See Compilation reference section for more details
Cython source file names consist of the name of the module followed by a
.pyx extension, for example a module called primes would have a source
Once you have written your
.pyx file, there are a couple of ways of turning it
into an extension module. One way is to compile it manually with the Cython
$ cython primes.pyx
This will produce a file called
primes.c, which then needs to be
compiled with the C compiler using whatever options are appropriate on your
platform for generating an extension module. For these options look at the
official Python documentation.
The other, and probably better, way is to use the
provided with Cython. The benefit of this method is that it will give the
platform specific compilation options, acting like a stripped down autotools.
The distutils extension provided with Cython allows you to pass
directly to the
Extension constructor in your setup file.
If you have a single Cython file that you want to turn into a compiled
extension, say with filename
example.pyx the associated
from distutils.core import setup from Cython.Build import cythonize setup( ext_modules = cythonize("example.pyx") )
To understand the
setup.py more fully look at the official
distutils documentation. To compile the extension for use in the
current directory use:
$ python setup.py build_ext --inplace
To automatically compile multiple Cython files without listing all of them explicitly, you can use glob patterns:
setup( ext_modules = cythonize("package/*.pyx") )
You can also use glob patterns in
Extension objects if you pass
extensions = [Extension("*", ["*.pyx"])] setup( ext_modules = cythonize(extensions) )
Cython is a compiler. Therefore it is natural that people tend to go
through an edit/compile/test cycle with Cython modules.
simplifies this process by executing the “compile” step at need during
import. For instance, if you write a Cython module called
with Pyximport you can import it in a regular Python module like this:
import pyximport; pyximport.install() import foo
Doing so will result in the compilation of
foo.pyx (with appropriate
exceptions if it has an error in it).
If you would always like to import Cython files without building them specially,
you can also add the first line above to your
That will install the hook every time you run Python. Then you can use
Cython modules just with simple import statements, even like this:
$ python -c "import foo"
Note that it is not recommended to let
pyximport build code
on end user side as it hooks into their import system. The best way
to cater for end users is to provide pre-built binary packages in the
wheel packaging format.
pyximport does not use cythonize() internally, it currently
requires a different setup for dependencies. It is possible to declare that
your module depends on multiple files, (likely
If your Cython module is named
foo and thus has the filename
foo.pyx then you should create another file in the same directory
modname.pyxdep file can be a list of
filenames or “globs” (like
include/*.h). Each filename or
glob must be on a separate line. Pyximport will check the file date for each
of those files before deciding whether to rebuild the module. In order to
keep track of the fact that the dependency has been handled, Pyximport updates
the modification time of your ”.pyx” source file. Future versions may do
something more sophisticated like informing distutils of the dependencies
Pyximport does not give you any control over how your Cython file is compiled. Usually the defaults are fine. You might run into problems if you wanted to write your program in half-C, half-Cython and build them into a single library.
Pyximport does not hide the Distutils/GCC warnings and errors generated by the import process. Arguably this will give you better feedback if something went wrong and why. And if nothing went wrong it will give you the warm fuzzy feeling that pyximport really did rebuild your module as it was supposed to.
Basic module reloading support is available with the option
Note that this will generate a new module filename for each build and thus
end up loading multiple shared libraries into memory over time. CPython does
not support reloading shared libraries as such.
Pyximport puts both your
.c file and the platform-specific binary into
a separate build directory, usually
$HOME/.pyxblx/. To copy it back
into the package hierarchy (usually next to the source file) for manual
reuse, you can pass the option