Both Python and C++ support object-oriented code through classes and thus it is logical to expose C++ classes as Python ones, including the full inheritence hierarchy.

The C++ code used for the examples below can be found here, and it is assumed that that code is loaded at the start of any session. Download it, save it under the name features.h, and load it:

>>> import cppyy
>>> cppyy.include('features.h')

The basics

All bound C++ code starts off from the global C++ namespace, represented in Python by gbl. This namespace, as any other namespace, is treated as a module after it has been loaded. Thus, we can import C++ classes that live underneath it:

>>> from cppyy.gbl import Concrete
>>> Concrete
<class cppyy.gbl.Concrete at 0x2058e30>

Placing classes in the same structure as imposed by C++ guarantees identity, even if multiple Python modules bind the same class. There is, however, no necessity to expose that structure to end-users: when developing a Python package that exposes C++ classes through cppyy, consider cppyy.gbl an “internal” module, and expose the classes in any structure you see fit.

A bound C++ class is a Python class and can be used in any way a Python class can. For example, we can ask for help():

>>> help(Concrete)
Help on class Concrete in module gbl:

class Concrete(Abstract)
 |  Method resolution order:
 |      Concrete
 |      Abstract
 |      ObjectProxy
 |      __builtin__.object
 |  Methods defined here:
 |  __assign__(self, const Concrete&)
 |      Concrete& Concrete::operator=(const Concrete&)
 |  __init__(self, *args)
 |      Concrete::Concrete(int n = 42)
 |      Concrete::Concrete(const Concrete&)
 etc. ....

The output of help shows the inheritance hierarchy, constructors, public methods, and public data. For example, Concrete inherits from Abstract and it has a constructor that takes an int argument, with a default value of 42. Consider:

>>> from cppyy.gbl import Abstract
>>> issubclass(Concrete, Abstract)
>>> a = Abstract()
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<console>", line 1, in <module>
TypeError: cannot instantiate abstract class 'Abstract'
>>> c = Concrete()
>>> isinstance(c, Concrete)
>>> isinstance(c, Abstract)
>>> d = Concrete(13)

Just like in C++, interface classes that define pure virtual methods, such as Abstract does, can not be instantiated, but their concrete implementations can. As the output of help showed, the Concrete constructor takes an integer argument, that by default is 42. The Concrete instances have a public data member m_int that is treated as a Python property, albeit a typed one:

>>> c.m_int, d.m_int
(42, 13)
>>> c.m_int = 3.14   # a float does not fit in an int
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
TypeError: int/long conversion expects an integer object
>>> c.m_int = int(3.14)
>>> c.m_int, d.m_int
(3, 13)

Just as classes, C++ methods are represented as Python ones. They are first-class objects and can, for example, be bound to an instance. If a method is virtual in C++, the proper concrete method is called, whether or not the concrete class is bound. Similarly, if all classes are bound, the normal Python rules apply:

>>> c.abstract_method()
called Concrete::abstract_method
>>> c.concrete_method()
called Concrete::concrete_method
>>> m = c.abstract_method
>>> m()
called Concrete::abstract_method