[Baypiggies] Is it problematic to embed python in a Qt C++ app?

Ken Seehart ken at seehart.com
Mon Jan 15 21:24:23 CET 2007


craig harris wrote:
> HI all,
> I have a C++ Qt based app and am creating a text API for its 
> functions.  It would work as follows:  A Qt command console would 
> allow users to type in text. Then that text would be parsed by 
> python.  The python would wrap C++ functions and execute them. 
> Before I try to do this, I was wondering if anyone had advice 
> 'against' or 'for' this approach? Is it problematic?
>  
> I guesss another way of asking: can you simaltaneously embed python in 
> C++ and C++ in python?
>  
> Thanks,
> Craig

To answer your second way of asking: Yes.  In fact, projects involving 
*embedding *almost always involve *extending *as well, (otherwise adding 
python would probably not be very helpful except maybe as a built in 
calculator) :-) .

Some terminology to help readers follow this:
*extending *= wrapping your C/C++ code in python (thereby making your 
application's internals available to python code)
*embedding *= making the python interpreter available to the end user 
(thereby allowing the end user to write python code)

See also: http://docs.python.org/ext/ext.html

I don't know much about QT, but I can't imagine any problems being 
created by QT with respect to extending and embedding (especially given 
the success of PyQT), so I can say with 99.742% certainty that it will 
work fine.  I'm a wxPython guy.

It is much better to write the entire user interface in python (PyQT or 
wxPython, etc) in the first place, but if you already have a working GUI 
in C++ it definitely makes sense to embed python.

BTW, the only overwhelming reason to favor C++ over python for any /new 
/GUI development is because management thinks it's a good idea and you 
really don't want to annoy them with newfangled ideas.  Another 
advantage of writing GUI code in C++ instead of python is that it takes 
4 to 10 times as long to implement C++, which is very good for job 
security. :-)  

- Ken Seehart

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