Tutorial

In this tutorial we will wrap a version of the guessing game from The Rust Book to run in Python using pyo3.

Create a new Rust project

First, create a new Rust library project using cargo new --lib --edition 2018 guessing-game. This will create a directory with the following structure.

guessing-game/
├── Cargo.toml
└── src
    └── lib.rs

Edit Cargo.toml to configure the project and module name, and add the dependencies (rand and pyo3). Configure pyo3 with additional features to make an extension module compatible with multiple Python versions using the stable ABI (abi3).

[package]
name = "guessing-game"
version = "0.1.0"
edition = "2018"

[lib]
name = "guessing_game"
# "cdylib" is necessary to produce a shared library for Python to import from.
crate-type = ["cdylib"]

[dependencies]
rand = "0.8.4"

[dependencies.pyo3]
version = "0.16.1"
# "extension-module" tells pyo3 we want to build an extension module (skips linking against libpython.so)
# "abi3-py37" tells pyo3 (and maturin) to build using the stable ABI with minimum Python version 3.7
features = ["extension-module", "abi3-py37"]

Use maturin new

New projects can also be quickly created using the maturin new command:

USAGE:
    maturin new [FLAGS] [OPTIONS] <path>

FLAGS:
    -h, --help       Prints help information
        --mixed      Use mixed Rust/Python project layout
    -V, --version    Prints version information

OPTIONS:
    -b, --bindings <bindings>    Which kind of bindings to use [possible values: pyo3, rust-cpython, cffi, bin]
        --name <name>            Set the resulting package name, defaults to the directory name

ARGS:
    <path>    Project path

The above process can be achieved by running maturin new -b pyo3 guessing_game then edit Cargo.toml to add abi3-py37 feature.

Install and configure maturin (in a virtual environment)

Create a virtual environment and install maturin. Note maturin has minimal dependencies!

[email protected] [~/src/rust/guessing-game] % python3 -m venv .venv
[email protected] [~/src/rust/guessing-game] % source .venv/bin/activate
(.venv) [email protected] [~/src/rust/guessing-game] % pip install -U pip maturin
(.venv) [email protected] [~/src/rust/guessing-game] % pip freeze
maturin==0.12.10
tomli==2.0.1

maturin is configured in pyproject.toml as introduced by PEP 518. This file lives in the root of your project tree:

guessing-game/
├── Cargo.toml
├── pyproject.toml  #  <<< add this file
└── src
    └── lib.rs

Configuration in this file is quite simple for most projects. You just need to indicate maturin as a requirement (and restrict the version) and as the build-backend (Python supports a number of build-backends since PEP 517).

[build-system]
requires = ["maturin>=0.12,<0.13"]
build-backend = "maturin"

Various other tools may also be configured in pyproject.toml and the Python community seems to be consolidating declarative configuration in this file.

Program the guessing game in Rust

When you create a lib project with cargo new it creates a file src/lib.rs with some default code. Edit that file and replace the default code with the code below. As mentioned, we will implement a slightly modified version of the guessing game from The Rust Book. Instead of implementing as a bin crate, we're using a lib and will expose the main logic as a Python function.


#![allow(unused)]
fn main() {
use pyo3::prelude::*;
use rand::Rng;
use std::cmp::Ordering;
use std::io;

#[pyfunction]
fn guess_the_number() {
    println!("Guess the number!");

    let secret_number = rand::thread_rng().gen_range(1..101);

    loop {
        println!("Please input your guess.");

        let mut guess = String::new();

        io::stdin()
            .read_line(&mut guess)
            .expect("Failed to read line");

        let guess: u32 = match guess.trim().parse() {
            Ok(num) => num,
            Err(_) => continue,
        };

        println!("You guessed: {}", guess);

        match guess.cmp(&secret_number) {
            Ordering::Less => println!("Too small!"),
            Ordering::Greater => println!("Too big!"),
            Ordering::Equal => {
                println!("You win!");
                break;
            }
        }
    }
}

/// A Python module implemented in Rust. The name of this function must match
/// the `lib.name` setting in the `Cargo.toml`, else Python will not be able to
/// import the module.
#[pymodule]
fn guessing_game(_py: Python, m: &PyModule) -> PyResult<()> {
    m.add_function(wrap_pyfunction!(guess_the_number, m)?)?;

    Ok(())
}
}

Thanks to pyo3, there's very little difference between this and the example in The Rust Book. All we had to do was:

  1. Include the pyo3 prelude
  2. Add #[pyfunction] to our function
  3. Add the #[pymodule] block to expose the function as part of a Python module

Refer to the pyo3 User Guide for more information on using pyo3. It can do a lot more!

