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Draws Python object reference graphs with graphviz

Project description

Python Object Graphs

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objgraph is a module that lets you visually explore Python object graphs.

You’ll need graphviz if you want to draw the pretty graphs.

I recommend xdot for interactive use. pip install xdot should suffice; objgraph will automatically look for it in your PATH.

Installation and Documentation

pip install objgraph or download it from PyPI.

Documentation lives at


I’ve developed a set of functions that eventually became objgraph when I was hunting for memory leaks in a Python program. The whole story – with illustrated examples – is in this series of blog posts:

Support and Development

The source code can be found in this Git repository:

To check it out, use git clone

Report bugs at


3.6.1 (2024-02-26)

  • Add support for Python 3.12.

3.6.0 (2023-06-16)

  • Add support for Python 3.9, 3.10, and 3.11.

  • Drop support for Python 2.7 and 3.6.

3.5.0 (2020-10-11)

  • Do not require mock for the test suite on Python 3; use unittest.mock instead.

  • 100% test coverage for each version of Python rather than combined, using coverage-python-version.

  • Add the optional extra_node_attrs parameter to show_backrefs and show_backrefs

  • Fix IPython/Jupyter inline graph support code that would kick in even if you explicitly passed a filename=’foo.png’ argument to show_refs/show_backrefs. See issue 47.

  • Add support for Python 3.8.

  • Drop support for Python 3.5.

3.4.1 (2019-04-23)

  • Add support for Python 3.7.

  • Drop support for Python 3.3 and 3.4.

3.4.0 (2018-02-13)

  • New functions: get_new_ids, at_addrs.

    Contributed by Justin Black in PR 36.

3.3.0 (2017-12-28)

  • New function: growth.

3.2.0 (2017-12-20)

  • New filter argument for typestats, most_common_types, show_most_common_types, show_growth.

  • Show lambda functions in a more human-friendly way.

3.1.2 (2017-11-27)

  • Correct UTF-8 mojibake in the changelog and switch all links to HTTPS.

3.1.1 (2017-10-30)

  • Add support for Python 3.6.

  • Replace bare except: in safe_repr() with except Exception:.

3.1.0 (2016-12-07)

  • Support displaying graphs inline in IPython/Jupyter notebooks (issue 28 <>).

3.0.1 (2016-09-17)

  • The file argument of show_most_common_types and show_growth now defaults to None instead of sys.stdout. None is interpreted to be the same as sys.stdout, which means the right stdout will be used if you change it at runtime (which happens, in doctests).

3.0.0 (2016-04-13)

  • show_most_common_types and show_growth now accept a file argument if you want to redirect the output elsewhere.

    Fixes issue 24. Contributed by “d-sun-d”.

  • Don’t trust __class__ to be accurate and __name__ to be a string. Fixes errors in some convoluted corner cases when mocks are involved.

    Contributed by Andrew Shannon Brown in PR 26.

  • Drop support for Python 2.4, 2.5, and 2.6.

  • Drop support for Python 3.1 and 3.2.

  • Add support for Python 3.5.

2.0.1 (2015-07-28)

  • Avoid creating reference cycles between the stack frame and the local objects variable in by_type, count, and typestats.

    Fixes issue 22. Contributed by Erik Bray.

2.0.0 (2015-04-18)

  • show_refs and show_backrefs now accept a file-like object (via the new output argument) as an alternative to a filename.

  • Made internal helper methods private. This includes find_chain, show_graph, obj_node_id, obj_label, quote, long_typename, safe_repr, short_repr, gradient, edge_label, and _program_in_path.

  • Correctly determine the name of old-style classes in count, by_type, and graph drawing functions.

    Fixes issue 16. Contributed by Mike Lambert.

1.8.1 (2014-05-15)

  • Do not expect file objects to have an encoding attribute. Makes objgraph compatible with Eventlet’s monkey-patching.

    Fixes issue 6. Contributed by Jakub Stasiak.

1.8.0 (2014-02-13)

  • Moved to GitHub.

  • Python 3.4 support (LP#1270872).

