Words of Advice#

When writing or using Python bindings there is some things you must keep in mind.

Rvalue References#

Normally, no bindings are generated for functions taking rvalue references. Experimental support has been added in 6.6. The functions need to be explicitly specified using the add-function, declare-function or function elements. For value-type objects, this does not have any implications since the arguments are copied in the generated code and the copy is moved from. For object-type objects however, it means that the object instance is moved from and should no longer be referenced.

Duck punching and virtual methods#

The combination of duck punching, the practice of altering class characteristics of already instantiated objects, and virtual methods of wrapped C++ classes, can be tricky. That was an optimistic statement.

Let’s see duck punching in action for educational purposes.

import types
import Binding

obj = Binding.CppClass()

# CppClass has a virtual method called 'virtualMethod',
# but we don't like it anymore.
def myVirtualMethod(self_obj, arg):

obj.virtualMethod = types.MethodType(myVirtualMethod, obj, Binding.CppClass)

If some C++ code happens to call CppClass::virtualMethod(…) on the C++ object held by “obj” Python object, the new duck punched “virtualMethod” method will be properly called. That happens because the underlying C++ object is in fact an instance of a generated C++ class that inherits from CppClass, let’s call it CppClassWrapper, responsible for receiving the C++ virtual method calls and finding out the proper Python override to which handle such a call.

Now that you know this, consider the case when C++ has a factory method that gives you new C++ objects originated somewhere in C++-land, in opposition to the ones generated in Python-land by the usage of class constructors, like in the example above.

Brief interruption to show what I was saying:

import types
import Binding

obj = Binding.createCppClass()
def myVirtualMethod(self_obj, arg):

# Punching a dead duck...
obj.virtualMethod = types.MethodType(myVirtualMethod, obj, Binding.CppClass)

The Binding.createCppClass() factory method is just an example, C++ created objects can pop out for a number of other reasons. Objects created this way have a Python wrapper holding them as usual, but the object held is not a CppClassWrapper, but a regular CppClass. All virtual method calls originated in C++ will stay in C++ and never reach a Python virtual method overridden via duck punching.

Although duck punching is an interesting Python feature, it don’t mix well with wrapped C++ virtual methods, specially when you can’t tell the origin of every single wrapped C++ object. In summary: don’t do it!

Python old style classes and PySide#

Because of some architectural decisions and deprecated Python types. Since PySide 1.1 old style classes are not supported with multiple inheritance.

Below you can check the examples:

Example with old style class:

from PySide6 import QtCore

class MyOldStyleObject:

class MyObject(QtCore, MyOldStyleObject):

this example will raise a ‘TypeError’ due to the limitation on PySide, to fix this you will need use the new style class:

from PySide6 import QtCore

class MyOldStyleObject(object):

class MyObject(QtCore, MyOldStyleObject):

All classes used for multiple inheritance with other PySide types need to have ‘object’ as base class.

Frequently Asked Questions#

This is a list of Frequently Asked Questions about Qt for Python. Feel free to suggest new entries using our Mailing list or our IRC channel!


What is Shiboken?#

Shiboken is a Generator Runner plugin that outputs C++ code for CPython extensions. The first version of PySide had source code based on Boost templates. It was easier to produce code but a paradigm change was needed, as the next question explains.

Why did you switch from Boost.Python to Shiboken?#

The main reason was the size reduction. Boost.Python makes excessive use of templates resulting in a significant increase of the binaries size. On the other hand, as Shiboken generates CPython code, the resulting binaries are smaller.

Creating bindings#

Can I wrap non-Qt libraries?#

Yes. Check Shiboken source code for an example (libsample).

Is there any runtime dependency on the generated binding?#

Yes. Only libshiboken, and the obvious Python interpreter and the C++ library that is being wrapped.

What do I have to do to create my bindings?#

Most of the work is already done by the API Extractor. The developer creates a typesystem file with any customization wanted in the generated code, like removing classes or changing method signatures. The generator will output the .h and .cpp files with the CPython code that will wrap the target library for python.

Can I write closed-source bindings with the generator?#

Yes, as long as you use a LGPL version of Qt, due to runtime requirements.

What is ‘inject code’?#

That’s how we call customized code that will be injected into the generated at specific locations. They are specified inside the typesystem.