Importing pyFormex


This document contains very preliminary information of a new feature under development. Use at your own risk!


Traditionally, pyFormex is launched with the ‘pyformex’ command, and pyFormex (or Python) scripts are executed from the pyFormex environment (whether GUI or non-GUI).

Sometimes however it may be more suitable to import pyFormex into another Python script or environment. Therefore some modifications are underway to allow this.

How to proceed

In commit bd27925 of the git repositories the basic necessary changes were made to allow a basic pyFormex to be imported into normal Python workflow. These changes are currently only available when using pyFormex from the git sources. You may have to do a pull first.

Running non-GUI scripts

If you do not need the pyFormex GUI, the following is required to import pyFormex and make its scripting language usable just like in a pyFormex script/application:

  • make sure Python finds the path from which to import pyFormex,

  • import pyFormex (this is done implicitely when importing one of the modules or subpackages from pyFormex),

  • import the pyFormex scripting language, if you want to use it. You probably want to, since you have imported pyFormex, but you would not need it if you just want to use some pyFormex classes or modules.

While there are many ways to do this, we present hereafter a few typical examples of how it can be done. Suppose we have a (partial) directory layout as follows:

|-- home
|   |-- user
|   |   |-- pyformex
|   |   |   |-- pyformex
|   |   |   |   |--
|   |   |   |   |-- gui
|   |   |   |   |-- opengl
|   |   |   |   |-- plugins
|   |   |-- apps
|   |   |   |   |--
|   |   |   |   |--

Thus, the path of the pyFormex package (i.e. the ‘pyformex’ directory containing the pyFormex ‘’ source file and having at least subdirectories ‘gui’, ‘opengl’, ‘plugins’) is ‘/home/user/pyformex/pyformex’. We have to add its parent path (‘/home/user/pyformex’) to the front of the Python paths to search for packages and modules. Furthermore, suppose we have our Python scripts in a directory ‘/home/user/apps/’.


The contents of ‘’ looks like this:

# Set path to import pyFormex
import sys

# Import the pyFormex with its full scripting language
from pyformex.script import *

# Show that we can do some pyFormex operations
a = array([[1,2,3],[4,5,6]])
b = growAxis(a,2)

It can be run with the command:


and produces the result:

[[1 2 3]
 [4 5 6]]
[[1 2 3 0 0]
 [4 5 6 0 0]]


Instead of hardcoding the pyFormex package path inside the script, you can set it in the PYTHONPATH environment variable. Also, in this example we do not import everything from the pyFormex scripting language, only the few things we need:

# Import some required modules
import numpy
from pyformex import arraytools

# Show that we can do some pyFormex operations
a = numpy.array([[1,2,3],[4,5,6]])
b = arraytools.growAxis(a,2,axis=0)

This script can now be run with a command:

PYTHONPATH=/home/user/pyformex python

and produces the results:

[[1 2 3]
 [4 5 6]]
[[1 2 3]
 [4 5 6]
 [0 0 0]
 [0 0 0]]


  • It is possible to use relative paths for the pyFormex package path. Be aware though that these may not work if you execute the python command from a directory that is actually a symlink.


Currently you can not set the pyFormex command line options when not using the pyformex command.

Loading user preferences has not been tested yet. There is a function ‘loadUserConfig’ in pyformex.main (untested).

Using (parts of) pyFormex other than through the pyformex command has not been thoroughly tested yet. While the basic functionality should likely work, the use of some complex classes and modules may raise some problems.

Warnings can not be silenced (unless you load the user preferences and disable the warnings from the GUI first).