[Numpy-discussion] Compile extension modules with Visual Studio 2005

Robert Kern robert.kern at gmail.com
Tue Jul 24 14:55:16 EDT 2007

Geoffrey Zhu wrote:
> Hi,
> I am about to write a C extension module. C functions in the module will
> take and return numpy arrays. I found a tutorial online, but I am not
> sure about the following:
> 1. Can I compile my extension with Visual Studio 2005? My impression is
> that I will have to link with numpy libraries, and, if numpy was
> compiled with a different compiler, I might have problems. However, if
> numpy is a DLL, maybe there is a way that I can build a LIB file based
> on the DLL and link with the LIB file. Does anyone have experience in
> doing this?

numpy isn't the issue. The main Windows Python distribution requires Visual
Studio 2003 for building extensions. One can do it with mingw, though, with care.

> 2. I am new to writing python extensions. The tutorial is doing things
> by hand. Does anyone know what is the best way to do this? How about SWIG?

There isn't a single best way. They all have tradeoffs. It might be easiest for
you to actually just write your C functions into a DLL without referencing numpy
or Python at all and call those functions using ctypes. That avoids needing a
specific compiler and is a pretty handy tool to learn.

If you do want to write an extension, I think I might suggest starting with
writing one by hand. It helps with the other techniques to know what's going on

Robert Kern

"I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma
 that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had
 an underlying truth."
  -- Umberto Eco

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