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Archived:PyS60 1.4.5 Quick Start

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Created: hamishwillee (07 Jan 2011)
Last edited: hamishwillee (31 May 2013)

Warning.pngWarning: See the Getting Started with Python (Trail) to get the latest (and greatest!) version of Python on Symbian.

This article covers the older and less functionally rich PySymbian 1.4.5 release, which we recommend only if you're targeting S60 2nd Edition mobile devices.

This Quick Start document provides information on how to begin developing Python applications for the Symbian platform. At the end of the tutorial you will have installed Python (PySymbian v1.4.5) on your phone or Emulator, written a basic helloworld application and run it on the phone both from the interactive shell script and as a stand-alone application.

If you are completely new to Python we recommend you start your development on the desktop - by taking the short course Dive Into Python or working through the tutorial: Python Programming for the Non Programmer.


Setting Up Your Development Environment

Python applications are simple "scripts" created in any text editor. It contains code written in the Python programming language conventions and named with the file extension ".py". The python scripts can be run either from "Python Interactive" on a mobile device or the Symbian platform emulator, or as standalone applications on your mobile device.

Getting PySymbian

The PySymbian 1.4.5 (stable release) files can be downloaded from There are different files for the different versions of S60 (descriptions are provided for all files in the Python on Symbian Technical Overview#Table2)

(Please note that the current available version for PySymbian can be downloaded from )

For this tutorial we assume you are working on Symbian platform phones and SDKs. Therefore you require the following files:

  • PythonForS60_1_4_5_3rdEd.sis - the Python runtime
  • PythonScriptShell_1_4_5_3rdEd.SIS - the Python script shell
  • - the PySymbian SDK
  • PythonForS60_1_4_5_doc.pdf - the relevant PySymbian library reference and API documentation (applies to all)

Installing Python on your Phone

The SIS file listed above are compatible with Symbian platform (and any S60 3rd Edition phones (or later)). If you have a S60 2nd Edition phone then you will need to download some new files.

Using your PC Suite software, install the following files to your Symbian platform or S60 3rd Edition phone:

  • PythonForS60_1_4_5_3rdEd.sis - the Python runtime
  • PythonScriptShell_1_4_5_3rdEd.SIS - the Python script shell

You can verify the installation by launching the "Python" icon from the device Installations folder. If you do menu "Options | Run Script", you can select some pre installed scripts (usually installed on c:\data\python or e:\data\python) to demonstrate the power of Python! The icon and list of applications are shown below:

Setting up your Windows PC

Install/unzip/copy the following files (in order):

  • S60 5th Edition SDK
    • Note that you'll first need to unzip the SDK to a temporary directory, and then run setup.exe. The patch will then need to be unzipped over the SDK, so that it overwrites the SDK's \epoc32\ directory. Accept all prompts during unzipping to allow this to happen.
    • On first use, the SDK will prompt you to register it. The process is straight forward, but you will need to sign up with Nokia Developer if you haven't already.
    • You can launch the Emulator by clicking on the file [SDK]/epoc32/release/winscw/udeb/epoc.exe. You then navigate to the Python icon in the Emulator in the same way as you did on the device.
  • - The PySymbian SDK
    • The PySymbian SDK ZIP file contains another file named Extract that in the S60 SDK folder (by default C:\S60\devices\S60_3rd_FP2_SDK for the SDK we are using). PySymbian is now installed on your emulator.
  • PythonForS60_1_4_5_doc.pdf - Copy of the relevant PySymbian library reference and API docs (applies to all)
  • Python 2.2.2 for Windows (needed to run Ensymble to create standalone applications

You will also need a text editor for writing your scripts. We recommend you to use editor like Notepad ++. However you can use any other text editor including Windows Notepad.

Note.pngNote: While you can write code in the classic Python IDLE IDE, it is not possible to run code that depends on PySymbian-specific libraries from this or other IDEs. They must be run in the S60 emulator or on the target device.

Your first script

The very simple script below asks the user for their name, then displays a dialog with the text: "Hello Name, welcome to Python World."

# import the app user interface framework module
import appuifw
# create a single-field dialog (text input field): appuifw.query(label, type)
data = appuifw.query(u"Type your name", "text")
# create an information note: appuifw.note(label, type)
appuifw.note(u"Hello "+str(data)+", welcome to Python World", "info")

Copy this text into your preferred text editor and then save the file as (the ".py" extension is used for uncompiled python scripts).

If you're using the interactive shell for testing, you need to copy the file to \Python\ on any drive. For the device you can copy the file directly into the correct folder using PC Suite, or send it as a message with Bluetooth and then move it to the correct folder, using a file manager application (YBrowser - recommended). If you're using the emulator you can copy it direct into the appropriate folder - [SDK]\epoc32\winscw\c\python.

You can then test your script in the same way you verified the Python installation - by launching the "Python" icon for the interactive shell, then doing "Options | Run Script" and selecting it from the list.

That's it. You now have Python on your device and/or your Emulator and know how to write/launch scripts. The next section shows how you can package your script as an application.

Making a Standalone Application

Scripts are ideal for testing because they can be quickly and easily modified. However, an application should be distributed in the form of an installable SIS file. This applies even more when the application has external resource files that have to be distributed with it.

The PySymbian 1.4.5 tool for creating standalone application's is Ensymble. This is a Python application, so you need to install Python 2.2.2 before it can be run.

Tip.pngTip: You can also use the GUI front end to this script (the "Application Packager" described in the wiki book Python on Symbian, but you'll need to get the other version of PySymbian to do so.

Before using Ensymble, we recommend you first read the (very extensive) Ensymble’s readme file. You can then package the script we created in the previous section.

  1. Open the Windows command prompt.
  2. Navigate to the folder containing your application script and Ensymble script.
  3. Type the following command and press Enter. py2sis

A SIS file named helloworld_v1_0_0.sis will be created in the same folder. Instructions for using Ensymble on Linux OS are available here.

Many other useful parameters are available for the py2sis command for additional options. Ensymble’s readme file contains more information.

--shortcaption="App. Name"
--caption="Application Name"
--vendor="Vendor Name"

You might want to compile the Python scripts (PY) to Python compiled scripts (PYC) using Python for PC ( before packaging them in SIS files. Converting to PYC increases performance and execution speed and protects the source code to some extent. The following code commands are used on Python on PC for cross compiling scripts, as shown in Figure 5.

import py_compile


import compileall
compileall.compile_dir('Myfolder', force=1)
#Compiles all scripts in the directory Myfolder

Figure 5 Commands for compiling Python scripts


This Quick Start tutorial has shown you how to get set up with PySymbian 1.4.5 on the Symbian platform, from getting the developer environment through to making standalone applications.

Related Information

There are plenty of public domain resources to help you get started on learning generic Python, and the PySymbian flavour in particular:

Licence icon cc-by-sa 3.0-88x31.png© 2010 Symbian Foundation Limited. This document is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 license. See for the full terms of the license.
Note that this content was originally hosted on the Symbian Foundation developer wiki.

This page was last modified on 31 May 2013, at 01:10.
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