Building wxPython 2.8 for Development and Testing

This file describes how I build wxWidgets and wxPython while doing development and testing, and is meant to help other people that want to do the same thing. I'll assume that you are using either a SVN snapshot from http://wxWidgets.org/snapshots/, a checkout from SVN, or one of the released wxPython-src-2.8.* tarballs. I'll also assume that you know your way around your system, the compiler, etc. and most importantly, that you know what you are doing! ;-)

If you want to also install the version of wxPython you build into your site-packages dir and be your default version of wxPython, then a few additional steps are needed, and you may want to use slightly different options. See the INSTALL document for more details. If you only use the instructions in this BUILD document file then you will end up with a separate installation of wxPython and you can switch back and forth between this and the release version that you may already have installed.

If you want to make changes to any of the *.i files, (SWIG interface definition files,) or to regenerate the extension sources or renamer modules, then you will need an up to date version of SWIG, plus some patches. Get the sources for version 1.3.29, and then apply the patches in wxPython/SWIG and then build SWIG like normal. See the README.txt in the wxPython/SWIG dir for details about each patch and also info about those that may already have been applied to the SWIG sources. If you install this build of SWIG to a location that is not on the PATH (so it doesn't interfere with an existing SWIG install for example) then you can use a setup.py command-line option named SWIG set to the full path name of the executable and the wxPython build will use it. See below for an example.

In the text below I'll use WXDIR with environment variable syntax (either $WXDIR or %WXDIR%) to refer to the top level directory where your wxWidgets and wxPython sources are located. It will equate to where ever you checked out the wxWidgets code from SVN, or untarred the wxPython-src tarball to. You can either substitute the $WXDIR text below with your actual dir, or set the value in the environment and use it just like you see it below.

If you run into what appears to be compatibility issues between wxWidgets and wxPython while building wxPython, be sure you are using the wxWidgets sources included with the wxPython-src tarball or the SVN snapshot, and not a previously installed version or a version installed from one of the standard wxWidgets installers. With the "unstable" releases (have a odd-numbered minor release value, where the APIs are allowed to change) there are often significant differences between the W.X.Y release of wxWidgets and the W.X.Y.Z release of wxPython.

Building on Unix-like Systems (e.g. Linux and OS X)

These platforms are built almost the same way while in development so I'll combine the descriptions about their build process here. First we will build wxWidgets and install it to an out of the way place, then do the same for wxPython.

  1. Create a build directory in the main wxWidgets dir, and configure wxWidgets. If you want to have multiple builds with different configure options, just use different subdirectories. I normally put the configure command in a script named ".configure" in each build dir so I can easily blow away everything in the build dir and rerun the script without having to remember the options I used before:

    cd $WXDIR
    mkdir bld
    cd bld
    ../configure --prefix=/opt/wx/2.8 \
                 --with-gtk \
                 --with-gnomeprint \
                 --with-opengl \
                 --enable-debug \
                 --enable-debug_gdb \
                 --enable-geometry \
                 --enable-graphics_ctx \
                 --enable-sound --with-sdl \
                 --enable-mediactrl \
                 --enable-display \
    

    On OS X of course you'll want to use --with-mac instead of --with-gtk and --with-gnomeprint.

    Notice that above I used a prefix option of "/opt/wx/2.8". You can use whatever path you want, such as a path in your HOME dir or even one of the standard prefix paths such as /usr or /usr/local if you like, but using /opt this way lets me easily have multiple versions and ports of wxWidgets "installed" and makes it easy to switch between them, without impacting any versions of wxWidgets that may have been installed via an RPM or whatever. For the rest of the steps below be sure to also substitute "/opt/wx/2.8" with whatever prefix you choose for your build.

