Book Image

Learning Cython Programming (Second Edition) - Second Edition

By : Philip Herron
Book Image

Learning Cython Programming (Second Edition) - Second Edition

By: Philip Herron

Overview of this book

Cython is a hybrid programming language used to write C extensions for Python language. Combining the practicality of Python and speed and ease of the C language it’s an exciting language worth learning if you want to build fast applications with ease. This new edition of Learning Cython Programming shows you how to get started, taking you through the fundamentals so you can begin to experience its unique powers. You’ll find out how to get set up, before exploring the relationship between Python and Cython. You’ll also look at debugging Cython, before moving on to C++ constructs, Caveat on C++ usage, Python threading and GIL in Cython. Finally, you’ll learn object initialization and compile time, and gain a deeper insight into Python 3, which will help you not only become a confident Cython developer, but a much more fluent Python developer too.
Table of Contents (14 chapters)
Learning Cython Programming Second Edition
About the Author
About the Reviewer

Chapter 1. Cython Won't Bite

Cython is much more than a programming language. Its origin can be traced to SAGE, the mathematics software package, where it is used to increase the performance of mathematical computations such as those involving matrices. More generally, I tend to consider Cython as an alternative to SWIG to generate really good Python bindings to native code.

Language bindings have been around for years, and SWIG was one of the first and best tools to generate bindings for multitudes of languages. Cython generates bindings for Python code only, and this single purpose approach means it generates the best Python bindings you can get outside of doing it all manually, which should be attempted only if you're a Python core developer.

For me, taking control of legacy software by generating language bindings is a great way to reuse any software package. Consider a legacy application written in C/C++. Adding advanced modern features such as a web server for a dashboard or message bus is not a trivial thing to do. More importantly, Python comes with thousands of packages that have been developed, tested, and used by people for a long time that can do exactly that. Wouldn't it be great to take advantage of all of this code? With Cython, we can do exactly this, and I will demonstrate approaches with plenty of example codes along the way.

This first chapter will be dedicated to the core concepts on using Cython, including compilation, and should provide a solid reference and introduction for all the Cython core concepts.

In this first chapter, we will cover:

  • Installing Cython

  • Getting started - Hello World

  • Using distutils with Cython

  • Calling C functions from Python

  • Type conversion