Calling a python method from C/C++, and extracting its return value


Question

I'd like to call a custom function that is defined in a python module from C. I have some preliminary code to do that, but it just prints the output to stdout.

mytest.py

import math

def myabs(x):
    return math.fabs(x)

test.cpp

#include <Python.h>

int main() {
    Py_Initialize();
    PyRun_SimpleString("import sys; sys.path.append('.')");
    PyRun_SimpleString("import mytest;");
    PyRun_SimpleString("print mytest.myabs(2.0)");
    Py_Finalize();

    return 0;
}

How can I extract the return value into a C double and use it in C?

1
45
8/19/2012 10:03:52 AM

Accepted Answer

As explained before, using PyRun_SimpleString seems to be a bad idea.

You should definitely use the methods provided by the C-API (http://docs.python.org/c-api/).

Reading the introduction is the first thing to do to understand the way it works.

First, you have to learn about PyObject that is the basic object for the C API. It can represent any kind of python basic types (string, float, int,...).

Many functions exist to convert for example python string to char* or PyFloat to double.

First, import your module :

PyObject* myModuleString = PyString_FromString((char*)"mytest");
PyObject* myModule = PyImport_Import(myModuleString);

Then getting a reference to your function :

PyObject* myFunction = PyObject_GetAttrString(myModule,(char*)"myabs");
PyObject* args = PyTuple_Pack(1,PyFloat_FromDouble(2.0));

Then getting your result :

PyObject* myResult = PyObject_CallObject(myFunction, args)

And getting back to a double :

double result = PyFloat_AsDouble(myResult);

You should obviously check the errors (cf. link given by Mark Tolonen).

If you have any question, don't hesitate. Good luck.

65
7/22/2010 3:33:17 PM

Here is a sample code I wrote (with the help of various online sources) to send a string to a Python code, then return a value.

Here is the C code call_function.c:

#include <Python.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
int main()
{
   // Set PYTHONPATH TO working directory
   setenv("PYTHONPATH",".",1);

   PyObject *pName, *pModule, *pDict, *pFunc, *pValue, *presult;


   // Initialize the Python Interpreter
   Py_Initialize();


   // Build the name object
   pName = PyString_FromString((char*)"arbName");

   // Load the module object
   pModule = PyImport_Import(pName);


   // pDict is a borrowed reference 
   pDict = PyModule_GetDict(pModule);


   // pFunc is also a borrowed reference 
   pFunc = PyDict_GetItemString(pDict, (char*)"someFunction");

   if (PyCallable_Check(pFunc))
   {
       pValue=Py_BuildValue("(z)",(char*)"something");
       PyErr_Print();
       printf("Let's give this a shot!\n");
       presult=PyObject_CallObject(pFunc,pValue);
       PyErr_Print();
   } else 
   {
       PyErr_Print();
   }
   printf("Result is %d\n",PyInt_AsLong(presult));
   Py_DECREF(pValue);

   // Clean up
   Py_DECREF(pModule);
   Py_DECREF(pName);

   // Finish the Python Interpreter
   Py_Finalize();


    return 0;
}

Here is the Python code, in file arbName.py:

 def someFunction(text):
    print 'You passed this Python program '+text+' from C! Congratulations!'
    return 12345

I use the command gcc call_function.c -I/usr/include/python2.6 -lpython2.6 ; ./a.out to run this process. I'm on redhat. I recommend using PyErr_Print(); for error checking.


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