PyQt, py2exe, and pyinstaller

As I wrote in a previous installment of my links of the week, I discovered a really nice replacement for py2exe. However, pyinstaller doesn’t seem to play nice with PyQt…

The documentation and mailing lists suggest adding hooks for “hidden imports” in the pyinstaller/hooks directory. I’ve been having problems with this for quite some time:

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "", line 47, in 
NameError: name 'QtGui' is not defined

Whenever I attempt to run an executable built from my Qt application. I’ve tried creating a,, and a number of permutations thereof without much luck. So, I decided to go back to trying out py2exe only to discover that the problem I was having with it was due to a really stupid mistake on my part.

As it turns out, you cannot simply create a setup script anywhere you like, even during testing. Here’s my application layout (roughly):


I had placed my under Chatly/chatly/client temporarily in the hopes it’d save some typing when indicating the script path during the build process. ‘Course, if I had been thinking clearly about previous .eggs I’ve built, I should have known this wouldn’t work. Nevertheless, I tried it and ran into this:

D:\python25\lib\distutils\ UserWarning: Unknown distribution option:
usage: [global_opts] cmd1 [cmd1_opts] [cmd2 [cmd2_opts] ...]
   or: --help [cmd1 cmd2 ...]
   or: --help-commands
   or: cmd --help

error: invalid command 'py2exe'

(Yeah, this is from Windows. Since I’m building a Windows app in Python, it’s a necessity. Cygwin doesn’t work for this in particular, unfortunately. I hate the command prompt–it’s too anemic and lacks the utility of a proper shell.)

Since I’ve always created Python applications in distributable packages (like eggs) the right way, I’ve never experienced this particular error. When I was searching Google for clues, I expected some obvious answer. There weren’t any. Some people discovered they had py2exe installed twice (how?) and others were simply not using the correct arguments passed to setup(). Since my looked like this:

from setuptools import setup
import py2exe

I was pretty sure that wasn’t a problem. I did read the py2exe documentation, after all.

Then I tried something. I figured that if, perhaps, py2exe were causing a problem, I could simply uninstall it, run the as it existed, and it’d generate an ImportError, right?

Nope. Same error.

That was when I began to realize it was some rather stupid mistake on my part with the choice of positioning for When I moved it to the project root outside any package where it’s supposed to live, it worked fine. Oops.

The problem with building a PyQt application still troubled me, though. The documentation for py2exe is fairly extensive (thankfully), and after some digging around, I discovered that the missing QtGui import–rather, the one that wasn’t working–could be resolved similarly to the _qt issue mentioned in py2exe’s documentation. The result was a that looks like this:

from setuptools import setup
import py2exe
setup(windows=["chatly/client/ui/"], options={"py2exe": {
         "includes": ["sip", "PyQt4.QtGui"]}})

PyQt4.QtGui is required to import the Qt GUI classes since they’re evidently not imported by py2exe’s internals during build. sip is also required (it’s a part of the PyQt build process) and without it, nothing will work.

The finished product is a distributable package that works rather nicely–on Windows.


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