python-for-android 0.5 released

We’ve just officially released python-for-android 0.5. The new version can be downloaded via pip, or will be used by buildozer automatically in new installations. This release contains about 300 commits from almost 40 different contributors. Thanks to everyone involved!

python-for-android is a packaging tool for turning Python scripts and apps into Android APKs. It was originally created for use with the Kivy graphical framework, but now supports multiple kinds of Python app including Kivy, PySDL2, a webview interface with Flask or other webserver backend, plain Python scripts without a GUI, or other possibilities such as Python builds for use in other applications.

This release contains many fixes and improvements to all parts of the toolchain. Now that these have been released as stable, we intend to move quickly to make some larger improvements including supporting gradle builds, and better support for Python 3 in some recipes.

For full instructions and further information, see the python-for-android documentation.

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Pyonic interpreter 1.3 released: Adds support for loading and executing files

I’ve just released Pyonic interpreter 1.3. As usual you can download it from Google Play, for Python 2.7 or Python 3.6. The APKs can also be downloaded directly from Github (where the source code is also available).

The new filebrowser interface in Pyonic interpreter.

The main addition in this release is a file browser interface, which gives Pyonic the ability to load and execute files in the interpreter. This is mildly useful on its own, and I’ve had comments that people would like to be able to do it, but it’s also groundwork for full support for file editing support. I hope to add these features in a future version.

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Pyonic interpreter 1.2 released: Now supports Python 3.6 and input functions

I’ve just released Pyonic interpreter 1.2. As usual, you can get it from Google Play, now for Python 2.7 or Python 3.6. The APKs can also de bownloaded directly from Github (where the source code is also available).

Pyonic interpreter showing docstring and autocompletion options

This is the first release to target Python 3.6 on Android (not just Python 3.5), which is made possible by recent additions to python-for-android. I expect to do a separate python-for-android release to announce this shortly.

The main change to the app this release is support for the input and (in Python 2) raw_input functions. These would previously crash as the interpreter isn’t really being run in a shell, so the way they try to take input doesn’t work. They are now overridden with new replacements, which should hopefully behave roughly the same way as the originals are supposed to, but via a more convenient popup gui for the text to be entered.

I’m still working on file editing and other Python management functions, but there didn’t seem to be any reason to delay a release since according to the Google Play reviews people are trying and failing to use the input functions.

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Pyonic interpreter 1.1 released: Python 2/3 interpereter for Android, now with autocompletion

I’ve just released Pyonic interpreter 1.1. As usual, you can get it from Google Play for Python 2.7 or Python 3.5, or download the APKs directly from Github (where the source code is also available).

Pyonic interpreter showing docstring and autocompletion options

The major feature in this release is autocompletion support via the excellent jedi library, as is used by many editors and IDEs. Pyonic now automatically gives a list of autocompletion options as you write Python code, any of which can be selected by tapping it. There’s also a new help button, which when pressed shows the call signature and docstring of the Python object reference currently under the cursor.

As a further bonus, I’ve reduced the size of the Python 3 APK by a further ~25%, it’s now around 11MB. This is probably still a little larger than it needs to be, but is much better than the massive 19MB version that I first published! I’ll continue to try to improve this with tweaks in python-for-android’s Python 3 build process.

For the next release, I intend to go back to improving Pyonic’s process handling, and from there to add support for pip installation of new modules and file editing. The latter of these will also benefit from the new autocompletion integration.

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Pyonic interpreter 1.0 released

I’ve just released Pyonic interpreter 1.0. You can get it from Google Play for Python 2.7 or Python 3.5, or download the APKs directly from Github (update: changed to v1.0.1 following a small bugfix).

The primary change in this release is that both APKs are about 25% smaller than before, thanks to optimisations in the Python distributions that I’ve added to python-for-android - in particular, making sure Python files are shipped as .pyo files (which may also speed things up a bit) and stripping unneeded symbols from object files with Python 3. Both of these were things python-for-android has been missing for a while, so it’s nice to get them working and immediately see the benefits.

I’ve also been working on some backend improvements in Pyonic and python-for-android in order to support multiple interpreter processes. This will be convenient for using pip and running Python code from files, but isn’t ready yet and so hasn’t made it into this release.

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Pyonic interpreter 0.7 released: Python for Android, now supports Python 3

Pyonic interpreter 0.7 has just been released. There are now two versions on Google Play, one for Python 2.7 and one for Python 3.5. The APKs are also available directly from Github. Other features in this release include a new settings screen and improved gui arrangement.

Three screenshots of Pyonic interpreter.

The app is written in Python using Kivy, and uses exactly the same code under both Python versions. This code is open source and available online on Github.

This release includes most of the short term improvements I had planned, since supporting Python 3 didn’t raise any major issues. I expect that development will now focus on adding a few more usability tweaks, then working with the Python packaging to add features like pip installs for new modules, code editing (rather than just the interpreter interface), and support for GUI creation via Kivy.

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Pyonic interpreter: a Python interpreter GUI for Android, written in Python

I’ve just released a new app, Pyonic Python 2 interpreter. Pyonic interpreter is a Python interpreter app for Android, providing a convenient interface adapted to mobile devices. The app itself is written entirely in Python using Kivy.