    NOTE: Due to a recent change there is currently a dependency problem in the multilib builds of wxWidgets on OSX, so I have switched to using a monolithic build. That means that all of the core wxWidgets code is placed in in one shared library instead of several. wxPython can be used with either mode, so use whatever suits you on Linux and etc. but use monolithic on OSX. To switch to the monolithic build of wxWidgets just add this configure flag:

    --enable-monolithic \
    

    By default GTK 2.x will be used for the build. If you would rather use GTK 1.2.x for some reason then you can force configure to use it by changing the --with-gtk flag to specify it like this:

    --with-gtk=1 \
    

    To make the wxWidgets build be unicode enabled (strongly recommended unless you are building with GTK1) then add the following flag. When wxPython is unicode enabled then all strings that are passed to wx functions and methods will first be converted to unicode objects, and any 'strings' returned from wx functions and methods will actually be unicode objects.:

    --enable-unicode \
    

    If you want to use the image and zlib libraries included with wxWidgets instead of those already installed on your system, (for example, to reduce dependencies on 3rd party libraries) then you can add these flags to the configure command:

    --with-libjpeg=builtin \
    --with-libpng=builtin \
    --with-libtiff=builtin \
    --with-zlib=builtin \
    
  2. To build and install wxWidgets you could just use the "make" command but there are a couple other libraries besides the main wxWidgets libs that also need to be built so again I make a script to do it all for me so I don't forget anything. This time it is called ".make" (I use the leading "." so when I do rm -r * in my build dir I don't lose my scripts too.) This is what it looks like:

    make $* \
        && make -C contrib/src/gizmos $* \
        && make -C contrib/src/stc $*
    

    So you just use .make as if it where make, but don't forget to set the execute bit on .make first!:

    .make
    .make install
    

    When it's done you should have an installed set of files under /opt/wx/2.8 containing just wxWidgets. Now to use this version of wxWidgets you just need to add /opt/wx/2.8/bin to the PATH and set LD_LIBRARY_PATH (or DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH on OS X) to /opt/wx/2.8/lib.

  3. I also have a script to help me build wxPython and it is checked in to the source repository as wxPython/b, but you probably don't want to use it as it's very cryptic and expects that you want to run SWIG, so if you don't have the latest patched up version of SWIG then you'll probably get stuck. So in this document I'll just give the raw commands instead.

    We're not going to install the development version of wxPython with these commands, so it won't impact your already installed version of the latest release. You'll be able test with this version when you want to, and use the installed release version the rest of the time. If you want to install the development version please read INSTALL.txt.

    If you have more than one version of Python on your system then be sure to use the version of Python that you want to use when running wxPython programs to run the setup.py commands below. I'll be using python2.5.

    Make sure that the first wx-config found on the PATH is the one belonging to the wxWidgets that you installed above, and then change to the $WXDIR/wxPython dir and run the this command:

    cd $WXDIR/wxPython
    python2.5 setup.py build_ext --inplace --debug
    

    If your new wx-config script is not on the PATH, or there is some other version of it found first, then you can add this to the command line to ensure your new one is used instead:

    WX_CONFIG=/opt/wx/2.8/bin/wx-config
    

    By default setup.py will assume that you built wxWidgets to use GTK2. If you built wxWidgets to use GTK 1.2.x then you should add this flag to the command-line:

    WXPORT=gtk
    

    Setup.py will assume by default that you are using a unicode build of wxWidgets. If not then you can use this flag:

    UNICODE=0
    

    If you are wanting to have the source files regenerated with swig, (only neccessary if you make modifications to the *.i files,) then you need to turn on the USE_SWIG flag and optionally tell it where to find the new swig executable, so add these flags:

    USE_SWIG=1 SWIG=/opt/swig/bin/swig
    

    If you get errors about being unable to find libGLU, wxGLCanvas being undeclared, or something similar then you can add BUILD_GLCANVAS=0 to the setup.py command line to disable the building of the glcanvas module.

    When the setup.py command is done you should have a fully populated (but uninstalled) wx package located in your $WXDIR/wxPython/wx directory.

  4. To run code with the development version of wxPython, just set the PYTHONPATH to the wxPython dir located in the source tree. For example:

    export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/opt/wx/2.8/lib
    export PYTHONPATH=$WXDIR/wxPython
    cd $WXDIR/wxPython/demo
    python2.5 demo.py
    

    OS X NOTE: Depending on your version of OS X and Python you may need to use "pythonw" on the command line to run wxPython applications. This version of the Python executable is part of the Python Framework and is allowed to interact with the display. You can also double click on a .py or a .pyw file from the finder (assuming that the PythonLauncher app is associated with these file extensions) and it will launch the Framework version of Python for you. For information about creating Applicaiton Bundles of your wxPython apps please see the wiki and the mail lists.

