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Travis CI PyPI pyversions PyPI wheels

Python interface for the igraph library

igraph is a library for creating and manipulating graphs. It is intended to be as powerful (ie. fast) as possible to enable the analysis of large graphs.

This repository contains the source code to the Python interface of igraph.

You can learn more about python-igraph on our website.

Installation from PyPI

We aim to provide wheels on PyPI for most of the stock Python versions; typically the three most recent minor releases from Python 3.x. Therefore, running the following command should work without having to compile anything during installation:

$ pip install python-igraph

See details in Installing Python Modules.

Installation from source with pip on Debian / Ubuntu and derivatives

If you need to compile python-igraph from source for some reason, you need to install some dependencies first:

$ sudo apt install build-essential python-dev libxml2 libxml2-dev zlib1g-dev bison flex

and then run

$ pip install python-igraph

This should compile the C core of igraph as well as the Python extension automatically.

Linking to an existing igraph installation

The source code of the Python package includes the source code of the matching igraph version that the Python interface should compile against. However, if you want to link the Python interface to a custom installation of the C core that has already been compiled and installed on your system, you can ask to use the pre-compiled version. This option requires that your custom installation of igraph is discoverable with pkg-config. First, check whether pkg-config can tell you the required compiler and linker flags for igraph:

$ pkg-config --cflags --libs igraph

If pkg-config responds with a set of compiler and linker flags and not an error message, you are probably okay. You can then proceed with the installation using pip:

$ pip install python-igraph --install-option="--use-pkg-config"

Alternatively, if you have already downloaded and extracted the source code of igraph, you can run directly:

$ python build --use-pkg-config

This option is primarily intended for package maintainers in Linux distributions so they can ensure that the packaged Python interface links to the packaged igraph library instead of bringing its own copy.

It is also useful on macOS if you want to link to the igraph library installed from Homebrew.

Compiling the development version

If you have downloaded the source code from Github and not PyPI, chances are that you have the latest development version, which contains a matching version of the C core of igraph as a git submodule. Therefore, to install the bleeding edge version, you need to instruct git to check out the submodules first:

git submodule update --init

Then, running the setup script should work if you have a C compiler and the necessary build dependencies (see the previous section):

$ sudo python build

Running unit tests

Unit tests can be executed from the project directory with tox or with the built-in unittest module:

$ python -m unittest


Contributions to python-igraph are welcome!

If you want to add a feature, fix a bug, or suggest an improvement, open an issue on this repository and we'll try to answer. If you have a piece of code that you would like to see included in the main tree, open a PR on this repo.

To start developing python-igraph, follow the steps below (these are for Linux, Windows users should change the system commands a little).

First, clone this repo (e.g. via https) and enter the folder:

git clone
cd python-igraph

Second, check out the necessary git submodules:

git submodule update --init

and install igraph in development mode so your changes in the Python source code are picked up automatically by Python:

python develop

NOTE: Building requires autotools, a C compiler, and a few more dependencies.

Changes that you make to the Python code do not need any extra action. However, if you adjust the source code of the C extension, you need to rebuild it by running python develop again. However, compilation of igraph's C core is cached in vendor/build and vendor/install so subsequent builds are much faster than the first one as the C core does not need to be recompiled.


Supported Python versions

We aim to keep up with the development cycle of Python and support all official Python versions that have not reached their end of life yet. Currently this means that we support Python 3.6 to 3.9, inclusive. Please refer to this page for the status of Python branches and let us know if you encounter problems with python-igraph on any of the non-EOL Python versions.

Continuous integration tests are regularly executed on all non-EOL Python branches.

As for Python 2.x, the latest branch of python-igraph that supports Python 2 is the 0.8.x series. Python 2 support will be dropped with the release of python-igraph 0.9.


This version of python-igraph is compatible with PyPy and is regularly tested on PyPy with tox. However, the PyPy version falls behind the CPython version in terms of performance; for instance, running all the tests takes ~5 seconds on my machine with CPython and ~15 seconds with PyPy. This can probably be attributed to the need for emulating CPython reference counting, and does not seem to be alleviated by the JIT.

There are also some subtle differences between the CPython and PyPy versions:

  • Docstrings defined in the C source code are not visible from PyPy.

  • GraphBase is hashable and iterable in PyPy but not in CPython. Since GraphBase is internal anyway, this is likely to stay this way.

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