where's "import" in the C sources?

David Bolen db3l at fitlinxx.com
Thu Dec 30 03:49:21 CET 2004

Torsten Mohr <tmohr at s.netic.de> writes:

> i tried to find the file and line in the C sources of python
> where the command "import" is implemented.  Can anybody give
> me some hint on this?

Well, there are several levels, depending on what you are looking for.
The literal "import" syntax in a source module is translated by the
Python compiler to various IMPORT_* bytecodes, which are processed in
the main interpreter loop (see ceval.c).

They all basically bubble down to making use of the builtin __import__
method, which is obtained from the builtin module defined in

That in turn makes use of the import processing module whose code can
be found in import.c - which is the same source that also implements
the "imp" module to provide lower layer access to to the import

Now, when it comes to physically loading in a module, Python source
and compiled modules are handled by import (well, not the compiling
part), but dynamically loaded extension modules are OS specific.  You
can find the handling of such extension modules in OS-specific source
files dynload_*.c (e.g., dynload_win.c for Windows).

All of these files can be found in the dist/src/Python directory in
the Python source tree.

-- David

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