Welcome to cffiwrap’s documentation!

CFFIwrap is a set of convenience functions and wrapper classes designed to make writing CFFI modules less tedious. The source tree contains a single python module called cffiwrap.py. Simply copy this file in to your CFFI project and check out the module docs which contain several examples. For more examples take a look in the tests directory.

This project is licensed under the Apache License, version 2.0.

Module documentation

A collection of convenience classes and functions for CFFI wrappers.

class cffiwrap.CFunction(ffi, cfunc)[source]

Bases: object

Adds some low-ish-level introspection to CFFI C functions.

Most other wrapper classes and fuctions expect API functions to be wrapped in a CFunction. See wrapall() below.

  • ffi: The FFI object the C function is from.
  • cfunc: The C function object from CFFI.

Attributes added to instances:

  • cfunc: The C function object.
  • ffi: The FFI object the C function is from.
  • typeof: ffi.typeof(cfunc)
  • cname: From typeof.
  • args: From typeof.
  • kind: From typeof.
  • result: From typeof.

Callable: when called, the cfunc is called directly and it’s result is returned. See cmethod for more uses.

static checkerr(cfunc, args, retval)[source]

Default error checker. Checks for NULL return values and raises NullError.

Can be overridden by subclasses. If _checkerr returns anything other than None, that value will be returned by the property or method, otherwise original return value of the C call will be returned. Also useful for massaging returned values.

get_arrayptr(array, ctype=None)[source]

Get a CFFI compatible pointer object for an array.

Supported array types are:

  • numpy ndarrays: The pointer to the underlying array buffer is cast to a CFFI pointer. Value returned from __call__ will be a pointer, but the numpy C buffer is updated in place, so continue to use the numpy ndarray object.
  • CFFI CData pointers: If the user is already working with C arrays (i.e., ffi.new("int[10]")) these will be returned as given.
  • Python ints and longs: These will be interpretted as the length of a newly allocated C array. The pointer to this array will be returned. ctype must be provided (CFunction’s __call__ method does this automatically).
  • Python collections: A new C array will be allocated with a length equal to the length of the iterable (len() is called and the iterable is iterated over, so don’t use exhaustable generators, etc). ctype must be provided (CFunction’s __call__ method does this automatically).
class cffiwrap.CStructType(ffi, structtype)[source]

Bases: object

Provides introspection to CFFI ``StructType``s and ``UnionType``s.

Instances have the following attributes:

  • ffi: The FFI object this struct is pulled from.
  • cname: The C name of the struct.
  • ptrname: The C pointer type signature for this struct.
  • fldnames: A list of fields this struct has.

Instances of this class are essentially struct/union generators. Calling an instance of CStructType will produce a newly allocated struct or union.

Struct fields can be passed in as positional arguments or keyword arguments. TypeError is raised if positional arguments overlap with given keyword arguments.

Arrays of structs can be created with the array method.

The module convenience function wrapall creates CStructTypes for each struct and union imported from the FFI.


Constructs a C array of the struct type with the given length.

  • shape: Either an int for the length of a 1-D array, or a tuple for the length of each of len dimensions. I.e., [2,2] for a 2-D array with length 2 in each dimension. Hint: If you want an array of pointers just add an extra demension with length 1. I.e., [2,2,1] is a 2x2 array of pointers to structs.

No explicit initialization of the elements is performed, however CFFI itself automatically initializes newly allocated memory to zeros.

class cffiwrap.CObject(*args, **kwargs)[source]

Bases: object

A pythonic representation of a C “object”

Usually representing a set of C functions that operate over a common peice of data. Many C APIs have lots of functions which accept some common struct pointer or identifier int as the first argument being manipulated. CObject provides a convenient abstrtaction to making this convention more “object oriented”. See the example below. More examples can be found in the cffiwrap unit tests.

Use cproperty and cmethod to wrap CFFI C functions to behave like instance methods, passing the instance in as the first argument. See the doc strings for each above.

For C types which are not automatically coerced/converted by CFFI (such as C functions accepting struct pointers, etc) the subclass can set a class- or instance-attribute named _cdata which will be passed to the CFFI functions instead of self. The CObject can also have a _cnew static method (see cstaticmethod) which will be called by the base class’s __init__ and the returned value assigned to the instance’s _cdata.

For example:


typedef int point_t;
point_t make_point(int x, int y);
int point_x(point_t p);
int point_y(point_t p);
int point_setx(point_t p, int x);
int point_sety(point_t p, int y);
int point_move(point_t p, int x, int y);

int point_x_abs(point_t p);
int point_movex(point_t p, int x);

Python usage (where libexample is an API object from ffi.verify()):

>>> from cffiwrap import CObject, cproperty, cmethod, cstaticmethod
>>> class Point(CObject):
...     x = cproperty(libexample.point_x, libexample.point_setx)
...     y = cproperty(libexample.point_y, libexample.point_sety)
...     _cnew = cstaticmethod(libexample.make_point)
>>> p = Point(4, 2)
>>> p.x
>>> p.x = 8
>>> p.x
>>> p.y

You can also specify a destructor with a _cdel method in the same way as _cnew.

