deltachat python bindings

This package provides bindings to the deltachat-core C-library which provides imap/smtp/crypto handling as well as chat/group/messages handling to Android, Desktop and IO user interfaces.

Installing pre-built packages (linux-only)

If you have a linux system you may install the deltachat binary “wheel” package without any “build-from-source” steps.

  1. Install virtualenv, then create a fresh python environment and activate it in your shell:

    virtualenv -p python3 venv
    source venv/bin/activate

    Afterwards, invoking python or pip install will only modify files in your venv directory and leave your system installation alone.

  2. Install the wheel for linux:

        pip install deltachat
    Verify it worked by typing::
        python -c "import deltachat"

Installing a wheel from a PR/branch

For Linux, we automatically build wheels for all github PR branches and push them to a python package index. To install the latest github master:

pip install -i deltachat

Installing bindings from source

If you can’t use “binary” method above then you will need to install the delta-core C-library and then invoke installation of the source bindings:

pip install --no-binary :all: deltachat


If you can help to automate the building of wheels for Mac or Windows, that’d be much appreciated! please then get in contact with us.

Code examples

You may look at examples.

Running tests

Get a checkout of the deltachat-core github repository and type:

cd python
pip install tox

If you want to run functional tests with real e-mail test accounts, generate a “liveconfig” file where each lines contains test account settings, for example:

# 'liveconfig' file specifying imap/smtp accounts mail_pw=password mail_pw=otherpassword

The “keyword=value” style allows to specify any deltachat account config setting so you can also specify smtp or imap servers, ports, ssl modes etc. Typically DC’s automatic configuration allows to not specify these settings.

You can now run tests with this liveconfig file:

tox -- --liveconfig liveconfig

Building manylinux1 wheels

Building portable manylinux1 wheels which come with and all it’s dependencies is easy using the provided docker tooling.

using docker pull / premade images

We publish a build environment under the deltachat/wheel tag so that you can pull it from the site’s “deltachat” organization:

$ docker pull deltachat/wheel

The deltachat/wheel image can be used to build both and the Python wheels:

$ docker run --rm -it -v $(pwd):/io/ deltachat/wheel /io/python/wheelbuilder/

This command runs a script within the image, after mounting $(pwd) as /io within the docker image. The script is specified as a path within the docker image’s filesystem. The resulting wheel files will be in python/wheelhouse.

Optionally build your own docker image

If you want to build your own custom docker image you can do this:

$ cd deltachat-core # cd to deltachat-core checkout directory
$ docker build -t deltachat/wheel python/wheelbuilder/

This will use the python/wheelbuilder/Dockerfile to build up docker image called deltachat/wheel. You can afterwards find it with:

$ docker images


On more recent systems running the docker image may crash. You can fix this by adding vsyscall=emulate to the Linux kernel boot arguments commandline. E.g. on Debian you’d add this to GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT in /etc/default/grub.