Editor, you can use the Symbols pane to specify initial values for chart data. When you create a chart object, chart data is initialized in alphabetical order according to its scope. Constant data is initialized first. Local data is initialized last.
If you use an expression to specify an initial value, then the chart attempts to resolve the expression by:
Using the values of other data in the chart.
Calling functions on the search path.
For example, suppose that you specify an initial value for the
x by using the expression
If the chart has a constant called
yis initialized before
x. The local data
xis assigned the same initial value as
If the chart has a local data called
xis initialized before
y. The local data
xis assigned to an empty array. If the configuration option
-warningOnUninitializedDatais set to
true, a warning occurs.
If the chart has no data named
xis initialized by calling the function
y. If the file
y.mis not on the search path, this error occurs:
Undefined function or variable 'y'.
Stateflow does not search the MATLAB workspace to resolve initial values, so this error occurs even if
there is a variable called
y in the MATLAB workspace.
Capabilities and Limitations
Classic chart semantics with MATLAB as the action language. You can use the full functionality of MATLAB, including those functions that are restricted for code generation in Simulink. See Execute Stateflow Chart Objects Through Scripts and Models.
In standalone Stateflow charts, the operating system command symbol
!is not supported. To execute operating system commands, use the function
Flow charts, graphical functions, and MATLAB functions. See Reusable Components in Charts.
Conversion of MATLAB code to graphical functions by using the Pattern Wizard. See Convert MATLAB Code into Stateflow Flow Charts.
Chart local and constant data without restriction to type. See Execute and Unit Test Stateflow Chart Objects.
Input events. See Design Human-Machine Interface Logic by Using Stateflow Charts.
Standalone Stateflow charts do not support change detection on an element of a matrix or a field in a structure.
Temporal logic operators:
countoperates on the number of chart invocations (
temporalCountoperates on absolute time (
elapsedoperates on absolute time (
Standalone charts define absolute-time temporal logic in terms of wall-clock time, which is limited to 1 millisecond precision.
getActiveStatesto access the states that are active during execution of the chart. To store the active states as a cell array, enter:
states = getActiveStates(chartObject)
exportAsClassthat exports the standalone chart as the equivalent MATLAB class. Use this function to debug run-time errors that are otherwise difficult to diagnose. For example, suppose that you encounter an error while executing a Stateflow chart that controls a MATLAB application. If you export the chart as a MATLAB class file, you can replace the chart with the class in your application and diagnose the error by using the MATLAB debugger. To export the chart
chart.sfxas a class file
chart.m, enter:When you execute the MATLAB class, the Stateflow Editor does not animate the original chart.
Content specific to Simulink:
Sample time and continuous-time semantics.
C action language.
Simulink functions and Simulink subsystems as states.
Input, output, and parameter data.
Data store memory data.
Output and local events.
Input, output, and local messages.
No Mealy or Moore semantics.
No State Transition Tables.
No Truth Table functions.
No state-parented local data or functions.
No transition actions (actions that execute after the source state for the transition is exited but before the destination state is entered).