Android

Chaquopy is distributed as a plugin for Android’s Gradle-based build system.

Prerequisites:

  • Android Gradle plugin version should be between 2.3.x and 3.1.x. This is specified as com.android.tools.build:gradle in your project’s top-level build.gradle file, and will usually be the same as your Android Studio version. Newer versions may also work, but have not been tested with this version of Chaquopy.
  • minSdkVersion must be 15 or higher.
  • Some features require Python to be available on the build machine. Supported versions are 2.7, 3.3 and later.

    By default, Chaquopy will build with the same Python major version as the app itself, i.e. python2 / python3 on Linux and Mac, or py -2 / py -3 on Windows. To change this, use the buildPython setting. For example, on Windows you might use one of the following:

    python {
        buildPython "py -3.5"
        buildPython "C:/Python36/python.exe"
    }
    

Basic setup

Gradle plugin

In the project’s top-level build.gradle file, add the Chaquopy Maven repository and dependency to the end of the existing repositories and dependencies blocks:

buildscript {
    repositories {
        ...
        maven { url "https://chaquo.com/maven" }
    }
    dependencies {
        ...
        classpath "com.chaquo.python:gradle:3.3.0"
    }
}

Then, in the module-level build.gradle file (usually in the app directory), apply the Chaquopy plugin at the top of the file, but after the Android plugin:

apply plugin: 'com.android.application'
apply plugin: 'com.chaquo.python'        // Add this line

Python version

With the plugin applied, you can now add a python block within android.defaultConfig. The only required setting in this block is the Python version, and the currently available versions are:

  • 2.7.15
  • 3.6.5 (recommended)

For example:

defaultConfig {
    python {
        version "3.6.5"
    }
}

Note

The following obsolete Python versions are also available, but they do not contain all current features and bug fixes either for Chaquopy or for Python itself. Projects using these versions should upgrade as soon as possible.

  • 2.7.10
  • 2.7.14
  • 3.6.3

ABI selection

The Python interpreter is a native component, so you must specify which native ABIs you want the app to support. The currently available ABIs are:

  • armeabi-v7a, for the vast majority of Android hardware.
  • x86, for the Android emulator.

During development you will probably want to enable them both:

defaultConfig {
    ndk {
       abiFilters "armeabi-v7a", "x86"
    }
}

There’s no need to actually install the Android native development kit (NDK), as Chaquopy will download pre-compiled CPython binaries for the selected ABIs.

Note

Each ABI will add several MB to the size of the app, plus the size of any native requirements. It will also make the app take longer to build. Because some of the native components are stored as assets, the split APK feature cannot be used to mitigate this. If you want to build separate APKs for each ABI, this can instead be done using a product flavor dimension:

android {
    flavorDimensions "abi"
    productFlavors {
        arm {
            dimension "abi"
            ndk { abiFilters "armeabi-v7a" }
        }
        x86 {
            dimension "abi"
            ndk { abiFilters "x86" }
        }
    }
}

Android Studio plugin

To add Python suppport to the Android Studio user interface, you may optionally install the JetBrains Python plugin.

Note

Chaquopy is not fully integrated with this plugin. It will only provide syntax highlighting, and limited code completion and navigation features. It does not support Python debugging, and it will show numerous “unresolved reference” warnings. We hope to improve this in a future version.

  • In Android Studio, select File > Settings.
  • Go to the Plugins page, and click “Install JetBrains plugin”.
  • Select “Python Community Edition”, and click “Install”.
  • Restart Android Studio when prompted.

Development

Source code

By default, Chaquopy will look for Python source code in the python subdirectory of each source set. For example, the Python code for the main source set should go in src/main/python.

To add or change source directories, use the android.sourceSets block. For example:

android {
    sourceSets {
        main {
            python {
                srcDirs = ["replacement/dir"]
                srcDir "additional/dir"
            }
        }
    }
}

Note

The setRoot method only takes effect on the standard Android directories. If you want to set the Python directory as well, you must do so explicitly, e.g.:

main {
    setRoot "some/other/main"
    python.srcDirs = ["some/other/main/python"]
}

As with Java, it is usually an error if the source directories for a given build variant include multiple copies of the same filename. This is only permitted if the duplicate files are all empty, such as may happen with __init__.py.

Startup

It’s important to structure the app so that Python.start() is always called with an AndroidPlatform before attempting to run Python code. There are two basic ways to achieve this:

  • If the app always uses Python, then call Python.start() from a location which is guaranteed to run exactly once per process, such as Application.onCreate(). A PyApplication subclass is provided to make this easy: simply add the following attribute to the <application> element in AndroidManifest.xml:

    android:name="com.chaquo.python.android.PyApplication"
    

    You can also use your own subclass of PyApplication here.

