pybind11 is a lightweight header library that exposes C++ types in Python and vice versa, mainly to create Python bindings of existing C++ code. Its goals and syntax are similar to the excellent Boost.Python library by David Abrahams: to minimize boilerplate code in traditional extension modules by inferring type information using compile-time introspection.
The main issue with Boost.Python—and the reason for creating such a similar project—is Boost. Boost is an enormously large and complex suite of utility libraries that works with almost every C++ compiler in existence. This compatibility has its cost: arcane template tricks and workarounds are necessary to support the oldest and buggiest of compiler specimens. Now that C++11-compatible compilers are widely available, this heavy machinery has become an excessively large and unnecessary dependency.
Think of this library as a tiny self-contained version of Boost.Python with everything stripped away that isn't relevant for binding generation. The whole codebase requires less than 3000 lines of code and only depends on Python (2.7 or 3.x) and the C++ standard library. This compact implementation was possible thanks to some of the new C++11 language features (tuples, lambda functions and variadic templates). Since its creation, this library has grown beyond Boost.Python in many ways, leading to dramatically simpler binding code in many common situations.
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