Extending and Embedding the Python Interpreter

This document describes how to write modules in C or C++ to extend the Python interpreter with new modules. Those modules can not only define new functions but also new object types and their methods. The document also describes how to embed the Python interpreter in another application, for use as an extension language. Finally, it shows how to compile and link extension modules so that they can be loaded dynamically (at run time) into the interpreter, if the underlying operating system supports this feature.

This document assumes basic knowledge about Python. For an informal introduction to the language, see Le tutoriel Python. La référence du Langage Python gives a more formal definition of the language. The Python Standard Library documents the existing object types, functions and modules (both built-in and written in Python) that give the language its wide application range.

For a detailed description of the whole Python/C API, see the separate Manuel de Référence de l’API Python/c.

Embedding the CPython runtime in a larger application

Sometimes, rather than creating an extension that runs inside the Python interpreter as the main application, it is desirable to instead embed the CPython runtime inside a larger application. This section covers some of the details involved in doing that successfully.