Skip to main content

A distutils build extension for PyQt{4,5} applications

Project description


A distutils build extension for PyQt{4,5} applications

Build UI specific elements in tree, controlled by configuration variables in
setup.cfg. Running the tool chain is delegated to a couple of internal build

Following layout is assumed::

i18n/ # keep all translation specific files here
i18n/ # translation project file (generated, optionally)
ui/ # all designer forms, may contain sub folders
project.qrc # project resource definition (generated) # project resources (generated) # distutils/setuptools module for the project
setup.cfg # setup configuration

Proper translation is subject of fetching the translatable strings from
all forms and source modules, translate them (with ``linguist``), and convert
the textual representation (``.ts``) into binary form (``.qm``), palatable for
``QTranslator`` instances.

There are two ways to accomplish this task: using an intermediate project
file (``.pro``), that can be generated with the built-in command ``gentrpro``,
or feeding globbing args to the tools ``pylupdate`` and ``lrelease`` directly.
Unfortunately, the latter way is hampered by some bugs. Hence, the preferred way
is using the ``.pro`` file.

Because the translation source files (``.ts``) references forms and sources with
relative paths, and the tools ``pylupdate`` and ``lrelease`` operate relative
to the ``.pro`` file location, and *we* *want* to keep all translation specific
files in one place, we run the translation tool chain relative to ``i18n/``.

A new language
* create an appropriately named file in ``i18n/``
e.g. ``touch i18n/project_lang.ts``
* build initial translation source with `` build_ui``
* set up language parameter with linguist once
e.g. ``linguist i18n/project_lang.ts``

Translation relies on tr() and translate() used properly in the source.


``ui/`` and sub folders contain all designer forms. You shouldn't mix source
code and forms in one folder, because forms are translated to *Python* source
files, that you want to handle differently (e.g. exclude from translation,
because the translation source is generated from the forms already.

The ``<form>.ui`` file is translated to ``ui_<form>.py``. Usually, it contains
a single form, where the toplevel object is the camel cased name of the
module. E.g.: ``form.ui`` contains a widget ``Form``, that is imported from
toplevel modules with::

from ui.ui_form import Ui_Form

Typically, this form is subclassed with multiple inheritance::

class Form(QWidget, Ui_Form):
def __init__(self, parent = None):
super(Form, self).__init__(parent)

Resource collection files (``.qrc``) defines resources, that are included within
a single module. Typically, this includes images, translation files (``.qm``),
and other static data. These resources are accessed with::


Note the ":" prefix. The resource file is typically included early in the
main module::

import project_rc # __IGNORE_WARNING__ (this is not referenced any further)

and the included resources are available in all modules.

**distutils_ui** contains a built-in command ``genqrc``, that generates ``.qrc``
files from globbing patterns. ``genqrc`` supports two specific options: ``prefix``
and ``strip``. Prefix allows to place all resources under a custom prefix, while
strip removes the path from objects. Strip requires, that all files are uniquely
named, otherwise some objects are not accessible. The command ``pyrcc``
generates the resource module ```` from ``project.qrc``.

The ``gentrpro`` and ``genqrc`` commands are built-in, therefore they don't
define their own command, rather than process input and output files directly.
All other commands call external tools, that must be available and specified
with a ``command`` parameter in ``setup.cfg``.

Command parameter use ``{macro}`` expressions, that references other parameters
in the same section, such as ``{infiles}`` and ``{outfiles}``, as well as
metadata parameter, like ``{name}`` and ``{version}``. These parameters can
be mixed with file globbing patterns.

``infiles`` and ``outfiles`` parameter define input files and targets.

An ``exclude`` parameter removes matching elements from ``infiles``.

The ``chdir`` parameter allow to change the execution path of that command,
also subject to metadata macro expansion.

A special command mode is provided: ``singlefile``. It is used to call the
command *one* by *one* for *every* input file. In this mode, additional macros
are available, that can be used to further control the output file: ``{path}``,
``{filename}``, and ``{fileext}``. Check the template for ``pyuic`` and
``pyrcc`` commands for examples.

If you only want to work with a command subset: just define ``commands`` in
``[build_ui]`` section accordingly.

from import build
from build_ui import build_ui


cmdclass = {
'build_ui': build_ui,

# Optional: inject ui specific build into standard build process
build.sub_commands.insert(0, ('build_ui', None))


name = name,
version = version,
cmdclass = cmdclass

setup.cfg of build_ui template for PyQt5::

# control the tool chain (default: run all commands)
#commands = gentrpro, pylupdate, lrelease, pyuic, genqrc, pyrcc

# pro files are processed relative to their location, cope with it:
# generate pro file with relative paths from i18n, and call
# pylupdate and lrelease from within i18n
chdir = {name}/i18n
infiles = ../ui/*.ui ../*.py *.ts
outfiles = {name}.pro
exclude = ../{name}

# update translation source files (*.ts) from forms and source files
# -noobsolete will remove all outdated translations
chdir = {name}/i18n
command = pylupdate5 -verbose {infiles}
infiles = {name}.pro
outfiles = {name}_*.ts

# convert translation source files into binary representation (*.qm)
chdir = {name}/i18n
command = lrelease-qt5 {infiles}
infiles = {name}.pro
outfiles = {name}_*.qm

# generate python source files from UI definitions (*.ui)
command = pyuic5 -x -o {outfiles} {infiles}
infiles = {name}/ui/*.ui
outfiles = {name}/ui/ui_{filename}.py
singlefile = true

# generate a resource description file (*.qrc)
chdir = {name}
infiles = images/*.png i18n/*.qm
outfiles = {name}.qrc
# these are specific for genqrc
strip = false
prefix =

# generate a resource module from qrc file
command = pyrcc5 -o {outfiles} {infiles}
infiles = {name}/{name}.qrc
outfiles = {name}/{name}
singlefile = true

The plain UI build is triggered with::

python3 build_ui [-f|--force]

A cleanup of the generated files can be done in a similar fashion::

python3 build_ui [-C|--clean]


* avoid spaces in filenames
* '.pro' file approach results in spurious builds


python3 -v build_ui


(c) 2016 Hans-Peter Jansen <>


MIT, Copyright (c) 2016, Hans-Peter Jansen, see LICENSE.txt

Download files

Download the file for your platform. If you're not sure which to choose, learn more about installing packages.

Files for distutils-ui, version 0.1.0
Filename, size File type Python version Upload date Hashes
Filename, size distutils_ui-0.1.0.tar.gz (19.3 kB) File type Source Python version None Upload date Hashes View

Supported by

AWS AWS Cloud computing Datadog Datadog Monitoring DigiCert DigiCert EV certificate Facebook / Instagram Facebook / Instagram PSF Sponsor Fastly Fastly CDN Google Google Object Storage and Download Analytics Microsoft Microsoft PSF Sponsor Pingdom Pingdom Monitoring Salesforce Salesforce PSF Sponsor Sentry Sentry Error logging StatusPage StatusPage Status page