    SOLARIS NOTE: If you get unresolved symbol errors when importing wxPython and you are running on Solaris and building with gcc, then you may be able to work around the problem by uncommenting a bit of code in config.py and building again. Look for 'SunOS' in config.py and uncomment the block containing it. The problem is that Sun's ld does not automatically add libgcc to the link step.

Building on Windows with MS Visual C++

The Windows builds currently require the use of Microsoft Visual C++. Theoretically, other compilers (such as mingw32 or the Borland compilers) can also be used but I've never done the work to make that happen. If you want to try that then first you'll want to find out if there are any tricks that have to be done to make Python extension modules using that compiler, and then make a few changes to setup.py to accommodate that. (And send the patches to me.)

The standard Python 2.3 and earlier are built with MS Visual C 6.0 and so you must also build with MSVC 6 in order to be used with the stock python.exe. If you would rather use a different version of VisualStudio keep in mind that you'll also have to build Python and any other extension modules that you use with that compiler because a different version of the C runtime library is used. The stock Python 2.4 and 2.5 executables are built with MSVC 7.1, and the same rules apply to it.

If you want to build a debuggable version of wxWidgets and wxPython you will need to have also built a debug version of Python and any other extension modules you need to use. You can tell if you have them already if there is a _d in the file names, for example python_d.exe or python25_d.dll. If you don't need to trace through the C/C++ parts of the code with the debugger then building the normal (or hybrid) version is fine, and you can use the regular python executables with it.

Starting with 2.5.3.0 wxPython can be built for either the monlithic or the multi-lib wxWidgets builds. (Monolithic means that all the core wxWidgets code is in one DLL, and multi-lib means that the core code is divided into multiple DLLs.) To select which one to use specify the MONOLITHIC flag for both the wxWidgets build and the wxPython build as shown below, setting it to either 0 or 1.

Just like the unix versions I also use some scripts to help me build wxWidgets, but I use some non-standard stuff to do it. So if you have bash (cygwin or probably MSYS too) or 4NT plus unix-like cat and sed programs then there is a copy of my wxWidgets build scripts in %WXDIR%\wxPython\distrib\msw. Just copy them to %WXDIR%\build\msw and you can use them to do your build, otherwise you can do everything by hand as described below. But if you do work by hand and something doesn't seem to be working correctly please refer to the build scripts to see what may need to be done differently.

The *.btm files are for 4NT and the others are for bash. They are:

.make/.make.btm        Builds the main lib and the needed contribs
.mymake/.mymake.btm    Builds just one lib, used by .make
.makesetup.mk          A makefile that will copy and edit setup.h
                       as needed for the different types of builds

Okay. Here's what you've been waiting for, the instructions! Adapt accordingly if you are using the bash shell.

  1. Set an environment variable to the root of the wxWidgets source tree. This is used by the makefiles:

    set WXWIN=%WXDIR%
    
  2. Copy setup0.h to setup.h:

    cd %WXDIR%\include\wx\msw
    copy setup0.h setup.h
    
  3. Edit %WXDIR%\include\wx\msw\setup.h and change a few settings:

    wxUSE_DEBUGREPORT              0
    wxUSE_EXCEPTIONS               0
    wxUSE_DIALUP_MANAGER           0
    wxUSE_GRAPHICS_CONTEXT         1
    wxUSE_GLCANVAS                 1
    wxUSE_POSTSCRIPT               1
    wxUSE_DIB_FOR_BITMAP           1
    wxUSE_DATEPICKCTRL_GENERIC     1
    

    If you are using my build scripts then a few more settings will be changed automatically and then a copy of setup.h is placed in a subdir of %WXWIN%\libvc_dll. If you are doing it by hand and making a UNICODE build, then also change these:

    wxUSE_UNICODE                  1
    wxUSE_UNICODE_MSLU             1
    

    If you are doing a "hybrid" build (which is the same as the binaries that I release) then also change these:

    wxUSE_MEMORY_TRACING           0
    wxUSE_DEBUG_CONTEXT            0
    
  4. Make sure that %WXDIR%\lib\vc_dll directory is on the PATH. The wxWidgets DLLs will end up there as part of the build and so you'll need it on the PATH for them to be found at runtime.

