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ncclient: Python library for NETCONF clients

ncclient is a Python library that facilitates client-side scripting and application development around the NETCONF protocol. ncclient was developed by Shikar Bhushan. It is now maintained by Leonidas Poulopoulos (@leopoul) and Einar Nilsen-Nygaard (@einarnn)



Recent Highlights

Date Release Description
08/20/18 0.6.2 Migration to user selectors instead of select, allowing higher scale operations; improved netconf:base:1.1 parsing.
07/02/18 0.6.0 Minor release reinstating Python 3.7 and greater compatibility, but necessitating a change to client code that uses async_mode.
07/02/18 0.5.4 New release rolling up myriad of small commits since 0.5.3. Please note that this release is incompatible wth Python 3.7 due to the use of a new Python 3.7 keyword, async, in function signatures. This will be resolved in 0.6.0


  • Python 2.7 or Python 3.4+
  • setuptools 0.6+
  • Paramiko 1.7+
  • lxml 3.3.0+
  • libxml2
  • libxslt

If you are on Debian/Ubuntu install the following libs (via aptitude or apt-get):

  • libxml2-dev
  • libxslt1-dev


[ncclient] $ sudo python install

or via pip:

pip install ncclient

Also locally via pip from within local clone:

pip install -U .


[ncclient] $ python examples/juniper/*.py


Get device running config

Use either an interactive Python console (ipython) or integrate the following in your code:

from ncclient import manager

with manager.connect(host=host, port=830, username=user, hostkey_verify=False) as m:
    c = m.get_config(source='running').data_xml
    with open("%s.xml" % host, 'w') as f:

As of 0.4.1 ncclient integrates Juniper's and Cisco's forks, lots of new concepts have been introduced that ease management of Juniper and Cisco devices respectively. The biggest change is the introduction of device handlers in connection paramms. For example to invoke Juniper's functions annd params one has to re-write the above with device_params={'name':'junos'}:

from ncclient import manager

with manager.connect(host=host, port=830,
                     username=user, hostkey_verify=False,
                     device_params={'name':'junos'}) as m:
    c = m.get_config(source='running').data_xml
    with open("%s.xml" % host, 'w') as f:

Device handlers are easy to implement and prove to be futureproof.

Supported device handlers

When instantiating a connection to a known type of NETCONF server:

  • Juniper: device_params={'name':'junos'}
  • Cisco:
    • CSR: device_params={'name':'csr'}
    • Nexus: device_params={'name':'nexus'}
    • IOS XR: device_params={'name':'iosxr'}
    • IOS XE: device_params={'name':'iosxe'}
  • Huawei:
    • device_params={'name':'huawei'}
    • device_params={'name':'huaweiyang'}
  • Alcatel Lucent: device_params={'name':'alu'}
  • H3C: device_params={'name':'h3c'}
  • HP Comware: device_params={'name':'hpcomware'}
  • Server or anything not in above: device_params={'name':'default'}

For Developers

Running Unit Tests Locally

To run the same tests locally as are run via GitHub's CI/CD integration with Travis, the following istructions can be followed:

  1. Create a virtual environment, in this case using virtualenvwrapper:

    mkvirtualenv ncclient-testing
  2. Install your local ncclient package (ensuring you are in your virtual environment):

    pip install -U .
  3. Install testing dependencies:

    pip install nose rednose coverage coveralls mock
  4. Finally, run the tests:

    nosetests test --rednose --verbosity=3

Making a Release

As of 0.6.1, versioneer has been integrated into the ncclient codebase. This simplifies the creation of a new release, by ensuring that version numbers are automatically generated from the git tag used for the release, which must be in the form v0.1.2. Versioneer also allows for the clean install of development versions locally using pip. For example:

$ pip install -U .
Processing /opt/git-repos/versioneer-ncclient

[...intermediate ouput elided...]

Building wheels for collected packages: ncclient
  Running bdist_wheel for ncclient ... done
  Stored in directory: /Users/einarnn/Library/Caches/pip/wheels/fb/48/a8/5c781ebcfff7f091e18950e125c0ff638a5a2dc006610aa1e5
Successfully built ncclient
Installing collected packages: ncclient
  Found existing installation: ncclient 0.6.1
    Uninstalling ncclient-0.6.1:
      Successfully uninstalled ncclient-0.6.1
Successfully installed ncclient-0.6.0+23.g0d9ccd6.dirty

Thus, making a release becomes a simple process:

  1. Ensure all tests run clean (ideally both locally and via Travis) and that (yes, this file!!) has been updated appropriately.

  2. Apply appropriate version tag, e.g. git tag v0.6.1

  3. Build packages:

    python bdist sdist
  4. After ensuring twine is installed, test twine upload:

    twine upload \
        --repository-url \
        -u ******* -p ******* \
  5. Push git tags back to origin, git push --tags

  6. Do real twine upload:

    twine upload \
        -u ******* -p ******* \



Python library for NETCONF clients







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