I cannot believe it has been 6 years since my last blog post! Anyway, I have some good news to announce here.
In the Python community, VTK has always been somewhat difficult to install (in comparison to pure Python packages). One has required to either use a specific package management tool or resort to source builds. This has been a major problem when trying to install tools that rely on VTK, like Mayavi.
During the SciPy 2017 conference held at Austin last year, a few of the Kitware developers, notably Jean-Christophe Fillion-Robin (JC for short) and some of the VTK developers got together with some of us from the SciPy community and decided to try and put together wheels for VTK.
JC did the hard work of figuring this out and setting up a nice VTKPythonPackage during the sprints to make this process easy. As of last week (Jan 27, 2018) Mac OS X wheels were not supported. Last weekend, I finally got the time (thanks to Enthought) to play with JC's work. I figured out how to get the wheels working on OS X. With this, in principle, we could build VTK wheels on all the major platforms.
We decided to try and push wheels at least for the major VTK releases. This in itself would be a massive improvement in making VTK easier to install. Over the last few days, I have built wheels on Linux, OS X, and Windows. All of these are 64 bit wheels for VTK-8.1.0.
Now, VTK 8.x adds a c++11 dependency, and so we cannot build these versions of VTK for Python 2.7 on Windows.
So now we have 64 bit wheels on Windows for Python versions 3.5.x and 3.6.x.
Unfortunately, 3.4.x required a different Visual Studio installed and I lost patience setting things up on my Windows VM.
On Linux, we have 64 bit wheels for Python 2.7.x, 3.4.x, 3.5.x, and 3.6.x.
On MacOS, we have 64 bit wheels for Python 2.7.x, 3.4.x, 3.5.x, and 3.6.x.
So if you are using a 64 bit Python, you can now do
$ pip install vtk
and have VTK-8.1.0 installed!
This is really nice to have and should hopefully make VTK and other tools a lot easier to install.
A big thank you to JC, the other Kitware developers, the VTK Python developers, especially David Gobbi who has worked on the VTK Python wrappers for many many years now, for making this happen. Apologies if I missed anyone but thank you all!