The Release of QGIS 3.0 was a great success and with the first LTR (3.4) scheduled for release this fall, it is now the perfect time to port your plugins to the new API.
QGIS 3.0 is the first major release since September 2013 when QGIS 2.0 was released. During the release cycles of all 2.x releases, the QGIS Python API remained stable. This means that a plugin or script meant to be used in QGIS 2.0 is still working in QGIS 2.18.
The need for a new major release was principally motivated by the update to newer core libraries such as Qt 5 and Python 3. But it also offered a unique opportunity to the development team to tackle long-standing issues and limitations which could not be fixed during the 2.x life cycle. Inevitably, this introduced multiple backward incompatibilities making scripts and plugins unusable in QGIS 3.
In this post, I’d like to share some notes from my latest ports. Obviously, if you need professional help for porting your plugins, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Step 0 – Unit tests
You should already have your code covered by unit tests, but I know, the world is not perfect and at times we have to cut edges and, unfortunately, often unit tests are the ones getting cut.
Porting to a new API version is a great moment to go write unit tests helping to make sure that your plugin will keep on working as before the port.
Step 1 – fix * imports
Before going on, please go and remove all your * imports (like from PyQt4.QtGui import *). They are bad and qgis2to3 cannot handle them. There is no need to already change them to the PyQ5 version, just remove them and add the propper PyQt4 imports. We’ll handle moving to PyQt5 in a later step.
From PEP8: Wildcard imports (from
import *) should be avoided, as they make it unclear which names are present in the namespace, confusing both readers and many automated tools.
Step 2 – Versioning strategy
Since having a source code repository is a mandatory requirement for publishing a plugin on plugins.qgis.org, I assume you already know what code versioning is and why you absolutely should be using it.
Unless you absolutely want to make your code run on both API 2 and 3 (which might be possible) I strongly suggest to create a branch or your current version called qgis2, API2 or legacy or whatever you want to call it. From now on this branch will be responsible for all your future (probably mainly bugfixes) releases for the 2.x series of QGIS. Remember to edit the metadata.txt file and add your minimum and maximum version (not mandatory but nice for clarity):
From now on your master branch will be where all your future development for the 3.x series will happen. Remember to edit the metadata.txt file and add your minimum version:
Step 3 – install the helpers
We created a repository with two dedicated tools to help you migrate your QGIS 2 plugins to QGIS 3:
qgis2apifinder. Both tools are distributed as a single Python package installable via
pip install qgis2to3
Please note that often for system-wide installation you need sudo.
All the sources and more information can be found at https://github.com/opengisch/qgis_2to3
Step 4 – Python 2 to Python 3 and PyQt4 to PyQt5
qgis2to3 tool is a copy of the files found in QGIS scripts to allow for quick downloading and simple installation without the need of downloading the whole QGIS repository. This is a set of fixers for the python
2to3 command that will update your Python 2 code to Python 3. The additional fixers will also take care of the PyQt4 to PyQt5 porting as well as some other things.
qgis2to3 command will show a number of changes required. These changes can be applied with
qgis2to3 -w /path/to/your/plugin
Step 5 – Check for API v2 usages
qgisapi2finder tool helps you find usages of the QGIS API version 2 and gives hints about potential required changes for API version 3.
It is based on a machine parsing of https://qgis.org/api/api_break.html so the results are as good as the information there.
Also, being a simple text parser, it just gives a hint where to look at. It is by no means a complete tool to find all the possible API incompatibility.
Methods are matched using only their names and not their classes, so there might be various false positives. Also, if the same keyword has been edited in various classes,
qgisapi2finder will show you all the available suggestions for that keyword.
You can run
qgis2apifinder to get hints on the existence of obsolete code requiring manual porting and suggestions on how to actually deal with it. Please note that
qgis2apifinder does hide some very frequent words like [‘layout’, ‘layer’, ‘fields’] from the analysis. You can show those with the
qgis2apifinder --all /path/to/plugin
qgis2apifinder --all /path/to/plugin/file.py
Step 6 – update your code
From here on it is all looking at each hint, updating the code and rerunning your tests. A properly configured IDE (stay tuned) could also help in the process.
Some more information can be found at github.com/qgis/QGIS/wiki/Plugin-migration-to-QGIS-3
Also, take a look at the PyQGIS API documentation now online at python.qgis.org/master.
I hope this post and tool can help you porting your plugins to QGIS3 and again if you need professional help for porting your plugins, don’t hesitate to contact us.