Distributing Your Application to Other Systems/Platforms

After developing a couple of applications, you might want to distribute them to other users. In case you do not have much experience with Python packages, you might have even asked: How do I create a Python executable?.

If you come from compiled programming languages, deployment is something almost trivial, but for Python is a bit difficult.

The deployment process for Python applications is called, “freezing”, which is distributing your virtual environment content to other users.

Important

As Python does not support WebAssembly and mobile platforms, such as Android and iOS, you cannot deploy applications to these platforms directly, and you require advanced processes to do so.

Note

For embedded systems, you currently need to build Qt for Python for your target platform, and deploy the installation alongside your application.

Reproducible deployment

A common approach is to only provide a requirements.txt file, where you state your dependencies. Users would need to install them from there to run your Application.

For example, imagine I have a project with two dependencies, module_a and module_b, which I use in my main.py file. So my structure is:

# Content of the main.py file
from module_a import something
import module_b

# ...

So the requirements.txt for my application would look like this:

module_a
module_b

Later, when a user want to execute your main.py, the dependencies must be installed using pip install -r requirements.txt in a new virtual environment.

Important

You can notice that this approach includes sharing your code so it fails if you want to hide the code of your application.

Freezing Your Application

This is the most common approach for users to distribute their applications and even though the code is still available for the end user, it is a bit more difficult to retrieve it.

You can find a series of tutorials based on the most popular tools that allow Python users to freeze and distribute applications in our deployment section.

Compiling Python

Even though Python does not natively support to be compiled, there are complementary tools that let you to achieve this. You can check the Nuitka project to learn more.