Porting from Static Bindings

Before PyGObject 3, bindings where not generated automatically through gobject introspection and where provided as separate Python libraries like pygobject, pygtk, pygst etc. We call them static bindings.

If your code contains imports like import gtk, import gst, import glib or import gobject you are using the old bindings and you should upgrade.

Note that using old and new bindings in the same process is not supported, you have to switch everything at once.

Static Bindings Library Differences

pygtk supported GTK+ 2.0 and Python 2 only. PyGObject supports GTK+ >=3.0 and Python 2/3. If you port away from pygtk you also have to move to GTK+ 3.0 at the same time. pygtkcompat described below can help you with that transition.

pygst supports GStreamer 0.10 and Python 2 only. Like with GTK+ you have to move to PyGObject and GStreamer 1.0 at the same time.

pygobject 2 supports glib 2.0 and Python 2. The new bindings also support glib 2.0 and Python 2/3.

General Porting Tips

PyGObject contains a shell script which can help you with the many naming differences between static and dynamic bindings:


./pygi-convert.sh mymodule.py

It just does basic text replacement. It reduces the amount of naming changes you have to make in the beginning, but nothing more.

  1. Run on a Python module
  2. Check/Verify the changes made (e.g. using git diff)
  3. Finish porting the module by hand
  4. Continue to the next module...

Porting Tips for GTK+

While PyGObject theoretically supports GTK+ 2.0 it is not really usable. It will be easier to port to GTK+ 3.0 right away.

For some general advice regarding the migration from GTK+ 2.0 to 3.0 see the offical migration guide. If you need to know how a C symbol is exposed in Python have a look at the symbol mapping listing.

Using the pygtkcompat Compatibility Layer

PyGObject ships a compatibility layer for pygtk which partially emulates the old interfaces:

from gi import pygtkcompat

import gtk

enable() has to be called once before the first gtk import.

Note that pygtkcompat is just for helping you through the transition by allowing you to port one module at a time. Only a limited subset of the interfaces are emulated correctly and you should try to get rid of it in the end.

Default Encoding Changes

Importing gtk had the side effect of changing the default Python encoding from ASCII to UTF-8 (check sys.getdefaultencoding()) and that no longer happens with PyGObject. Since text with pygtk is returned as utf-8 encoded str, your code is likely depending auto-decoding in many places and you can change it manually by doing:

# Python 2 only
import sys
# see if auto decoding works:
assert '\xc3\xb6' + u'' ==  u'\xf6'

While this is not officially supported by Python I don’t know of any downsides. Once you are sure that you explicitly decode in all places or you move to Python 3 where things are unicode by default you can remove this again.