pikepdf does a complex job in providing bindings from Python to a C++ library,
both of which have different ideas about how to manage memory. This page
documents some methods that may help should it be necessary to debug the Python
C++ extension (
Using gdb to debug C++ and Python¶
Current versions of gdb can debug Python and C++ code simultaneously. See the Python developer’s guide on gdb Support. To use this effectively, a debug build of pikepdf and QPDF should be created.
Compiling a debug build of QPDF¶
To download QPDF and compile a debug build:
# in QPDF source tree cd $QPDF_SOURCE_TREE cmake -S . -B build -DENABLE_QTC=ON -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug cmake --build build -j
Compile and link against QPDF source tree¶
pikepdf._core against the version of QPDF above, rather than the
env QPDF_SOURCE_TREE=<location of QPDF> \ QPDF_BUILD_LIBDIR=<directory containing libqpdf.so> \ python setup.py build_ext --inplace
The libqpdf.so file should be located in the
libqpdf subdirectory of your cmake
build directory but may be in a subdirectory of that if you are using a
multi-configuration generator with cmake. In addition to building against the QPDF
source, you’ll need to force your operating system to load the locally compiled
version of QPDF instead of the installed version:
# Linux env LD_LIBRARY_PATH=<directory containing libqpdf.so> python ...
# macOS - may require disabling System Integrity Protection env DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH=<directory containing libqpdf.so> python ...
On macOS you can make the library persistent by changing the name of the library to use in pikepdf’s binary extension module:
install_name_tool -change /usr/local/lib/libqpdf*.dylib \ $QPDF_BUILD_LIBDIR/libqpdf*.dylib \ src/pikepdf/_core.cpython*.so
You can also run Python through a debugger (
lldb) in this manner,
and you will have access to the source code for both pikepdf’s C++ and QPDF.
Enabling QPDF tracing¶
For builds of QPDF having ENABLE_QTC=ON, setting the environment variables
TC_FILENAME=your_log_file.txt will cause libqpdf to
log debug messages to the designated file. For example:
env TC_SCOPE=qpdf TC_FILENAME=libqpdf_log.txt python my_pikepdf_script.py
Valgrind may also be helpful - see the Python documentation for information on setting up Python and Valgrind.
The standard Python profiling tools in
cProfile work fine for many
purposes but cannot explore inside pikepdf’s C++ functions.
The py-spy program can effectively profile time spent in Python or executing C++ code and demangle many C++ names to the appropriate symbols.
Happily it also does not require recompiling in any special mode, unless one desires more symbol information than libqpdf or the C++ standard library exports.
For best results, use py-spy to generate speedscope files and use the speedscope application to view them. py-spy’s SVG output is illegible due to long C++ template names as of this writing.
To install profiling and use profiling software:
# From a virtual environment with pikepdf installed... # Install pip install py-spy npm install -g speedscope # may need sudo to install this # Run profile on a script that executes some pikepdf code we want to profile py-spy record --native --format speedscope -o profile.speedscope -- python some_script.py # View results (this will open a browser window) speedscope profile.speedscope
To profile pikepdf’s test suite, ensure that you run
pytest -n0 to disable
multiple CPU usage, since py-spy cannot trace inside child processes.
pymemtrace is another helpful tool for diagnosing memory leaks.