Installing Xi-cam

Installing Xi-cam for developing plugins requires some system configuration. By following this guide, you will have Xi-cam running and ready for development.

Install git and python3

You will need to ensure that you have both git and python3 installed on your system for Xi-cam development.

If you do not have familiarity with git, see the Resources page for more information about git and GitHub.


Open the Terminal application (in Applications/Utilities). In the terminal, check to see if git is installed by typing git --version. Either a version number will be printed, indicating git is already installed, or a dialog will open asking The “git” command requires the command line developer tools. Would you like to install the tools now? Click the Install button to install the developer tools, which will install git for you.

You will also need to install python3. You can download python3 at You will want to get the macOS 64-bit installer if you are running any macOS version since Mavericks.


Download git here and follow the installer’s instructions. This will install Git for Windows, which provides a Git Bash command line interface as well as a Git GUI graphical interface for git.

You will want to go to the python3 download page at For modern systems, install the Windows x86-64 executable installer at the bottom.

When you run the installer, make sure sure to check the box that says Add Python 3.x to PATH to ensure that the interpreter will be placed in your execution path.

Create and Activate a Virtual Environment

The latest python3 version comes with the venv module, which can be used to create a virtual environment. A virtual environment is a sequestered space where you can install and uninstall packages without modifying your system’s installed packages.

Create a virtual environment for installing the Xi-cam components and dependencies. You will then want to activate the virtual environment you created so that any packages you install with python’s package manager, pip, will be installed into that active virtual environment. In the commands below, create a virtual environment called venv_Xi-cam and activate it:


python3 -m venv venv_Xi-cam
source venv_Xi-cam/bin/actviate


python -m venv venv


If you don’t already have a preferred text editor or IDE (integrated development environment), you will want to install one. For python, we recommend the PyCharm Community Edition IDE.

Install Xi-cam and Core Dependencies

Xi-cam depends on a GUI library package called Qt; you will need to install one of the python bindings for Qt in order to install Xi-cam. You can install the PyQt5 pip package as follows:

pip install PyQt5

Clone the primary Xi-cam repositories needed for development: Xi-cam.core, Xi-cam.gui, Xi-cam.plugins, and Xi-cam.

Then, install these into your active virtual environment via pip. Use the -e option to create an editable installation. This allows you to modify any code in these repos and see the changes without having to run pip install again. (If on Windows, run the following commands using Git Bash.)

git clone
cd Xi-cam.core 
pip install -e .
cd ..

git clone
cd Xi-cam.plugins
pip install -e .
cd ..

git clone
cd Xi-cam.gui
pip install -e .
cd ..

git clone
cd Xi-cam
pip install -e .

To ensure everything is installed correctly, you can run Xi-cam. In the Xi-cam directory, run: