Easier to wrap C or C++ libraries?

Chris Rebert clp2 at rebertia.com
Fri Feb 13 21:40:56 EST 2009

On Fri, Feb 13, 2009 at 5:35 PM,  <argo785 at gmail.com> wrote:
> When creating a Python binding to a C or C++ library, which is easier
> to wrap, the C lib or the C++ one? Given a choice, if you had to
> choose between using one of two libs, one written in C, the other in C+
> + -- both having approximately the same functionality -- which would
> you rather deal with from your Python code?
> It would seem to me that there's fewer design considerations when
> wrapping a library written in C; you just wrap the functions. However,
> since Python supports OOP nicely, it might also be that wrapping C++
> code *could* also be staightforward... Are there many pitfalls when
> having to map C++'s notion of OO to Python?

You're asking two separate questions here.

(1) For Python bindings, is it easier to wrap C, or C++ libraries?
As Daniel points out, C is easier to wrap because CPython itself is
written in C, and C++ cannot be linked directly to C.

(2) Is it easier to use C or C++ bindings from Python code?
Interface-wise, the C++ bindings would be easier to work with at the
Python level as they are object-oriented.

In practice, C libraries are usually wrapped because that's easier to
do. However, to compensate for their procedural interface, people
often write another module on top of the raw Python bindings to expose
a public interface that appears more object-oriented, and make the
lower-level module internal/private.


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