  5. Change to the %WXDIR%\build\msw directory

    cd %WXDIR%\build\msw

  6. If using my scripts then use the .make.btm command to build wxWidgets. It needs one command-line parameter which controls what kind of build(s) to do. Use one of the following:

    debug          Build debug version
    hybrid         Build hybrid version
    both           Both debug and hybrid
    debug-uni      Build a debug unicode library
    hybrid-uni     Hybrid unicode (see the pattern yet? ;-)
    both-uni       and finally both unicode libraries
    

    For example:

    .make hybrid
    

    You can also pass additional command line parameters as needed and they will all be passed on to the nmake commands, for example to clean up the build:

    .make hybrid clean
    

    If not using my scripts then you can do it by hand by directly executing nmake with a bunch of extra command line parameters. The base set are:

    nmake -f makefile.vc OFFICIAL_BUILD=1 SHARED=1 MONOLITHIC=0 USE_OPENGL=1 USE_GDIPLUS=1
    

    If doing a debug build then add:

    BUILD=debug
    

    otherwise add these:

    DEBUG_FLAG=1 CXXFLAGS=/D__NO_VC_CRTDBG__ WXDEBUGFLAG=h BUILD=release
    

    If doing a Unicode build then add these flags:

    UNICODE=1 MSLU=1
    

    Now, from the %WXDIR%\build\msw directory run nmake with your selection of command-line flags as described above.

  7. When that is all done it will have built the main wxWidgets DLLs and also some of the contribs DLLs. There should be a ton of DLLs and lots of lib files and other stuff in %WXDIR%\lib\vc_dll.

  8. Building wxPython on Windows is very similar to doing it for the unix systems. We're not going to install the development version of wxPython with these commands, so it won't impact your already installed version of the latest release. You'll be able to test with this version when you want to, and use the installed release version the rest of the time. If you ever do want to install the development version please refer to INSTALL.txt.

    Change to the %WXDIR%\wxPython dir and run the this command, making sure that you use the version of python that you want to build for (if you have more than one on your system) and to match the MONOLITHIC flag with how you built wxWidgets:

    cd %WXDIR%\wxPython
    python setup.py build_ext --inplace MONOLITHIC=0
    

    If you are wanting to have the source files regenerated with swig, (only neccessary if you make modifications to the *.i files,) then you need to turn on the USE_SWIG flag and optionally tell it where to find the new swig executable, so add these flags:

    USE_SWIG=1 SWIG=e:\\projects\\SWIG-1.2.29\\swig.exe
    

    If you built a Unicode version of wxWidgets and want to also build the Unicode version of wxPython then add this flag:

    UNICODE=1
    

    If you have a debug version of Python and wxWidgets and want to build a debug version of wxPython too, add the --debug flag to the command line. You should then end up with a set of *_d.pyd files in the wx package and you'll have to run python_d.exe to use them. The debug and hybrid(release) versions can coexist.

    When the setup.py command is done you should have fully populated wxPython and wx packages locally in %WXDIR%/wxPython/wxPython and %WXDIR%/wxPython/wx, with all the extension modules (*.pyd files) located in the wx package.

  9. To run code with the development version of wxPython, just set the PYTHONPATH to the wxPython dir in the source tree. For example:

    set PYTHONPATH=%WXDIR%\wxPython
    cd %WXDIR\wxPython\demo
    python demo.py
    

Building on Windows with Cygwin/MingW32

Starting with release 2.8.6.1 wxPython is also able to be built for the stock Python on Windows using the cywin environnment and the mingw32 compiler. It can probably also be done with a few modifications to these instructions without cygwin, using just the standalone mingw32 compiler and MSYS, but that has not been tested yet. Another potential option is to build wxWidgets and wxPython for cygwin and the cygwin version of Python, but the details for that also has not yet been worked out. If you do work out the details then please send me patches for this document.

