Kivy Project. Part 1. Setting up environment

Posted on Wed, 01 Jun 2016 in Python

Kivy is an interesting project that allows you build GUI applications for different platform including iOS and Android. If you believe the rumors... I decided to check out is Kivy suits to build for small python GUI app for 5 major platforms: Mac OS X, Linux, Windows, iOS, and Android. In this series I'll try to build a small app for learning foreign language vocabulary and deploy it on all these platforms.

This series woun't be a tutorial. It'll be more like a log of my tries and failures. I'll cover very basic things. No street magic. If everything goes as I expect, at the end I'll get 3 or 4 executables.

NB: I use primary Mac for development. That's why most instruction will be for that platform. May be later I'll add instructions for Linux and Windows.

Set up Kivy

There are two ways to set up Kivy on Mac. You can download and setup bundle from homebrew. Or you can install Kivy from PyPi.

First way (fastest):

  • Download from Kivy2.7z (if you prefer Python 2.7) or Kivy3.7z (includes Python 3.5)
  • Extract it
  • Copy file to Application
sudo mv /Applications/
  • Make symlink
ln -s /Applications/ /usr/local/bin/kivy

This approach has a disadvantage. contains only one virtualenv for all projects. It's OK for small, simple projects, but it can cause problems for big ones. That's why I suppose to install framework in a separate environment for each project.

Second way (the rith one):

I assume that you use pyenv and pyenv-virtualenv.

Install dependencies first.

brew install sdl2 sdl2_image sdl2_ttf sdl2_mixer gstreamer

Install latest Python.

pyenv install 3.5.1

Some times it fails:

zipimport.ZipImportError: can't decompress data; zlib not available

In that case this command helps:

xcode-select --install

As soon as we get python installed, make virtualenv for our project.

pyenv virtualenv 3.5.1 WordConstructor

Activate it.

pyenv activate WordConstructor

Install Cython inside virtualenv.

pip install -I Cython==0.23

Install Kivy.

USE_OSX_FRAMEWORKS=0 pip install kivy

Let's check that everything is working. Open new file in the project folder. Fill it with that content:

from import App
from kivy.uix.widget import Widget

class WordConstructorGame(Widget):

class WordConstructorApp(App):
    def build(self):
        return WordConstructorGame()

if __name__ == '__main__':

Save and run it.


If a window with title "WordConstructor" appeared, everything works OK.

Tuning PyCharm

Let's set up PyCharm project.

In the Preferences dialog, choose Project interpreter corresponds our virtualenv.

Kivy interpreter

Kivy uses Kv Design Language to describe UI. It would be nice to have syntax highlight and autocomplit for it.

  1. Download
  2. Import it in menu File -> Import Settings in PyCharm.
  3. Check File types on and press OK.
  4. Restart PyCharm. Done.

That's all about setting up the environment for Kivy. Second part will cover more practical topics.