  • New function: is_proper_module.

  • New shortnames argument for typestats, most_common_types, show_most_common_types, show_growth, show_refs, and show_backrefs.

    count and by_type accept fully-qualified type names now.

    Fixes issue 4.

1.7.2 (2012-10-23)

  • Bugfix: sdist was broken on Python 2.7 (UnicodeDecodeError in tarfile).

  • The filename argument for show_refs and show_backrefs now allows arbitrary image formats, not just PNG. Patch by Riccardo Murri.

  • Temporary dot files are now named objgraph-*.dot instead of tmp*.dot.

  • Python 3.3 support: no code changes, but some tests started failing because the new and improved dictionary implementation no longer holds references to str objects used as dict keys.

  • Added a tox.ini for convenient multi-Python testing.

1.7.1 (2011-12-11)

  • Bugfix: non-ASCII characters in object representations would break graph generation on Python 3.x, in some locales (e.g. with LC_ALL=C). Reported and fixed by Stefano Rivera.

  • Bugfix: was broken on Python 3.x

  • Bugfix: dot.exe/xdot.exe were not found on Windows (LP#767239).

  • Documentation updates: document the forgotten find_ref_chain, update show_chain prototype.

1.7.0 (2011-03-11)

  • New function: find_ref_chain.

  • New backrefs argument for show_chain.

  • New function: get_leaking_objects, based on a blog post by Kristján Valur.

  • New objects argument for count, typestats, most_common_types, show_most_common_types, and by_type.

  • Edges pointing to function attributes such as __defaults__ or __globals__ are now labeled.

  • Edge labels that are not simple strings now show the type.

  • Bugfix: ‘0’ and other unsafe characters used in a dictionary key could break graph generation.

  • Bugfix: show_refs(…, filename=’’) would then go to complain about unrecognized file types and then produce a png.

1.6.0 (2010-12-18)

  • Python 3 support, thanks to Stefano Rivera (fixes LP#687601).

  • Removed weird weakref special-casing.

1.5.1 (2010-12-09)

  • Avoid test failures in uncollectable-garbage.txt (fixes LP#686731).

  • Added HACKING.txt (later renamed to HACKING.rst).

1.5.0 (2010-12-05)

  • Show frame objects as well (fixes LP#361704).

  • New functions: show_growth, show_chain.

  • find_backref_chain returns [obj] instead of None when a chain could not be found. This makes show_chain(find_backref_chain(...), ...) not break.

  • Show how many references were skipped from the output of show_refs/show_backrefs by specifying too_many.

  • Make show_refs descend into modules.

  • Do not highlight classes that define a __del__, highlight only instances of those classes.

  • Option to show reference counts in show_refs/show_backrefs.

  • Add Sphinx documentation and a PyPI long description.

1.4.0 (2010-11-03)

  • Compatibility with Python 2.4 and 2.5 (tempfile.NamedTemporaryFile has no delete argument).

  • New function: most_common_types.

1.3.1 (2010-07-17)

  • Rebuild an sdist with no missing files (fixes LP#606604).

  • Added and a Makefile to check that sdist generates source distributions with no files missing.

1.3 (2010-07-13)

  • Highlight objects with a __del__ method.

  • Fixes LP#483411: suggest always passing [obj] to show_refs, show_backrefs, since obj might be a list/tuple.

  • Fixes LP#514422: show_refs, show_backrefs don’t create files in the current working directory any more. Instead they accept a filename argument, which can be a .dot file or a .png file. If None or not specified, those functions will try to spawn xdot as before.

  • New extra_info argument to graph-generating functions (patch by Thouis Jones, LP#558914).

  • should work with distutils now (LP#604430, thanks to Randy Heydon).

1.2 (2009-03-25)

  • Project website, public source repository, uploaded to PyPI.

  • No code changes.

1.1 (2008-09-10)

  • New function: show_refs for showing forward references.

  • New functions: typestats and show_most_common_types.

  • Object boxes are less crammed with useless information (such as IDs).

  • Spawns xdot if it is available.

1.0 (2008-06-14)

  • First public release.

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