  • Alternatively, if the app only sometimes uses Python, then call Python.start() after first checking whether it’s already been started:

    // "context" must be an Activity, Service or Application object from your app.
    if (! Python.isStarted()) {
        Python.start(new AndroidPlatform(context));
    }
    

Requirements

Note

This feature requires Python on the build machine. If you configure this with the buildPython setting, the buildPython must have the same Python major version as the app itself.

External Python packages may be built into the app by adding a python.pip block to build.gradle. Within this block, add install lines, each specifying a package in one of the following forms:

Examples:

python {
    pip {
        install "six==1.10.0"
        install "scipy==1.0.1"
        install "LocalPackage-1.2.3-py2.py3-none-any.whl"
        install "-r", "requirements.txt"
    }
}

In our most recent tests, Chaquopy could install about 80% of the top 1000 packages on PyPI. This includes almost all pure-Python packages, plus a constantly-growing selection of packages with native components. To see which native packages and versions are currently available, you can browse the repository here. To request a package to be added or updated, or for any other problem with installing requirements, please visit our issue tracker.

To pass options to pip install, give them as a comma-separated list to the options setting. For example:

python {
    pip {
        options "--extra-index-url", "https://example.com/private/repository"
        install "PrivatePackage==1.2.3"
    }
}

Any options in the pip documentation may be used, except for those which relate to the target environment, such as --target, --user or -e. If there are multiple options lines, they will be combined in the order given.

Static proxy generator

Note

This feature requires Python on the build machine, which can be configured with the buildPython setting.

In order for a Python class to extend a Java class, or to be referenced by name in Java code or in AndroidManifest.xml, a Java proxy class must be generated for it. The staticProxy setting specifies which Python modules to search for these classes:

python {
    staticProxy "module.one", "module.two"
}

The app’s source tree and its requirements will be searched, in that order, for the specified modules. Either simple modules (e.g. module/one.py) or packages (e.g. module/one/__init__.py) may be found.

Within the modules, static proxy classes must be declared using the syntax described in the static proxy section. For all declarations found, Java proxy classes will be generated and built into the app.

Packaging

Bytecode compilation

Your app will start up faster if its Python code is compiled to .pyc format. This is currently only supported for the Python standard library, but may be extended to app code and pip-installed packages in a future version.

Compilation prevents source code text from appearing in Python stack traces, so you may wish to disable it during development. The default settings are as follows:

python {
    pyc {
        stdlib true
    }
}

Resource files

By default, Python modules are loaded directly from the APK assets at runtime and don’t exist as separate files. Because of this, any code which depends upon __file__ to locate resource files will fail. There are two ways of dealing with this.

The most efficient way is to change the code to use pkgutil.get_data instead. For example, to load some/package/subdir/README.txt from within some/package/module.py:

readme = pkgutil.get_data(__name__, "subdir/README.txt")
# To read it like a file, use io.StringIO(readme.decode())

If this is not feasible (e.g. if the code is installed using pip), then you can specify certain Python packages to extract at runtime using the extractPackages setting. For example:

python {
    extractPackages "somepackage", "some.subpackage"
}

Extracted packages will load slower and use more storage space, so you should specify the deepest possible package which contains both the module on which __file__ is looked up, and the files being loaded.

extractPackages is used by default for certain PyPI packages which are known to require it. If you discover any more, please let us know.

Python standard library

ssl

Because of inconsistencies in the system certificate authority store formats of different Android versions, the ssl module is configured to use a copy of the CA bundle from certifi. The current version is from certifi 2018.01.18.

sys

stdout and stderr are redirected to Logcat with the tags python.stdout and python.stderr respectively. The streams will produce one log line for each call to write(), which may result in lines being split up in the log. Lines may also be split if they exceed the Logcat message length limit of approximately 4000 bytes.

stdin always returns EOF. If you want to run some code which takes interactive text input, you may find the console app template useful.

Licensing

Evaluation

You can try out Chaquopy right now by cloning one of the example apps, or following the setup instructions above in an app of your own.

An unlicensed SDK is fully-functional, but apps built with it will display a notification on startup, and are limited to a run-time of 5 minutes. To remove these restrictions, a license is required. All licenses are perpetual and include upgrades to all future versions.

Once you have a license key, activate it by adding the following line to the project’s local.properties file:

chaquopy.license=<license key>

Standard license

A standard license allows unlimited use of Chaquopy in any number of apps. Please contact us to request a license key, giving the following information:

  • A summary of what your app is, and how Chaquopy will be used in it.
  • How many developers on your project will be using Chaquopy.

Open-source license

For open-source apps, Chaquopy will always be free of charge. Please contact us with details of your app, including:

  • The app ID (package name)
  • Where the app is distributed (e.g. Google Play)
  • Where the app’s source code is available