In QGIS3 plugin tutorials that use the plugin builder, it says to run pyrcc5 before importing the plugin. After what changes should pyrcc5 be run again? I have managed to modify some plugins by changing some of the Python code and the changes were there when the plugin was reloaded, without me recompiling.

I read here that pyrcc5 compiles the resource.qrc file, but I don't really know what that file is for. The documentation mentions icons, so am I right in presuming that I would have to recompile only after changing the additional images (icons, etc.) provided to the plugin?

1 Answer 1


As The Qt Resource System Documentation says, the main reason of using resource file is to avoid the risk of losing the files.

pyrcc5 generates all in one binary-like string which contains all resource files defined in .qrc file, and adds that string to .py file (in this case, resources.py), then you import that module (from .resources import * or from pluginname.resources import *)

When you add -for example- a new 'icon' to .qrc file or modify the icon file content, you have to run pyrcc5 again to modify resources.py.

I work on different OS and computers. I don't prefer to use .qrc file not to run pyrcc5 again or to avoid getting errors with pyrcc5. Instead, I use full path of the file using the following structure. That's personal choice.

  • Usage without resource file:

      plg_dir = os.path.dirname(__file__)
      # icons: folder containing my icon files
      icon_path = os.path.join(plg_dir, "icons", "zoom.png")
      # OR icon_path = plg_dir  + '/icons/zoom.png'
      icon = QIcon(icon_path) 
  • Usage with resource file:

    Before, you should genereta resource.py file using pyrcc5.

      from .resources import *
      icon_path = ':/icons/zoom.png'
      icon = QIcon(icon_path)

    Content of resources.qrc:

      <!DOCTYPE RCC>
      <RCC version="1.0">

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