9 months ago, we announced that the BeeWare Project was the recipient of a PSF Education Grant. In late 2019, we choose Asheesh Laroia to do the work. Today, we're proud to announce that BeeWare's Android support has reached a point where it is ready for mass consumption.
The BeeWare tutorial has been updated to include an Android track. The tutorial walks you through the process of writing your first app, and deploying it - first as a desktop app, and then on your phone. All you need is a Python install; everything else you need is downloaded automatically by the BeeWare tools as part of the development process.
And, to prove that it's real - we have uploaded Travel Tips to the Google Play Store. This is a Python app, in the Google Play Store, deployed from the same source code as the version in the iOS App Store.
Huge thanks go to Asheesh for all the work he's put into this project. Delivering Android support in BeeWare has required considerable technical skill, attention to detail, and creative hacks; and Asheesh has consistently delivered. Huge thanks also go to the Education Grants Committee of the Python Software Foundation for the faith they placed in BeeWare when they funded this project. In 6 months (while simultaneously negotiating a world pandemic), we've gone from a nothing to a full Android implementation. Without their financial support, this project would still be a dream.
There's still plenty of work to be done, though. There are still a lot of widgets that need Android implementations, and new widgets that we want to add. We'd like to add support for device features like cameras, GPS and accelerometers. We'd like to make it easier to use binary Python packages like NumPy, Keras, and more. And we'd like to merge the work that we've done into CPython itself.
All of those are significant projects in themselves, and will require effort comparable to that required to add Android as a supported platform. And so, we're looking for the financial support to make that happen. We're applying for new grants as opportunities arise, but the most helpful source of funds are the ongoing funds that come from memberships. Ongoing funding means we can focus on improving BeeWare, rather than chasing grants. It means being able to hire permanent staff, rather than offering short term contracts. And it means being able to make long term plans and promises to the community.
If this project proves anything, it's that money makes things happen. If you're excited by the prospects of Python on mobile platforms, please consider joining the BeeWare Project as a financial member. Or, if you've got experience with commercialisation of Open Source projects, or any other ideas for how we could please get in touch.