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#131 in FFI

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Used in 758 crates (3 directly)




This crate provides Rust FFI declarations for Python 3. It supports both the stable and the unstable component of the ABI through the use of cfg flags. Python Versions 3.7+ are supported. It is meant for advanced users only - regular PyO3 users shouldn't need to interact with this crate at all.

The contents of this crate are not documented here, as it would entail basically copying the documentation from CPython. Consult the Python/C API Reference Manual for up-to-date documentation.

Minimum supported Rust and Python versions

PyO3 supports the following software versions:

  • Python 3.7 and up (CPython and PyPy)
  • Rust 1.56 and up

Example: Building Python Native modules

PyO3 can be used to generate a native Python module. The easiest way to try this out for the first time is to use maturin. maturin is a tool for building and publishing Rust-based Python packages with minimal configuration. The following steps set up some files for an example Python module, install maturin, and then show how to build and import the Python module.

First, create a new folder (let's call it string_sum) containing the following two files:


name = "string_sum"
# "cdylib" is necessary to produce a shared library for Python to import from.
# Downstream Rust code (including code in `bin/`, `examples/`, and `tests/`) will not be able
# to `use string_sum;` unless the "rlib" or "lib" crate type is also included, e.g.:
# crate-type = ["cdylib", "rlib"]
crate-type = ["cdylib"]

version = "*"
features = ["extension-module"]


use std::os::raw::c_char;
use std::ptr;

use pyo3_ffi::*;

static mut MODULE_DEF: PyModuleDef = PyModuleDef {
    m_base: PyModuleDef_HEAD_INIT,
    m_name: "string_sum\0".as_ptr().cast::<c_char>(),
    m_doc: "A Python module written in Rust.\0"
    m_size: 0,
    m_methods: unsafe { METHODS.as_mut_ptr().cast() },
    m_slots: std::ptr::null_mut(),
    m_traverse: None,
    m_clear: None,
    m_free: None,

static mut METHODS: [PyMethodDef; 2] = [
    PyMethodDef {
        ml_name: "sum_as_string\0".as_ptr().cast::<c_char>(),
        ml_meth: PyMethodDefPointer {
            _PyCFunctionFast: sum_as_string,
        ml_flags: METH_FASTCALL,
        ml_doc: "returns the sum of two integers as a string\0"
    // A zeroed PyMethodDef to mark the end of the array.

// The module initialization function, which must be named `PyInit_<your_module>`.
pub unsafe extern "C" fn PyInit_string_sum() -> *mut PyObject {

pub unsafe extern "C" fn sum_as_string(
    _self: *mut PyObject,
    args: *mut *mut PyObject,
    nargs: Py_ssize_t,
) -> *mut PyObject {
    if nargs != 2 {
            "sum_as_string() expected 2 positional arguments\0"
        return std::ptr::null_mut();

    let arg1 = *args;
    if PyLong_Check(arg1) == 0 {
            "sum_as_string() expected an int for positional argument 1\0"
        return std::ptr::null_mut();

    let arg1 = PyLong_AsLong(arg1);
    if !PyErr_Occurred().is_null() {
        return ptr::null_mut();

    let arg2 = *args.add(1);
    if PyLong_Check(arg2) == 0 {
            "sum_as_string() expected an int for positional argument 2\0"
        return std::ptr::null_mut();

    let arg2 = PyLong_AsLong(arg2);
    if !PyErr_Occurred().is_null() {
        return ptr::null_mut();

    match arg1.checked_add(arg2) {
        Some(sum) => {
            let string = sum.to_string();
            PyUnicode_FromStringAndSize(string.as_ptr().cast::<c_char>(), string.len() as isize)
        None => {
                "arguments too large to add\0".as_ptr().cast::<c_char>(),

With those two files in place, now maturin needs to be installed. This can be done using Python's package manager pip. First, load up a new Python virtualenv, and install maturin into it:

$ cd string_sum
$ python -m venv .env
$ source .env/bin/activate
$ pip install maturin

Now build and execute the module:

$ maturin develop
# lots of progress output as maturin runs the compilation...
$ python
>>> import string_sum
>>> string_sum.sum_as_string(5, 20)

As well as with maturin, it is possible to build using setuptools-rust or manually. Both offer more flexibility than maturin but require further configuration.

While most projects use the safe wrapper provided by PyO3, you can take a look at the orjson library as an example on how to use pyo3-ffi directly. For those well versed in C and Rust the tutorials from the CPython documentation can be easily converted to rust as well.