Screenshot of the interpreter app.

I put this together because I’ve always thought it would be nice to have a Python interpreter app that is itself written in Python, and in principle Kivy and python-for-android provide all the necessary components. In practice this worked even better than I expected, Kivy handled almost everything perfectly - I actually underestimated its maturity here! As part of the project, I’ve tried to round a number of corners that Kivy apps sometimes can to have, so that the interpreter (hopefully) behaves nicely in all situations. Within the interpreter, all of the standard library is available, and it’s possible to interrupt execution (equivalent to the normal ctrl+c behaviour) or to restart the interpreter process. No external modules are included yet except those necessary for the app to run, but I’ll probably include some major ones like numpy in a future release, and in the long term the aim is to support pip installs of new modules.

This has also been a great stimulus for working on python-for-android; I’ve fixed a number of bugs, added several new features, and improved documentation in several places, just thanks to needing these things in a real app.

On a technical level, Pyonic interpreter runs under Python 2, consisting of the app itself and a background Service running a second instance of the interpreter. I’ll be working on Python 3 support in the near future, in fact I originally wrote the app using Python 3 but switched to Python 2 partly due to incompatibilities in Kivy’s osc library (which should be easily fixed or avoided by just using a better communication library) and partly the more well-tested nature of python-for-android’s Python 2 build.

The interpreter works by passing submitted Python code to the background Python process where it is parsed as ast and compiled in ‘exec’ or ‘single’ mode as appropriate to replicate the output printing behaviour of the normal Python interpreter. Doing things this way is a little awkward and feels like reinventing the wheel, although I’m not sure how to better achieve the same thing. An alternative might be to just call the python binary in a subprocess and manipulate its stdin/stdout - I’ll be looking into this option, but it doesn’t eliminate the need for message passing and may need some small changes in python-for-android, assuming also that android doesn’t impose any important limits on subprocessing.

In the short term future, I expect to work first on releasing an improved version that adds a number of useful settings options (sneak peek in the image below), followed by working on a Python 3 version, and then to investigate some of these technical questions. I’d like to look into iOS support, as everything should work almost the same way there, but I don’t have the hardware or developer mempership for iOS development; if anyone would like to try it, let me know. Longer term, Pyonic interpreter is an experimental step towards creating a larger suite of mobile Python tools, in tandem with using this experience to improve python-for-android. There are many features to be added directly to the interpreter, but I’d also like to add surrounding tools including a full code editor, the ability to use pip to install other modules locally, and GUI support via additional Kivy activities.

Screenshot of the settings screen in the development version of Pyonic interpreter.

Settings screen in development to appear in the next release.

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python-for-android 0.4 released, now available on PyPI

We’ve just officially released python-for-android 0.4, and pushed it to PyPI for the first time!

python-for-android is a packaging tool for turning Python scripts and apps into Android APKs. It was originally created for use with the Kivy graphical framework, but now supports multiple kinds of Python app including Kivy, PySDL2, a webview interface with Flask or other webserver backend, plain Python scripts without a GUI, or other possibilities such as Python builds for use in other applications.

This release is the culmination of all the work over the last year to replace Kivy’s old Android toolchain with something more flexible and useful for other projects. Major features added in this time include the fully Python toolchain itself, support for SDL2 and other bootstraps, (experimental) python3 support via the CrystaX NDK, multiple architecture support, and many general improvements to the backend. Many thanks to all the contributors who have made this possible!

From now on we intend to move to regular versioned releases rather than the previous rolling master branch. Short term targets for the next release include bringing the python3 build up to full functionality and stability, and some argument restructuring to make command line usage simpler and clearer.

As of this release, you can now install python-for-android with simply:

pip install python-for-android

For full instructions and further information, see the python-for-android documentation.

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python-for-android 0.4 released, now available on PyPI

We’ve just officially released python-for-android 0.4, and pushed it to PyPI for the first time!

python-for-android is a packaging tool for turning Python scripts and apps into Android APKs. It was originally created for use with the Kivy graphical framework, but now supports multiple kinds of Python app including Kivy, PySDL2, a webview interface with Flask or other webserver backend, plain Python scripts without a GUI, or other possibilities such as Python builds for use in other applications.

This release is the culmination of all the work over the last year to replace Kivy’s old Android toolchain with something more flexible and useful for other projects. Major features added in this time include the fully Python toolchain itself, support for SDL2 and other bootstraps, (experimental) python3 support via the CrystaX NDK, multiple architecture support, and many general improvements to the backend. Many thanks to all the contributors who have made this possible!

From now on we intend to move to regular versioned releases rather than the previous rolling master branch. Short term targets for the next release include bringing the python3 build up to full functionality and stability, and some argument restructuring to make command line usage simpler and clearer.

As of this release, you can now install python-for-android with simply:

pip install python-for-android

For full instructions and further information, see the python-for-android documentation.

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Kivy at PyCon

Jacob Kovac, Kivy core developer and creator of the KivEnt game engine, is at PyCon 2016.

Click here or see below to watch his talk, Revitalizing Python Game Development: Packaging, Performance, and Platforms.

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