[notmuch] SWIG (and particularly Python) bindings

Adrian Perez de Castro aperez at igalia.com
Wed Dec 30 02:52:23 PST 2009

On Tue, 29 Dec 2009 04:16:43 -0500, Ben wrote:

> Regardless, I thought it might be nice to have access to the notmuch
> backend from a language other than C (preferably my high-level language
> of choice, python) [...]

Funny, I was just doing the same: a Python binding. Haha, so now we have
two just-backed Python bindings. What should we do?

> [...] To this end, I took a few hours today acquainting
> myself with SWIG and produced these bindings for Python. Unfortunately,
> it doesn't appear that SWIG has particularly good support for
> object-oriented C [...]

I already used SWIG sometimes in the past (and did not like it a lot), so
my binding is using Cython [*] (which is exactly like Pyrex plus some extra
features), so the binding is partly manual.

> While the bindings are currently in the form of a patch to notmuch
> (creating a top-level swig directory in the source tree), they could
> certainly be moved out-of-tree if the powers that be don't feel it
> appropriate to include them. [...]

Same here, see attached patch. It is currently unfinished, and I was just
about to add support for iterating notmuch_threads_t and other similar
structures. I can also publish a Git repo with the entire branch, just
drop me a line if you want me to do that.

> [...] Unfortunately, the build system is currently almost entirely
> independent from the notmuch build system. If  these are to be
> included in-tree, I would be curious to hear people have
> to say about how we might integrate it into the sup build system.
(Mmmh, I suppose you mean "notmuch build system" there :P)

Mine is a little more cooked, as I have added a distutils "setup.py"
script. The bad news is that Python modules need to be compiled as
relocatable object files (-fPIC to teh rescue!), and the linker will
refuse to link the generated code with "notmuch.a" -- so I am instructing
distutils to compile *all* sources again. Not nice.

BTW, I think that if more bindings start to appear, Notmuch might be built
as a shared library, to avoid duplicating it everywhere. One option may be
using *just* libtool but not the rest of auto-foo tools (for the record:
I agree with Carl that they are slow and wicked).


[*] http://www.cython.org/
Adrian Perez de Castro <aperez at igalia.com>
Igalia - Free Software Engineering
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