How do you call Python code from C code?


Question

I want to extend a large C project with some new functionality, but I really want to write it in Python. Basically, I want to call Python code from C code. However, Python->C wrappers like SWIG allow for the OPPOSITE, that is writing C modules and calling C from Python.

I'm considering an approach involving IPC or RPC (I don't mind having multiple processes); that is, having my pure-Python component run in a separate process (on the same machine) and having my C project communicate with it by writing/reading from a socket (or unix pipe). my python component can read/write to socket to communicate. Is that a reasonable approach? Is there something better? Like some special RPC mechanism?

Thanks for the answer so far - however, i'd like to focus on IPC-based approaches since I want to have my Python program in a separate process as my C program. I don't want to embed a Python interpreter. Thanks!

1
38
6/28/2009 11:51:45 PM

Accepted Answer

I recommend the approaches detailed here. It starts by explaining how to execute strings of Python code, then from there details how to set up a Python environment to interact with your C program, call Python functions from your C code, manipulate Python objects from your C code, etc.

EDIT: If you really want to go the route of IPC, then you'll want to use the struct module or better yet, protlib. Most communication between a Python and C process revolves around passing structs back and forth, either over a socket or through shared memory.

I recommend creating a Command struct with fields and codes to represent commands and their arguments. I can't give much more specific advice without knowing more about what you want to accomplish, but in general I recommend the protlib library, since it's what I use to communicate between C and Python programs (disclaimer: I am the author of protlib).

12
3/15/2013 2:12:38 PM

See the relevant chapter in the manual: http://docs.python.org/extending/

Essentially you'll have to embed the python interpreter into your program.


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