4. Building C and C++ Extensions¶
A C extension for CPython is a shared library (e.g. a
.so file on Linux,
.pyd on Windows), which exports an initialization function.
To be importable, the shared library must be available on
and must be named after the module name, with an appropriate extension.
When using setuptools, the correct filename is generated automatically.
The initialization function has the signature:
It returns either a fully initialized module, or a
instance. See Initializing C modules for details.
For modules with ASCII-only names, the function must be named
<modulename> replaced by the name of the
module. When using Multi-phase initialization, non-ASCII module names
are allowed. In this case, the initialization function name is
<modulename> encoded using Python’s
punycode encoding with hyphens replaced by underscores. In Python:
def initfunc_name(name): try: suffix = b'_' + name.encode('ascii') except UnicodeEncodeError: suffix = b'U_' + name.encode('punycode').replace(b'-', b'_') return b'PyInit' + suffix
It is possible to export multiple modules from a single shared library by defining multiple initialization functions. However, importing them requires using symbolic links or a custom importer, because by default only the function corresponding to the filename is found. See the “Multiple modules in one library” section in PEP 489 for details.
4.1. Building C and C++ Extensions with setuptools¶
Python 3.12 and newer no longer come with distutils. Please refer to the
setuptools documentation at
to learn more about how build and distribute C/C++ extensions with setuptools.