Skip to main content

Building a cross-platform native app with BeeWare

The last talk, "A tale of two cellphones: Python on Android and iOS"  from PyCon 2016 on how they approached building a mobile app using python was very good. They discussed how python can be effectively used to manage native objects and how that in turn can be used to build a native app with python.

At that point, the project was just starting out (I believe) so I was looking forward more of the same with this year's talk and expecting to see how far they got after two years. Here's the talk, named "Building a cross-platform native app with BeeWare" from Pycon 2018.



Unfortunately, I don't this years talk was as good.  Here's a snapshot of the app that was created after two years.



Thoughts and Comments

I was a bit surprised to hear "the hard part isn't the widget toolkit". Unless they're using the approach that kivy took, where low level OpenGL primitives that almost all platforms support are used, I'm not sure how this is the case.

Android and iOS's native widget implementations are completely different. Certain concepts, properties, and implementation details don't map from one to the other. Even react native has separate widgets for iOS and Android.

The question on "How would you run numpy?" and the response on the desktop was also interesting. I think that this is the most difficult part of moving to mobile and this aspect was sort of glazed over.

Cross compiling is not simple (for certain packages anyways). Projects like conda-mobile that have pre-cross-compiled packages for numpy, pandas, and a few other common libraries for android make this easier but it's still difficult. Chaquopy provides these as well (but is not open source).

I don't know if BeeWare allows you to use these libraries on mobile.

Summary

I hope the project succeeds but I'm afraid they might be trying to do too much. Maybe mobile isn't their main goal but I was hoping to see more progress.

Anyways, if you're looking for "How can I make an Android app in Python", I think Kivy and enaml-native have shown more potential to make something happen. If you're just looking to plug some python into an android app go for chaquopy  or pybridge.



What do you think? Do you think BeeWare's approach to mobile will work?










Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Kivy vs React-Native for building cross platform mobile apps

I've built three apps now using Kivy and one with React-Native, just wanted to share my thoughts on both.

Just a warning, I am strongly biased towards python and this is all based on opinion and experience and is thus worth what you pay for it. I don't claim to be an expert in either of these, just have worked with each for several months.  If something is incorrect I'd love to hear advice.

Kivy
Demo of one of the apps



Pros:
Nice to be able to run natively on the desktop WITHOUT a simulatorPython is easy to work withUse (almost) any python libraryVery easy to create custom widgetsKivy properties and data binding just work. Way nicer than React's "state" / flux / redux whatever you want to call it (stupid?). Native interfaces (pyjnius) and (pyobjc)Runs and feels pretty smooth Cons:Default widget toolkit looks like Android 4.4. Requiring you use your own widgets or a theming kit like KivyMD if styling bothers youCreating dynamic widgets declaratively is not yet s…

Control Systems in Python - Part 1 - Bode and Step Response

I hate matlab with passion, yet sadly, nearly everyone uses it.  I'm a fan of Python and open source stuff so here's a simple article on how to do some common control systems stuff in Python.

First we need to make sure the environment is setup.
Install IPython (or you can use any other python shell, but a unicode supported shell is preferred)Install python-control (numpy, scipy)Install sympy
These should do if your on Ubuntu/debian:

sudo apt-get install python-sympy python-numpy python-scipy python-matplotlib ipython
Then you need to install python control, see How to download and install python-control
Intro to using SympyOpen ipython and run the following:

import sympy from sympy import * sympy.init_printing() s = Symbol('s')

Now we can do things like define transfer functions using the symbolic variable s.


We can expand the bottom using the .simplify() method

and we can do something more complex like...
which is really nice because it does all the multiplication for us... and it’…