[Cython] [Python-Dev] C-level duck typing

mark florisson markflorisson88 at gmail.com
Wed May 16 21:49:18 CEST 2012

On 16 May 2012 20:15, Stefan Behnel <stefan_ml at behnel.de> wrote:
> "Martin v. Löwis", 16.05.2012 20:33:
>>> Does this use case make sense to everyone?
>>> The reason why we are discussing this on python-dev is that we are looking
>>> for a general way to expose these C level signatures within the Python
>>> ecosystem. And Dag's idea was to expose them as part of the type object,
>>> basically as an addition to the current Python level tp_call() slot.
>> The use case makes sense, yet there is also a long-standing solution
>> already to expose APIs and function pointers: the capsule objects.
>> If you want to avoid dictionary lookups on the server side, implement
>> tp_getattro, comparing addresses of interned strings.
> I think Martin has a point there. Why not just use a custom attribute on
> callables that hold a PyCapsule? Whenever we see inside of a Cython
> implemented function that an object variable that was retrieved from the
> outside, either as a function argument or as the result of a function call,
> is being called, we try to unpack a C function pointer from it on all
> assignments to the variable. If that works, we can scan for a suitable
> signature (either right away or lazily on first access) and cache that. On
> each subsequent call through that variable, the cached C function will be used.
> That means we'd replace Python variables that are being called by multiple
> local variables, one that holds the object and one for each C function with
> a different signature that it is being called with. We set the C function
> variables to NULL when the Python function variable is being assigned to.
> When the C function variable is NULL on call, we scan for a matching
> signature and assign it to the variable.  When no matching signature can be
> found, we set it to (void*)-1.
> Additionally, we allow explicit user casts of Python objects to C function
> types, which would then try to unpack the C function, raising a TypeError
> on mismatch.
> Assignments to callable variables can be expected to occur much less
> frequently than calls to them, so this will give us a good trade-off in
> most cases. I don't see why this kind of caching would be any slower inside
> of loops than what we were discussing so far.
> Stefan
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This works really well for local variables, but for globals, def
methods or callbacks as attributes, this won't work so well, as they
may be rebound at any time outside of the module scope. I think in
general Cython code could be easily sped up for most cases by provided
a really fast dispatch mechanism here.

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