Alternatively you can assign a CFFI compatible object (either an actual CFFI CData object, or something CFFI automatically converts like and int) to the instance’s _cdata attribute.

cmethod wraps a CFunction to provide an easy way to handle ‘output’ pointer arguments, arrays, etc. (See the cmethod documentation.):

>>> class Point2(Point):
...     move = cmethod(libexample.point_move)
>>> p2 = Point2(8, 2)
>>> p2.move(2, 2)
>>> p2.x
>>> p2.y

If _cdata is set, attributes of the cdata object can also be retrieved from the CObject instance, e.g., for struct fields, etc.

libexample cdef:

typedef struct { int x; int y; ...; } mystruct;
mystruct* make_mystruct(int x, int y);
int mystruct_x(mystruct* ms);


>>> class MyStruct(CObject):
...     x = cproperty(libexample.mystruct_x)
...     _cnew = cstaticmethod(libexample.make_mystruct)
>>> ms = MyStruct(4, 2)
>>> ms.x  # Call to mystruct_x via cproperty
>>> ms.y  # direct struct field access

Note: stack-passed structs are not supported yet* but pointers to structs work as expected if you set the _cdata attribute to the pointer.

exception cffiwrap.NullError[source]

Bases: exceptions.Exception

cffiwrap.cmethod(cfunc=None, outargs=(), inoutargs=(), arrays=(), retargs=None, checkerr=None)[source]

Wrap cfunc to simplify handling outargs, etc.

This feature helps to simplify dealing with pointer parameters which are meant to be “return” parameters. If any of these are specified, the return value from the wrapper function will be a tuple containing the actual return value from the C function followed by the values of the pointers which were passed in. Each list should be a list of parameter position numbers (0 for the first parameter, etc)..

  • outargs: These will be omitted from the cmethod-wrapped function parameter list, and fresh pointers will be allocated (with types derived from the C function signature) and inserted in to the arguments list to be passed in to the C function. The pointers will then be dereferenced and the value included in the return tuple.
  • inoutargs: Arguments passed to the wrapper function for these parameters will be cast to pointers before being passed in to the C function. Pointers will be unboxed in the return tuple.
  • arrays: Arguments to these parameters can be python lists or tuples, numpy arrays or integers.
    • Python lists/tuples will be copied in to newly allocated CFFI arrays and the pointer passed in. The generated CFFI array will be in the return tuple.
    • Numpy arrays will have their data buffer pointer cast to a CFFI pointer and passed in directly (no copying is done). The CFFI pointer to the raw buffer will be returned, but any updates to the array data will also be reflected in the original numpy array, so it’s recommended to just keep using that. (TODO: This behavior may change to remove these CFFI pointers from the return tuple or maybe replace the C array with the original numpy object.)
    • Integers will indicate that a fresh CFFI array should be allocated with a length equal to the int and initialized to zeros. The generated CFFI array will be included in the return tuple.
  • retargs: (Not implemented yet.) A list of values to be returned from the cmethod-wrapped function. Normally the returned value will be a tuple containing the actual return value of the C function, followed by the final value of each of the outargs, inoutargs, and arrays in the order they appear in the C function’s paramater list.

As an example of using outargs and inoutargs, a C function with this signature:

``int cfunc(int inarg, int *outarg, float *inoutarg);``

with an outargs of [1] and inoutargs set to [2] can be called from python as:

>>> wrapped_cfunc = cmethod(cfunc, outargs=[1], inoutargs=[2])
>>> ret, ret_outarg, ret_inoutarg = wrapped_cfunc(inarg, inoutarg)

Returned values will be unboxed python values unless otherwise documented (i.e., arrays).

cffiwrap.cstaticmethod(cfunc, **kwargs)[source]

Shortcut for staticmethod(cmethod(cfunc, [kwargs ...]))

cffiwrap.cproperty(fget=None, fset=None, fdel=None, doc=None, checkerr=None)[source]

Shortcut to create cmethod wrapped propertys.

E.g., this:

>>> class MyCObj(CObject):
...     x = property(cmethod(get_x_cfunc), cmethod(set_x_cfunc))


>>> class MyCObj(CObject):
...     x = cproperty(get_x_cfunc, set_x_cfunc)

If you need more control of the outargs/etc of the cmethods, stick to the first form, or create and assign individual cmethods and put them in a normal property.

cffiwrap.wrapall(ffi, api)[source]

Convenience function to wrap CFFI functions structs and unions.

Reads functions, structs and unions from an API/Verifier object and wrap them with the respective wrapper functions.

  • ffi: The FFI object (needed for it’s typeof() method)
  • api: As returned by ffi.verify()

Returns a dict mapping object names to wrapper instances. Hint: in a python module that only does CFFI boilerplate and verification, etc, try something like this to make the C values available directly from the module itself:

globals().update(wrapall(myffi, myapi))
cffiwrap.carray(items_or_size=None, size=None, ctype='int')[source]

Convenience function for creating C arrays.


Convenience function for getting the CFFI-compatible pointer to a numpy array object.

Indices and tables