[Numpy-discussion] numpy.ctypeslib.ndpointer and the restype attribute [patch]

Jens Rantil jens.rantil@telia....
Thu Mar 26 06:41:28 CDT 2009

Hi again,

On Mon, 2009-03-23 at 14:36 +0100, Jens Rantil wrote:
> So I have a C-function in a DLL loaded through ctypes. This particular
> function returns a pointer to a double. In fact I know that this 
> pointer points to the first element in an array of, say for
> simplicity, 200 elements.
> How do I convert this pointer to a NumPy array that uses this data
> (ie. no copy of data in memory)? I am able to create a numpy array
> using a copy of the data.

Just a follow up on this topic:

While constructing a home made __array_interface__ attribute does the
job of converting from a ctypes pointer to a NumPy array, it seems both
like an undocumented and magic solution to a common problem.

Therefor, I used the code that Sturla Molden posted and wrote a highly
useful piece of code that enables ctypes DLL functions to return NumPy
arrays on the fly. See it as a replacement for the incorrectly
documented ndpointer/restype functionality if you want. The code is
attached with the mail, including Nose tests.

An example workflow to have a ctypes DLL function return a 4 element
double array would be:

>>> returns_ndarray(dll.my_func, ctypes.c_double, 4)
>>> my_array = dll.my_func()
>>> my_array
array([  2.1,   4. ,  97. ,   6. ])

Notice that 'my_array' will be sharing the memory that the DLL function
returned. Also, I have not done extensive testing of ndim and shape

Wouldn't my code, or a tweak of it, be a nice feature in
numpy.ctypeslib? Is this the wrong channel for proposing things like


Jens Rantil
Lund University & Modelon AB, Sweden
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