Writing Python bindings of existing C libraries – (3) – Building and Installing with distutils

In the last post of this series, we saw how to write a simple binding and we finished to build and install it manually. This is of course not a good way to manage the building/installation procedure.

In Python we can use a library called distutils that let us to automatize the building and installing process. I’ll use the foo source code to create the package, so it will be easier to understand.

Using distutils

All we have to do is to write a setup.py file similar to this one:

from distutils.core import setup, Extension

foomodule = Extension('foo', sources = ['foo.c'])

setup (name = 'Foo',
       version = '1.0',
       description = 'This is a package for Foo',
       ext_modules = [foomodule])

As you can see, we have to first import needed modules with: from distutils.core import setup, Extension
then we create an entry for each module we have (in this case just one, “foomodule”). We then call the setup() method passing it all the parameters and our setup.py is complete.

Building and installing

To test it we can try to build the package in this way:

python2.5 setup.py build

if we want to install the module in our system:

python2.5 setup.py install


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