Seamless operability between C++11 and Python
pybind11 is a lightweight header library that exposes C++ types in Python and vice versa, mainly to create Python bindings of existing C++ code. Its goals and syntax are similar to the excellent Boost.Python library by David Abrahams: to minimize boilerplate code in traditional extension modules by inferring type information using compile-time introspection.
The main issue with Boost.Python-and the reason for creating such a similar project-is Boost. Boost is an enormously large and complex suite of utility libraries that works with almost every C++ compiler in existence. This compatibility has its cost: arcane template tricks and workarounds are necessary to support the oldest and buggiest of compiler specimens. Now that C++11-compatible compilers are widely available, this heavy machinery has become an excessively large and unnecessary dependency.
Think of this library as a tiny self-contained version of Boost.Python with everything stripped away that isn’t relevant for binding generation. Without comments, the core header files only require ~2.5K lines of code and depend on Python (2.7 or 3.x) and the C++ standard library. This compact implementation was possible thanks to some of the new C++11 language features (specifically: tuples, lambda functions and variadic templates). Since its creation, this library has grown beyond Boost.Python in many ways, leading to dramatically simpler binding code in many common situations.
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