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Cython-based, NumPy-aware automatic wrapper generation for C / C++.
Python C++ C CMake
Latest commit 272ef1a Sep 13, 2015 @scopatz scopatz Merge pull request #281 from empyrical/__main__
Add __main__ module



XDress is an automatic wrapper generator for C/C++ written in pure Python. Currently, xdress may generate Python bindings (via Cython) for C++ classes & functions and in-memory wrappers for C++ standard library containers (sets, vectors, maps). In the future, other tools and bindings will be supported.

The main enabling feature of xdress is a dynamic type system that was designed with the purpose of API generation in mind.

Go here for the latest version of the docs!

:ref:`Go here for previous versions of the code & documentation. <previous_versions>`



Since xdress is pure Python code, the pip or easy_install may be used to grab and install the code:

$ pip install xdress

$ easy_install xdress

The source code repository for xdress may be found at the GitHub project site. You may simply clone the development branch using git:

git clone git://

Also, if you wish to have the optional BASH completion, please add the following lines to your ~/.bashrc file:

# Enable completion for xdress
eval "$(register-python-argcomplete xdress)"


XDress currently has the following external dependencies,

Run Time:

  1. Clang/LLVM, optional for C/C++
  2. pycparser, optional for C
  3. GCC-XML, optional for C++
  4. dOxygen, optional for docstrings
  5. lxml, optional (but nice!)
  6. argcomplete, optional for BASH completion

Compile Time:

  1. Cython
  2. NumPy

Test Time:

  1. nose
  2. CMake, optional for integration tests

To install the dependencies on Ubuntu 14.04 use the following command:

$ apt-get install -y gccxml cython python-numpy python-pycparser python-nose cmake python-lxml llvm-dev libedit-dev libclang-3.5-dev
$ apt-get remove -y llvm-3.4

Examples of Use

To see examples of xdress in action (and sample run control files), here are a few places to look:

  • xdress/tests/cproj: This is a fully functioning sample C project which uses xdress locally. THIS PROJECT IS FOR TESTING PURPOSES ONLY!
  • xdress/tests/cppproj: This is a fully functioning sample C++ project which uses xdress locally. THIS PROJECT IS FOR TESTING PURPOSES ONLY!
  • PyNE: This uses xdress to generate STL container wrappers.
  • Bright: This uses xdress to automatically wrap a suite of interacting C++ class. This was the motivating use case for the xdress project.


XDress has two major test types: unit tests which test library functionality and integration tests which test the command line tool, the parsers, compilers, etc. The unit tests are generally fast while the integration are slower. From the tope level of the repository you may use nose to run the tests together or individually:

# Run just the unit tests
$ nosetests -a unit

# Run just the integration tests
$ nosetests -a integration

# Run all of the tests together
$ nosetests

Note that the integration tests require CMake in order to build the sample projects.

Contact Us

If you have questions or comments, please sign up for the the mailing list at!forum/xdress and send an email to Alternatively, please contact the authors directly or open an issue on GitHub.


We highly encourage contributions to xdress! If you would like to contribute, it is as easy as forking the repository on GitHub, making your changes, and issuing a pull request. If you have any questions about this process don't hesitate to ask the mailing list (

Helpful Links

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