Need more comments from scientific community on python-dev

Sasha ndarray at
Tue Oct 31 14:10:01 CST 2006

On 10/31/06, Travis Oliphant <oliphant.travis at> wrote:
> I'm recruiting more comments on python-dev regarding my two proposals
> for improving Python's native ability to share ndarray-like information.

I would love to help, but I feel that I will be on the other side of
the disagreement.  (That's why I reply here rather than on python-dev

I've suggested that numpy could use ctypes way to describe binary data
a long time ago:

I agree that it would not work out of the box, but I don't see any
major obstacles to adding the missing features.

I think we should attempt to implement a ctypes approach and compare
the result to the dtype object approach.  If we discover any
unimplementable features along the way, this will be a strong argument
to abandon ctypes as a standard.

The last time I looked at the issue, the only feature that ctypes were
lacking for me was the itemsize information (endianness is probably
lacking as well, but I did not need it.)  I am not sure, however that
this information belongs to the type description object rather than
carried separately.

Note that it is trivial to add an itemsize attribute to ctypes because
each primitive ctype has a fixed itemsize and Structure can easily
compute its itemsize.  Doubling the number of ctypes to allow for
different endianness is a more troubling proposition.

In any case, I think  we should seriously discuss the relative merits
of the two approaches on this list and present our view to python-dev
when we reach some consensus.

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