[C++-sig] question about implicit type conversion of vector to a custom type

Grant Tang grant.tang at gmail.com
Wed Aug 17 07:19:36 CEST 2011

"Jim Bosch"  wrote in message news:4E4AD9D9.9000501 at gmail.com...

On 08/16/2011 12:43 PM, Grant Tang wrote:
> This is a question about using implicitly_convertible to convert vector
> to another custom class type.
> I already have boost python type conversion code to convert Python
> list/tuple to c++ vector, which works fine. There is another custom
> class EMObject, which is a thin wrapper to many builit-in type. It takes
> a built-in type like int, float, string, and vector as a single
> constructor argument and return type. So those built-in type can convert
> to and from EMObject implicitly. The functions in c++ which takes this
> EMObject as an argument are expose to Python. Now I need call these
> functions in Python with argument from Python list or tuple. Since I
> already convert python list/tuple to c++ vector, I just need declare
> implicit type conversion from vector to EMObject like following:
> implicitly_convertible<vector<float>, EMAN::EMObject>();
> implicitly_convertible<vector<int>, EMAN::EMObject>();
> implicitly_convertible<vector<std::string>, EMAN::EMObject>();
> This seems a perfect solution to my question. But unfortunately I find
> out only the first one working, regardless which one is the first. Could
> anybody tell me why this happen?

Unfortunately, there's no "best-match" type checking in Boost.Python;
when trying to convert a Python object to a particular C++ type, it
simply runs over a list of all the converters registered (using RTTI)
for that C++ type.

Each of those converters then gets a chance to check whether it
"matches" the Python object; if it thinks it does, none of the other
converters get tried.

I'd guess that's what's happening to you - implicitly_convertible
doesn't really do enough work in that match stage, so the first
conversion you've registered says "I match!" and then fails by throwing
an exception.

The fix might be in how you've written your vector<> conversions; when
given a list or tuple that contains the wrong element type, they need to
report that they "don't match", rather than matching any list or tuple
and then throwing an exception when the element type is incorrect.

Good luck!

Jim Bosch

Thank you for your reply, Jim.
My vector conversion code is pretty simple and straightforward.
This is the conversion class in typeconversion.h file:

    template <class T>
    struct vector_from_python
            python::converter::registry::push_back(&convertible, &construct,

        static void* convertible(PyObject* obj_ptr)
            if (!(PyList_Check(obj_ptr) || PyTuple_Check(obj_ptr)
                  || PyIter_Check(obj_ptr)  || PyRange_Check(obj_ptr))) {
                return 0;

            return obj_ptr;

        static void construct(PyObject* obj_ptr,
            void* storage =
((python::converter::rvalue_from_python_storage<vector<T> >*)
            new (storage) vector<T>();

            data->convertible = storage;

            vector<T>& result = *((vector<T>*) storage);

            python::handle<> obj_iter(PyObject_GetIter(obj_ptr));

            while(1) {
                if (PyErr_Occurred()) {

                if (!py_elem_hdl.get()) {

                python::object py_elem_obj(py_elem_hdl);
                python::extract<T> elem_proxy(py_elem_obj);

I specialize this template with different type in BOOST_PYTHON_MODULE:


This solution looks like work fine for converting list/tuple to vector<>.
But I got this problem when need implicitly convert vector<> to EMObject. Do
you mean I should write a conversion class for each type of vector instead
of use a template class?


More information about the Cplusplus-sig mailing list