It's been another busy month at the hive! The progress we made in May isn't as obvious as last month - but the changes that have been made are an essential part of ensuring we have a stable foundation for future work on the BeeWare ecosystem.

What we've done

During May:

  • We updated the Apple support packages. These updates aren't just a version bump - they also added support that enables the iOS emulator to run natively on M1 devices. This required a major restructure of the way the support packages are bundled, using Apple's new XCframework library packaging format.
  • We addressed an issue with the use of ctypes on physical iOS devices. ctypes is a core part of the infrastructure we use to integrate with the iOS system libraries, so resolving this bug was critical for distributing apps. The fix was deep in the core of libFFI, and has been submitted for integration into the upstream project.
  • We released an Android support package for Python 3.10, as well as updated support packages for Python 3.7, 3.8, and 3.9. These support packages dramatically are now dramatically smaller, and result in smaller end-user applications, thanks to some compiler flag optimisations suggested by the community.
  • We began the process of adding support for Python 3.11 to the Apple and Android support packages. This is the first time BeeWare has been able to contribute prerelease testing to the CPython project. In the process, we discovered a small backwards incompatibility. Baring major incidents, we should be in a position to release BeeWare's support for Python 3.11 on the same day as the official 3.11.0 is finalised.
  • We developed an acceptance test suite for the Apple and Android support packages. This test suite tests for features in the Python core that have a history of being broken (such as modules in the standard library that have binary components, but have been incorrectly compiled or inadvertently excluded from the build). This test suite isn't yet formally integrated into the build process, but the hope is that it will be in the near future.
  • We modified Briefcase so that it is able to run the Android emulator on M1 hardware. This required a major rebuild of the way the Android SDK tooling is managed.
  • We made further improvements to the log capture tools on macOS. This ensures that the first few seconds of application logs are reliably captured, and the log stream is terminated when the app exits.
  • We started the introduction of Black as a part of BeeWare's development tooling. BeeWare's repositories have always enforced code style guidelines, and those code styles are very closely aligned with Black's choices. With Black formally moving out of Beta status at the start of this year, the time has come to start adopting Black as a formal project requirement. For now, Briefcase is the only project that has formally adopted Black, but you can expect this to continue to roll out over the other projects in BeeWare over the coming months.
  • We resolved some minor bugs that were present in the 0.3.0dev33 release of Toga. Most important of these was a bug that prevented the BeeWare tutorial running on iOS devices.

Many of these changes either began as, or are entirely the work of community members. There are also plenty of smaller PRs, bug fixes, and bug reports that are just as important, but are too numerous to list. A huge thanks to everyone who has contributed to BeeWare during May.

What's next?

In June, we'll be focussing on:

  • Publishing our roadmap for Q3 and beyond! Now that we have reliable development resources, we're in a position to make public commitments on the future direction of the project.
  • Completing the hiring process for another engineer to work on BeeWare full time. This hiring process is underway, but it's not too late to apply if you're interested. Full details of the position can be found on Greenhouse.
  • App Notarization on macOS. This is becoming an increasingly required part of macOS app publishing, as Apple cranks up their security requirements.
  • Improving Windows packaging. This includes improving the way the running app presents to the Task Manager, improving log capture, and app signing.
  • Improving Linux packaging. This includes addressing some issues with packaging binary dependencies.
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