Qt for Python/Considerations

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General considerations

QString, QVariant and other types

Qt for Python does not provide access to QString and QVariant, meaning that we decided to use Python's native types for them. Internally we convert Python strings to QStrings and other types that could be accepted as QVariant, like dictionaries, lists and tuples.

Furthermore, the same idea is applied to QChar and QStringRef which are represented as Python strings and QStringList is converted to a Python lists of strings.

QDate, QDateTime, QTime, and QUrl's __hash__() methods return a string representation so that identical dates (and identical date/times or times or URLs) will have identical hash values. QTextStream's bin(), hex(), and oct() functions have been renamed bin_(), hex_(), and oct_(), to avoid conflicting with Python's built-ins of the same names.

QByteArrays, QStrings and Python strings

Previous versions of PySide included a wrong implementation regarding the behavior of QByteArrays, representing them as Python strings. Currently, QByteArray is treated as a list of bytes without an encoding. Please be aware that the equivalent type in Python will depend on its version, Python 2 uses "str" as type, and Python 3 uses "bytes". To avoid confusion, a QString on the other hand, is represented as a human readable string with an encoding, which is represented in Python 2 as an "unicode" object, and in Python 3 as a "str".

The following cases represent the conversion between these types:

Conversion between string and byte types should not be allowed implicitly. So with a Qt API like:

void A::foo(QString a)

The following should happen in Python 3

b = bytes("hi", "utf-8")
c = b"hi" 
d = "hi"
e = str("hi")
A.foo(b) # doesn't work
A.foo(c) # doesn't work
A.foo(d) # works
A.foo(e) # works

And vice versa when expecting a QString, and passing a QByteArray or bytes, the following should happen in Python 3

void A::bar(QByteArray) // or void A::bar(const char *)
b = "hi"
c = str("hi")
d = "hi".encode()
e = QByteArray("hi")
f = b"hi"
A.bar(b) # doesn't work
A.bar(c) # doesn't work
A.bar(d) # works
A.bar(e) # works
A.bar(f) # works

An explicit cast should be used when the user knows what kind of data they have, and what encoding they have / expect, in order to move from QString (Python 3 str, Python 2 unicode) to QByteArray ( Python 3 bytes, Python 2 str) and vice versa.

So if you have a QByteArray, and you know it contains unicode data, and you need to pass it to a function taking a QString, something like this should work in Python 3:

a = QByteArray("hi".encode())
b = bytes(a.data(), "utf-8")

And for a function that takes a QByteArray, but you have a Python 2 unicode or Python 3 str, something like this should work:

# On python 3
a = "hi" 
# On python 2
a = unicode("hi")

Known issues 5.12

Qt Binary installer Windows

When using MSCV2015 on the online installer you will not get QtWebEngine libraries, for that you would need MSVC2017.

Problems with Python 3.8.0

Python 3.8.0 for Windows is missing a symbol causing DLL load errors when using Qt for Python. Python 3.8.1 is the minimum supported version of the Python 3.8 series.

Problems with Python 3.6.0

There seems to be a binary compatibility between 3.6.0 and 3.6.1:

import 'PySide2' # <_frozen_importlib_external.SourceFileLoader object at 0x000001AB2E658F60>
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "C:\Qt5\pyside-setup\examples\tutorial\t1.py", line 47, in <module>
    from PySide2 import QtWidgets
  File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 1009, in _handle_fromlist
  File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 205, in _call_with_frames_removed
  File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 961, in _find_and_load
  File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 950, in _find_and_load_unlocked
  File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 648, in _load_unlocked
  File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 560, in module_from_spec
  File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap_external>", line 922, in create_module
  File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 205, in _call_with_frames_removed
ImportError: DLL load failed: The specified procedure could not be found.
4628:4698 @ 1025492328 - LdrpReportError - ERROR: Locating export "PyUnicode_AsWideCharString" for DLL "C:\Dev\super_pyside_clang\py360_ap\lib\site-packages\PySide2\QtCore.pyd" failed with status: 0xc0000139

(Related: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/43264773/pil-dll-load-failed-specified-procedure-could-not-be-found/43504007#43504007 )

Missing QtScript

At the moment we do not provide a QtScript interface since most of the functionality behind it is covered by native Python, but we plan to include it in the future.

Issues using shiboken2

We noticed that on some linux machines, the built-in shiboken2 depends on Clang headers that are not found, depending on the Linux distribution. We recommend to have a local PySide2 build when trying to generate bindings for any other C++ project.

Missing Windows / Python 2.7 release

The official Python 2.7 binary package which can be downloaded at https://www.python.org/downloads/ is built using MSVC 2008. The Qt libraries are built using MSVC 2015/2017.

Both of these will load different MSVC runtime libraries, which is unsafe.

The usual recommendation is that all built software should use the same MSVC runtime libraries, otherwise this could lead to memory corruption, crashes or undefined behavior.

Therefore we do no ship a Python 2.7 Windows package.

Here are some resources about this:



Note that if you build your own custom Python2.7 interpreter with an MSVC version equivalent to the one that Qt was built with, you can safely build and use Qt For Python against that Python interpreter.

Missing DLLs on Windows

Some users have been reporting missing DLLs on the Windows wheels (the wheels for Windows are built using MSVC 2015) a workaround for this issue is to install the Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2015.

ImportError: DLL load failed: The specified module could not be found

If you try to use the PySide2 package on Windows within a virtual environment and you see an error similar to the one below, make sure to update your virtualenv package to the latest version (16.1.0+) and then recreate the virtual environment.

>>> import PySide2
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
  File "C:\Dev\env\lib\site-packages\PySide2\__init__.py", line 49, in <module>
  File "C:\Dev\env\lib\site-packages\PySide2\__init__.py", line 21, in _setupQtDirectories
    import shiboken2
  File "C:\Dev\env\lib\site-packages\shiboken2\__init__.py", line 4, in <module>
    from .shiboken2 import *
ImportError: DLL load failed: The specified module could not be found.

ImportError: undefined symbol: _ZTI18QOpenGLTimeMonitor

If you try to use PySide2 package from pip on Plasma Mobile, you might get an error similar to this :

>>> import PySide2.QtGui
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
  File "/usr/lib/python3.9/site-packages/shiboken2/files.dir/shibokensupport/__feature__.py", line 142, in _import
    return original_import(name, *args, **kwargs)
ImportError: /usr/lib/python3.9/site-packages/PySide2/QtGui.cpython-39-aarch64-linux-gnu.so: undefined symbol: _ZTI18QOpenGLTimeMonitor, version Qt_5

This error usually occurs because Plasma Mobile uses qt5-es2-* packages and PySide2 from pip was compiled with non es2 Qt libraries.

To resolve this error, you need to use PySide2 compiled with qt5-es2-* packages. Prebuilt packages of PySide2 with qt5-es2-* are provided my Manjaro ARM team.

Solution :

  • Either use the prebuilt pyside2-es2 package provided by Manjaro ARM team on Manjaro Images
  • Or you need to custom compile PySide2 with qt5-es2-* packages


Most of the code snippets on the documentation are based on Qt/C++. It is probable that some pieces are still using C++, so the examples are invalid for Python. We are working to adapt them all, but if you need to understand a certain method or class, you can use our IRC channel to discuss your issue.