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Setuptools Rust extension plugin

Project description

Setuptools plugin for Rust extensions

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setuptools-rust is a plugin for setuptools to build Rust Python extensions implemented with PyO3 or rust-cpython.

Compile and distribute Python extensions written in Rust as easily as if they were written in C.


The following is a very basic tutorial that shows how to use setuptools-rust in pyproject.toml. It assumes that you already have a bunch of Python and Rust files that you want to distribute. You can see examples for these files in the examples/hello-world directory in the github repository. The PyO3 docs have detailed information on how to write Python modules in Rust.

├── python
│   └── hello_world
│       └──
└── rust

Once the implementation files are in place, we need to add a pyproject.toml file that tells anyone that wants to use your project how to build it. In this file, we use an array of tables (TOML jargon equivalent to Python's list of dicts) for [[tool.setuptools-rust.ext-modules]], to specify different extension modules written in Rust:

# pyproject.toml
requires = ["setuptools", "setuptools-rust"]
build-backend = "setuptools.build_meta"

name = "hello-world"
version = "1.0"

# Pure Python packages/modules
find = { where = ["python"] }

# Private Rust extension module to be nested into the Python package
target = "hello_world._lib"  # The last part of the name (e.g. "_lib") has to match in Cargo.toml,
                             # but you can add a prefix to nest it inside of a Python package.
path = "Cargo.toml"      # Default value, can be omitted
binding = "PyO3"         # Default value, can be omitted

Each extension module should map directly into the corresponding [lib] table on the Cargo manifest file:

# Cargo.toml
name = "hello-world"
version = "0.1.0"
edition = "2021"

pyo3 = "0.20.3"

name = "_lib"  # private module to be nested into Python package,
               # needs to match the name of the function with the `[#pymodule]` attribute
path = "rust/"
crate-type = ["cdylib"]  # required for shared library for Python to import from.

# See more keys and their definitions at
# See also PyO3 docs on writing Cargo.toml files at

You will also need to tell Setuptools that the Rust files are required to build your project from the source distribution. That can be done either via (see example below) or via a plugin like setuptools-scm.

include Cargo.toml
recursive-include rust *.rs

With these files in place, you can install the project in a virtual environment for testing and making sure everything is working correctly:

# cd hello-world
python3 -m venv .venv
source .venv/bin/activate  # on Linux or macOS
.venv\Scripts\activate     # on Windows
python -m pip install -e .
>>> import hello_world
# ... try running something from your new extension module ...
# ... better write some tests with pytest ...

Next steps and final remarks

  • When you are ready to distribute your project, have a look on the notes in the documentation about building wheels.

  • Cross-compiling is also supported, using one of crossenv, cross or cargo-zigbuild. For examples see the test-crossenv and test-cross and test-zigbuild Github actions jobs in ci.yml.

  • You can also use [[tool.setuptools-rust.bins]] (instead of [[tool.setuptools-rust.ext-modules]]), if you want to distribute a binary executable written in Rust (instead of a library that can be imported by the Python runtime). Note however that distributing both library and executable (or multiple executables), may significantly increase the size of the wheel file distributed by the package index and therefore increase build, download and installation times. Another approach is to use a Python entry-point that calls the Rust implementation (exposed via PyO3 bindings). See the hello-world example for more insights.

  • For a complete reference of the configuration options, see the API reference. You can use any parameter defined by the RustExtension class with [[tool.setuptools-rust.ext-modules]] and any parameter defined by the RustBin class with [[tool.setuptools-rust.bins]]; just remember to replace underscore characters _ with dashes - in your pyproject.toml file.

  • Cargo.toml allow only one [lib] table per file. If you require multiple extension modules you will need to write multiple Cargo.toml files. Alternatively you can create a single private Rust top-level module that exposes multiple submodules (using PyO3's submodules), which may also reduce the size of the build artifacts. You can always keep your extension modules private and wrap them in pure Python to have fine control over the public API.

  • If want to include both [[tool.setuptools-rust.bins]] and [[tool.setuptools-rust.ext-modules]] in the same macOS wheel, you might have to manually add an extra file, see PyO3/setuptools-rust#351 for more information about the workaround.

  • For more examples, see:

    • hello-world: a more complete version of the code used in this tutorial that mixes both [[tool.setuptools-rust.ext-modules]] and [[tool.setuptools-rust.bins]] in a single distribution.
    • html-py-ever: a more advanced example that uses Rust crates as dependencies.
    • rust_with_cffi: uses both Rust and CFFI.
    • namespace_package: integrates Rust-written modules into PEP 420 namespace packages.
    • hello-world-script: uses Rust only for creating binary executables, not library modules.

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