Release Notes for Pyrex 0.9.9

C++ Features

Some features for interfacing with C++ code have been introduced in this release. Structs declared with 'cdef+ struct' may have constructors and member functions, there is a 'new' operator for instantiating them, and they may be deallocated using the 'del' operator. Details may be found in the Language Overview under Using Pyrex with C++.

Changes to Exception Semantics

The behaviour surrounding exceptions caught using a try-except statement were previously an inconsistent mixture of Pyrex and Python semantics. Attempts to make the behaviour match Python more closely were requiring the generation of increasingly convoluted and inefficient code, so I decided to backtrack and return to something simpler.

Pyrex no longer places caught exceptions into the thread state. This ensures that exceptions and tracebacks do not leak out of the except clause that caught them, unless you do something to explicitly preserve them.

It also means that you cannot retrieve an caught exception in Pyrex using sys.exc_info(). If you want to capture the exception, you need to bind it to a name in the except clause.

To capture the traceback, the syntax of the except clause has been extended to allow a third argument. For example,
except HovercraftError, err, tb:
print "Can't start:", err
As previously, a raise statement with no arguments must be lexically enclosed in the except clause which caught the exception that you are trying to re-raise. In order to re-raise it from somewhere else, you will need to explicity communicate the exception and traceback to that place and use an ordinary raise statement.

Planned Change to None-checking

Currently, an argument to a Python function that is declared as an extension type will, by default, be allowed to receive the value None; to prevent this, you must qualify the argument declaration with 'not None'.

This arrangement has proved to be error-prone, because it requires the programmer to be aware of the 'not None' feature and to remember to use it everywhere necessary. Failure to do so results in a Pyrex module that is prone to being crashed hard if it is passed a None value that it is not expecting.

To improve this situation, I am planning to make 'not None' the default in a future release of Pyrex. In order to allow None as a legal argument value, it will be necessary to use an 'or None' qualifier.

In release 0.9.9, the 'or None' qualifier may be used, but it is optional. In preparation for the change of default, the Pyrex compiler will issue a warning (once per run) if it encounters an extension type argument that is not qualified with either 'or None' or 'not None'. For example, if Spam and Eggs are extension types and you have a function declared as
def frobulate(Spam s, Eggs e not None):
then in order to eliminate the warning, you will need to change it to
def frobulate(Spam s or None, Eggs e not None):
In a later release, when 'not None' has become the default, it will be possible to drop the 'not None' qualifiers.

Non-GC Extension Types

It is now possible to define and extension type with Python attributes that does not participate in cyclic garbage collection, using a new nogc option, for example:
cdef class Spam [nogc]:
"""This class doesn't participate in GC even though
it has a Python attribute."""
object sausages

Other New Features

Some other minor feature additions and modifications have been made.