Type Casters

Most of the time, pybind11 is able to figure out how to convert C++ to Python types and back, especially classes that are explicitly wrapped. However, some types (such as STL containers) are converted indirectly and require special “type casters” to be included in your wrapper code.

Using type casters

When parsing a header, robotpy-build will match the types found against its list of type casters. If found, it will automatically add an include directive for the header that contains the type caster. robotpy-build contains support for the STL type casters that come with pybind11 (vector, function, map, etc).

Sometimes the autodetection will fail because a type is hidden in some way. You can specify the missing types on a per-class basis. For example, if std::vector is aliased and your class uses it:

    - std::vector

Custom type casters

In some rare cases, you may need to create your own custom type casters. We won’t cover that here, refer to the pybind11 documentation for custom type casters instead.

However, once you have a custom type caster, here’s what you need to do to automatically include it in a robotpy-build project.

  1. Create a header file and put the type caster in that header file. It should be in one of your project’s python packages.

  2. Add a section to pyproject.toml

    "header_name.h" =    ["somens::SomeType"]

    This directive will cause robotpy-build’s autogenerator to automatically include header_name.h whenever it notices SomeType in a file. This allows pybind11 to use it. The type specification is a list, so if there are multiple types covered in the same header, just specify all the types. However, most of the time it is preferred to put type casters for separate types in separate files.


Because type casters are included at compile time, if you change a custom type caster in a project you should recompile all dependent projects as well, otherwise undefined behavior may occur.