Build and install the module with maturin develop

Note that this is just a Rust project at this point, and with few exceptions you can build it as you'd expect using cargo build. maturin helps with this, however, adding some platform-specific build configuration and ultimately packaging the binary results as a wheel (a .whl file, which is an archive of compiled components suitable for installation with pip, the Python package manager).

So let's use maturin to build and install in our current environment.

(.venv) [email protected] [~/src/rust/guessing-game] % maturin develop
🔗 Found pyo3 bindings with abi3 support for Python ≥ 3.7
🐍 Not using a specific python interpreter (With abi3, an interpreter is only required on windows)
   Compiling pyo3-build-config v0.16.1
   Compiling libc v0.2.119
   Compiling once_cell v1.10.0
   Compiling cfg-if v1.0.0
   Compiling proc-macro2 v1.0.36
   Compiling unicode-xid v0.2.2
   Compiling syn v1.0.86
   Compiling parking_lot_core v0.8.5
   Compiling smallvec v1.8.0
   Compiling scopeguard v1.1.0
   Compiling unindent v0.1.8
   Compiling ppv-lite86 v0.2.16
   Compiling instant v0.1.12
   Compiling lock_api v0.4.6
   Compiling indoc v1.0.4
   Compiling getrandom v0.2.5
   Compiling rand_core v0.6.3
   Compiling parking_lot v0.11.2
   Compiling rand_chacha v0.3.1
   Compiling rand v0.8.5
   Compiling quote v1.0.15
   Compiling pyo3-ffi v0.16.1
   Compiling pyo3 v0.16.1
   Compiling pyo3-macros-backend v0.16.1
   Compiling pyo3-macros v0.16.1
   Compiling guessing-game v0.1.0 (/Users/ferris/src/rust/guessing-game)
    Finished dev [unoptimized + debuginfo] target(s) in 13.31s

Your guessing_game module should now be available in your current virtual environment. Go ahead and play a few games!

(.venv) [email protected] [~/src/rust/guessing-game] % python
Python 3.9.6 (default, Aug 25 2021, 16:04:27)
[Clang 12.0.5 (clang-1205.0.22.9)] on darwin
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import guessing_game
>>> guessing_game.guess_the_number()
Guess the number!
Please input your guess.
42
You guessed: 42
Too small!
Please input your guess.
80
You guessed: 80
Too big!
Please input your guess.
50
You guessed: 50
Too small!
Please input your guess.
60
You guessed: 60
Too big!
Please input your guess.
55
You guessed: 55
You win!

Create a wheel for distribution

maturin develop actually skips the wheel generation part and installs directly in the current environment. maturin build on the other hand will produce a wheel you can distribute. Note the wheel contains "tags" in its filename that correspond to supported Python versions, platforms, and/or architectures, so yours might look a little different. If you want to distribute broadly, you may need to build on multiple platforms and use a manylinux Docker container to build wheels compatible with a wide range of Linux distros.

(.venv) [email protected] [~/src/rust/guessing-game] % maturin build
🔗 Found pyo3 bindings with abi3 support for Python ≥ 3.7
🐍 Not using a specific python interpreter (With abi3, an interpreter is only required on windows)
📦 Built source distribution to /Users/ferris/src/rust/guessing-game/target/wheels/guessing_game-0.1.0.tar.gz
    Finished dev [unoptimized + debuginfo] target(s) in 7.32s
📦 Built wheel for abi3 Python ≥ 3.6 to /Users/ferris/src/rust/guessing-game/target/wheels/guessing_game-0.1.0-cp37-abi3-macosx_10_7_x86_64.whl

maturin can even publish wheels directly to PyPI with maturin publish!

Summary

Congratulations! You successfully created a Python module implemented entirely in Rust thanks to pyo3 and maturin.

This demonstrates how easy it is to get started with maturin, but keep reading to learn more about all the additional features.