Call Python from C#

Introduction

The documentation provides a sample implementation of the inter-process communication between C# and Python scripts.

Remarks

Note that in the example above data is serialized using MongoDB.Bson library that can be installed via NuGet manager.

Otherwise, you can use any JSON serialization library of your choice.


Below are inter-process communication implementation steps:

  • Input arguments are serialized into JSON string and saved in a temporary text file:

     BsonDocument argsBson = BsonDocument.Parse("{ 'x' : '1', 'y' : '2' }"); 
     string argsFile = string.Format("{0}\\{1}.txt", Path.GetDirectoryName(pyScriptPath), Guid.NewGuid());
    
  • Python interpreter python.exe runs the python script that reads JSON string from a temporary text file and backs-out input arguments:

     filename = sys.argv[ 1 ]
     with open( filename ) as data_file:  
        input_args = json.loads( data_file.read() )
    
     x, y = [ float(input_args.get( key )) for key in [ 'x', 'y' ] ]
    
  • Python script is executed and output dictionary is serialized into JSON string and printed to the command window:

     print json.dumps( { 'sum' : x + y , 'subtract' : x - y } )
    

    enter image description here

  • Read output JSON string from C# application:

     using (StreamReader myStreamReader = process.StandardOutput)
     {
        outputString = myStreamReader.ReadLine();
        process.WaitForExit();
     }
    

enter image description here

I am using the inter-process communication between C# and Python scripts in one of my projects that allows calling Python scripts directly from Excel spreadsheets.

The project utilizes ExcelDNA add-in for C# - Excel binding.

The source-code is stored in the GitHub repository.

Below are links to wiki pages that provide an overview of the project and help to get started in 4 easy steps.

I hope you find the example and the project useful.


C# code calling Python script

using MongoDB.Bson;
using System;
using System.Diagnostics;
using System.IO;

namespace python_csharp
{
    class Program
    {
        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            // full path to .py file
            string pyScriptPath = "...../sum.py";
            // convert input arguments to JSON string
            BsonDocument argsBson = BsonDocument.Parse("{ 'x' : '1', 'y' : '2' }");

            bool saveInputFile = false;
        
            string argsFile = string.Format("{0}\\{1}.txt", Path.GetDirectoryName(pyScriptPath), Guid.NewGuid());

            string outputString = null;
            // create new process start info 
            ProcessStartInfo prcStartInfo = new ProcessStartInfo
            {
                // full path of the Python interpreter 'python.exe'
                FileName = "python.exe", // string.Format(@"""{0}""", "python.exe"),
                UseShellExecute = false,
                RedirectStandardOutput = true,
                CreateNoWindow = false
            };

            try
            {    
                // write input arguments to .txt file 
                using (StreamWriter sw = new StreamWriter(argsFile))
                {
                    sw.WriteLine(argsBson);
                    prcStartInfo.Arguments = string.Format("{0} {1}", string.Format(@"""{0}""", pyScriptPath), string.Format(@"""{0}""", argsFile));
                }
                // start process
                using (Process process = Process.Start(prcStartInfo))
                {
                    // read standard output JSON string
                    using (StreamReader myStreamReader = process.StandardOutput)
                    {
                        outputString = myStreamReader.ReadLine();
                        process.WaitForExit();
                    }
                }
            }
            finally
            {
                // delete/save temporary .txt file 
                if (!saveInputFile)
                {
                    File.Delete(argsFile);
                }
            }
            Console.WriteLine(outputString);
        }
    }
}

Python script to be called by C# application

import sys
import json

# load input arguments from the text file
filename = sys.argv[ 1 ]
with open( filename ) as data_file:   
    input_args = json.loads( data_file.read() )

# cast strings to floats
x, y = [ float(input_args.get( key )) for key in [ 'x', 'y' ] ]

print json.dumps( { 'sum' : x + y , 'subtract' : x - y } )