Python in gnucash has two main aspects:
- Python bindings
- Python shell
Python bindings provide SWIG wrapper functions for some of gnucashs C/C++ API. They can be used to write standalone scripts to work with the gnucash financial data. In the source tree they are located at bindings/python.
The python shell on the other hand (if enabled) opens at gnucash startup and provides a python environment to use with the running gnucash instance. In the source tree it is located at gnucash/python. The python bindings can be used in this shell. Be careful: gnucash is not designed to have multiple instances manipulating the data at the same time, reading should be secure.
Note, that there is also a pure python client, piecash, to read and manipulate GnuCash books if saved in of the three SQL backends (sqlite, MySQL, Postgres). Currently (Oct 2020), piecash supports files created up to GnuCash 4.2.
Python bindings have been added to gnucash in 2008 or earlier. There is still very little documentation and probably few people would know how to use it. While not a manual, this page was created in the hope to provide information for those interested in gnucash and python.
http://article.gmane.org/gmane.comp.gnome.apps.gnucash.devel/23800 "Re: documentation for python bindings" and
http://article.gmane.org/gmane.comp.gnome.apps.gnucash.devel/23613 "Re: documentation for python bindings" with some pointers on how to look up the existing documentation
- Perhaps it was this thread: documentation for python bindings
Setting things up
- At Runtime
- A Python package must be installed:
- Gnucash 4.x
- requires Python ≥ 3.6.
- GnuCash 3.x
- GnuCash's Python bindings has been known to work with CPython version 3.2 or later as of GnuCash 3.0.
- At Buildtime
- Python Bindings must have been enabled like If you are bulding GnuCash yourself see CMake#GnuCash Configuration Variables for the OTHER_OPTIONS.
cmake -DWITH_PYTHON=ON $OTHER_OPTIONS
- If they were enabled depends on your distribution:
- In Archlinux they are installed with the gnucash package.
- Split in a separate package
- You need to install an additional package, usually named python3-gnucash. In Debian based distributions like Ubuntu the easiest way to install the GnuCash Python bindings is via apt-get:
sudo apt-get install python3-gnucash
- Flatpak#Known Issues
Interactive ShellI use https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPython IPython for an interactive shell. If you prefer something else, let us know if there is any difference.
3.6should now be
This adds the gnucash python bindings to your PYTHONPATH assuming that your gnucash resides in /opt/gnc/git/. Notice that if even if you install to the default CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX of /usr/local, the Ubuntu/Debian python is compiled to search for packages in dist-packages and does not find them in site-packages.You can then either start up an interactive python session with ipython or call your script to be executed:
gnucash-env ipython gnucash-env python /path/to/script
- To install ipython run
sudo pip ipython
- pip is the package installer for Python.
- Install GnuCash via MacPorts:
sudo port install gnucash +python36
36should now be
- at the time of writing, only the non-quartz environment is supported.
- Setup the PYTHONPATH to point to your macports install:
3.6should now be
ipython python /path/to/script
As pointed out in the introductory paragraph, the documentation is rather slim at this point in time. Below you will find some sources where you might be able to find what you are looking for. Generally speaking, this is not yet end-user friendly stuff.
Python bindings provide SWIG wrapper functions for some of gnucashs C/C++ API. They can be used to write standalone scripts to work with the gnucash financial data.
What SWIG does
How to use the Python bindings
The source code of gnucash including the python bindings can be accessed on github.
- Example scripts from the source code.
Using python or ipython there is some sparse help:
big long list of stuff
import gnucash.gnucash_core_c help(gnucash.gnucash_core_c) dir(gnucash.gnucash_core_c)
higher abstraction level help
import gnucash.gnucash_core import gnucash.gnucash_business help(gnucash.gnucash_core) help(gnucash.gnucash_business)
http://article.gmane.org/gmane.comp.gnome.apps.gnucash.devel/23613 contained some more hopefully useful pointers, but the page is no longer available.
This section should contain some pointers to scripts using the GnuCash Python bindings:
- https://github.com/hjacobs/gnucash-qif-import --- imports transactions from QIF text files into GnuCash's own file format
- https://github.com/hjacobs/gnucash-stock-portfolio --- script using the GnuCash commodity/price table
- https://github.com/hjacobs/gnucash-fiximports --- tries to fix target accounts using regular expression rules (e.g. PIZZA -> Expenses:Dining)
- GnuCash uses DeprecationWarnings, which are disabled by default in Python. Be sure to test periodically with python -Wd or with PYTHONWARNINGS=default set in the environment so that you know about API that will disappear in the next major release. See Development_Process#LibGnuCash API Stability for the policy.