Recently I got involved in Python development. As I had learnt the basics of Qt at the university courses, I decided

to give a spin for PyQt. In general PyQt5 seems great, but I had few problems with it. Mainly that Riverbank Computing only offers installations for Python 3.3. As good as Python 3 is, I couldn’t find any good freezing solutions and few other dependencies are still not available for it. So I decided to compile PyQt for Python 2.7. Since this was a small adventure for Python newbie and straightforward Googling didn’t result me any clear guides, here is my documentation of the process.

Note that if you are using Windows, there is an excellent pre-compiled binary for Windows as well as the documentation of the build-process and installation process.

While the following documentation was done in OSX Mavericks, the general process is probably same with all modern OSX versions. I also imagine that the build process will be similar in Linux.

  1. Make sure you have all required tools and source code PyQt5 source SIP source Qt5 All relevant XCode tools to build applications from commandline.

  2. Extract the SIP tar-file and check the Readme-file. It’s mostly about if you downloaded the SIP from its Mercurial repository and extra-actions involved. Check it quickly if something there applies to you. The actual installation instructions can be found from doc folder.

  3. Doc directory contains html-files and Installation page with isntructions for installation. Below are the mainpoints of the process which should get you through.

3.1. Configurate SIP by executing configure.py. Make sure that you are using the Python interpreter you want the SIP and Qt5 to be installed. In my case Python 2.7.6. You can check the Python’s version with command python --version

3.2. The configure.py has lots of optional arguments. There is summary on the docs page. There might be some interesting options. In my case I omitted all extra options.

3.3. Next issue make command to build the SIP. This is the part which requires XCode, so if you get errors about compiler not being available, check that you Xcode commandline tools installed. 3.4. After compiling, use command make install which should install the SIP to your Python interpreter. This may require admin-privileges.

4.0. Now when the SIP is compiled and installed, it’s time to do same to the PyQt5. Extract the PyQt5 tar-file and check the README inside. It has installation instructions. Below is description of the process I went through:

4.1. Configurate PyQt5 by executing the configure.py. Again, check that you are using the right Python interpreter! It has to be same as we used with SIP. At this moment I got notification that qmake is missing from my PATH. Qmake is a tool which is used when Qt-applications are compiled.

To add qmake to my PATH, I first located it from /users/[my user name]/Qt/5.1.1/clang_64/bin which is the installation location of my Qt5. To add it to my PATH, I added the following line to my .bash_profile in my user home directory: export PATH=/users/tuomas/Qt5.2.1/5.2.1/clang_64/bin:$PATH After restarting the Terminal, qmake was available and I could run the configure.py.

4.2. Now is probably good time to check configure.py’s numerous options in case there is something there which applies to you. In my case I didn’t need any additional arguments so I pressed forward.

4.3. Issue command make and wait patiently until the compilation process ends. This might take some time. Afterwards issue command make install. Now PyQt5 should be installed to your Python interpreter and all related classes etc. should be importable to your Python 2.7 applications!

As you can see the process isn’t really that difficult. However, in case you don’t want to build the PyQt yourself and are okay with using Python 3.3, you can install it relatively easily by Homebrew package manager.

PyQt and cx_freeze

This goes slightly outside the scope of this article but I think it is worth to note it here. In case you want to create stand-alone application out of your PyQt-application, you can use cx_freeze or other similar applications.

So far I have had success only in Windows while in OSX I seem to encounter one strange error message after another. One of these strange errors which you might encounter is a syntax-error message when packing your application with cx_freeze. I solved this issue by method described in this Stack Overflow post

Basically just go to directory /usr/local/lib/python2.7/site-packages/PyQt5/uic (exact path may vary, basically it’s the location where Python packages get installed) and rename the folder port_v3 to something else. After this the freezing process should execute properly. I had to do this on my Windows machine too.