Revision 11 as of 2008-11-15 14:00:34

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SIP is a tool for quickly writing Python modules that interface with C++ and C libraries. It's home page is at It was written by Phil Thompson who is still actively maintaining it.

Full documentation can be found at

SIP is used principally to support PyQt and PyKDE. Without it, it would be near impossible to manage the vast APIs these libraries provide.

Since v4.0 SIP can be used to interface Python with C libraries.

For earlier versions of SIP, a simple wrapper written in C++ was usually necessary. A proof of concept can be found with Jonathan Gardner's sipPQ, a python module that interfaces directly with libpq, which is the C library used to interface with PostgreSQL. You can find this at

More Details

SIP is really the combination of four components.

  1. A template language resembling C++ class declarations that describes how the Python module will interface with the C++ library.
  2. A tool to convert the script into C++ code and Python modules.
  3. A module to support the resulting Python modules and allow the programmer access to some of the SIP internals for special cases.
  4. A pure Python build system that supports dozens of platform/compiler combinations.

Excerpt from Programming With Sip:


This is by no means an authoritative discussion about SIP. Rather, it is a chronicle of the adventures and misadventures of a bumbling newbie trying to learn to use a great tool with little documentation. Some references that are essential in conjunction to this include:

A Note About Versions

sip has changed from version to version. I'm using python 2.2 and sip 3.0pre7. Depending on the verion you're using, sip will behave a little differently. The most notable addition to the new version of sip is support for classes that are wrapped inside namespaces.

ViM Syntax Script

Jonathan Gardner has written an incomplete sip syntax script. You can use it when you are writing a sip script with the ViM editor.

Tutorials & additional docs staff

Googling the web on SIP tutorials brought up

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