Unlike other programming languages, Python does not require programmers to express concepts by writing longer lines of code. The high level programming language has a design with emphasis on code readability. At the same time, as an open source programming language, Python makes it easier for enterprises to reduce the project overheads significantly. Python is highly flexible. That is why; software developers across the world use Python for developing desktop application and web applications. Some developers even prefer writing mobile apps in Python using additional tools and frameworks.
You can always consider using Python for developing standalone graphical user interface (GUI) apps to reduce both development time and cost. However, you cannot create the desktop apps rapidly by using only Python. You have to use various GUI tools and resources to speed up and effectuate the Python GUI application development. The libraries provided by these frameworks will make it easier for you to write great standalone GUI apps in the hugely popular programming languages. As you have option to choose from a number of cross-platform frameworks, it is important to understand the pros and cons of these widely used GUI toolkits.
Frameworks for Desktop Application Development Using Python
As free software, PyGTK provides Python bindings for GTK+ toolkit. You can use the GTK+ library provided by PyGTK to easily add utilities and visual elements to your application. The cross-platform GTK applications can also run on, and be modified from Windows, Linux or OS X. So you can take advantage of PyGTK to rapidly create GUI apps using Python.
As a cross-platform application framework, QT finds use for developing both GUI and non-GUI applications. QT further allows you to use either PyQT or PySide. You can use PySide as a Python binding for cross-platform GUI toolkit Qt. On the other hand, PyQT can be used as a Python binding for Qt cross-platform GUI/XML/SQL C++ framework. In addition to supporting both Python 2 and 3, PyQT includes more than 620 classes covering GUI, SQL databases and network communication. However, PySide and PyQT, unlike other GUI toolkits, are licensed.
TkInter is one of the most popular GUI toolkits for Python. It is a thin object-oriented layer between your desktop application and Tk. You can use a wide range of graphical widgets provided by Tk to create robust standalone GUI apps. Normally, TkInter is a part of Python, and developers need not install it additionally. But you have to install and download Tcl/Tk additionally as it is not part of the programming language. At present, TkInter apps can run on several platforms including Windows, Linux and OS X.
As an open source and cross-platform GUI toolkit for Python, wxPython enables you to create high-performing desktop applications without putting any extra time and effort. Python developers can use it as a Python extension module that wraps wxWidget written in C++. Along with being simple, wxPython are also readable and easy-to-maintain. You can run wxPython applications on Windows, Linux and OS X.
Kivy is an open source library which is written in Python programming language, and supports a variety of input devices including mouse and dual mouse. You can use Kivy for developing both standalone GUI applications and multi-touch apps. The Python library comes with a graphics engine that takes advantages of modern and fast graphic pipelines. You also have option to use over 20 extensible widgets. These apps can further run smoothly on a number of platforms including Windows, Linux and OS X.
The components provided by Camelot makes it easier for you to create both simple and complex business applications rapidly. Camelot further allows you to create applications by combining Python programming language, SQLAlchemy and Qt. You also have option to customize the desktop app using Actions Framework. At the same time, you can also boost user experience using a number of controls and built-in functions.
Unlike other GUI Toolkits for Python, Cocoa is not cross-platform. At present, it supports only a single platform, i.e., Mac OS X. So you can use Cocoa for creating Python desktop applications for OS X platform. The framework will further require you to use PyObjC which is a bridge between Python and Objective-C. While using Cocoa you have option to use Objective-C libraries, along with Apple’s Cocoa framework.
As an open source project, CEF Python helps programmers to create desktop applications using HTML5. Developers can seamlessly embed CEF browser in some of the popular GUI toolkits including Kivy, wxPython, and QT. At the same time, the Python developers can also use CEF Python as an alternative to these popular toolkits. CEF Python further comes with features for automated web application testing. At present, it is supports Python 2.7, along with major platforms like Windows, Linux and OS X.
Tools for Packaging Your Python Desktop Application and Its Dependencies
Along with creating a robust Python desktop app, it is also important to package and distribute it effectively. Normally, the Python applications are deployed using pip. But Python and pip are not setup on most users’ systems. So you must use specific tools to package the application effectively, and enable end users to access it without any hassle. Based on the version of Python you use, you have option to choose from a number of tools for packaging you app and its dependencies.
For instance, you can use Pynsist to generate a Windows installer. The installer will first install the specific version of Python, and then install the app. At the same time, you can also use specific freezer tools to freeze you app into an exe. According to the operating system and the specific version of Python you are using, you have option to use a number of freezer tools including cx_Freeze, PyInstaller, py2app, py2exe.
On the whole, you have option to use several GUI toolkits and frameworks to create great standalone GUI applications using Python. But you must evaluate the pros and cons of each popular framework, and pick the one that complements specific requirements of your project. At the same time, you need to check the version of Python the particular framework supports, along with the frequency of updates.