This build has some aspects of both of the builds desctibed above, but leans more towards the Unix-like style of doing things. If you have any questions about the steps detailed in these instructions please read the above sections as well, as the answer could be there.

  1. If you don't already have cygwin installed on your Windows box please do so know. Make sure you have these additional packages installed as well:

    autoconf
    automake
    gcc-core
    gcc-g++
    gcc-mingw
    gcc-mingw-core
    gcc-mingw-g++
    make
    mingw-runtime
    mingw-zlib
    patch
    w32api
    
  2. Create a build directory in the main wxWidgets dir, and configure wxWidgets. Notice that we set some environment variables so configure will know to override the defaults for some compiler and linker flags settings, this is what causes the mingw32 compiler to be used even though we are in the full cygwin environment:

    cd $WXDIR
    mkdir bld
    cd bld
    
    CC="gcc -mno-cygwin -mwindows"  \
    CXX="g++ -mno-cygwin -mwindows" \
    LDFLAGS="-mno-cygwin -mwindows" \
    ../configure \
        --with-msw \
        --build=i686-pc-mingw32 \
        --prefix=/opt/wx/2.8 \
        --enable-unicode \
        --enable-debug \
        --enable-debug_gdb \
        --enable-geometry \
        --enable-display \
        --enable-shared \
        --with-expat=builtin \
        --with-regex=builtin \
        --with-zlib=builtin
    

    Read the note above in the unix-like section for why I used /opt/wx/2.8 for the prefix, and for some discussion about what your options are. For a cygwin environment the default of using /usr/local for the prefix would also be a good choice. Note that the wx DLLs will be installed to {prefix}/lib and since DLLs need to be found in the PATH you'll either want to add that dir to your PATH if it isn't already there, or be prepared to move those DLLs someplace else when the build is finished.

    If you don't need to use the debugger you can leave off the --enable-debug and --enable-debug_gdb flags, and add the --enable-optimise flag to cause the compiler to generate more efficient code. I recommend that you also add the --enable-debug_flag flag so that some C++ runtime checks will be turned into Python exceptions when they fail.

  3. To build and install wxWidgets you could just use the "make" command but there are a couple other libraries besides the main wxWidgets libs that also need to be built so I make a script called ".make" to do it all for me so I don't forget anything. This is what it looks like:

    make $* \
        && make -C contrib/src/gizmos $* \
        && make -C contrib/src/stc $*
    

    So you just use .make as if it where make:

    .make
    .make install
    

    This is going to take a while as GCC on Windows is very slow. This would be a good time to go take a nap, or have dinner, or both. When it's done you should have an installed set of files under /opt/wx/2.8 (or whatever prefix you used) containing just wxWidgets. Now to use this version of wxWidgets you just need to add /opt/wx/2.8/bin and /opt/wx/2.8/lib to the PATH.

  4. Building wxPython is very similar to how it is done for the other build styles. We simply run the setup.py in the wxPython dir, and pass it some commands and flags. Make sure that the Python that you use for running setup.py is the one that you want to use when running wxPython apps. In other words, if you have the cygwin Python installed, or multiple versions of stock Windows Python, then use the full pathname to python.exe to make sure you use the right one.

    python setup.py COMPILER=mingw32

    BUILD_GLCANVAS=0 BUILD_ACTIVEX=0 WX_CONFIG="bash.exe -e /opt/wx/2.8/bin/wx-config" build_ext --inplace

    This builds the wxPython extension modules and places them directly in the wx package dir located in the source tree. This is convenient for testing the build or running the demo and samples without needing to do an install to site-packages and possibly disturbing the wxPython you already have installed. You just need to set PYTHONPATH so Python will find this version of the wx package first. When you are ready to install this build you can do it by adding 'install' to the command line and running it again. See the INSTALL.txt file for more details.

    Notice that we had to turn off the building of the wx.glcanvas and wx.activex modules. There are also a few other features that are not currently supported by this build, most notably the wx.GraphicsContext and wx.media.MediaCtrl families of classes. Hopefully that will improve over time.