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Peeking into Python’s C API

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Sophia Davis - Peeking into Python’s C API [EuroPython 2016] [22 July 2016] [Bilbao, Euskadi, Spain] (https://ep2016.europython.eu//conference/talks/peeking-into-pythons-c-api)

Ever wondered how Python works under the hood? One way to learn about Python-the-C-program is by exploring the C API for writing Python bindings to native C libraries. In this talk, we will walk through a simple example of making a C library callable from Python code and vice versa. Along the way, we will encounter some essential features of Python: reference counting, memory management, and the inner- workings of objects and modules.


We all love Python. It’s so elegant and easy to use as a programming language that we forget about the giant, complicated C program executing our strings of white-space sensitive code. For many Python programmers, this side of Python is just a big black box. It works well, so thankfully we don’t need to go messing around inside... but what if you want to look into the inner workings of this powerful tool? One way to dive into the C-program-side of Python is by exploring the C API for writing Python bindings to native C libraries. In this talk I will explore the basics of this API as I recount my journey to make a simple C library callable from Python code, and allow C code to invoke objects defined in pure Python. Along the way, we will encounter some essential features of Python: reference counting, memory management, and the inner-workings of objects and modules.

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