deltachat python bindings

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

Installing bindings from source (Updated: 21-Dec-2019)

Install Rust and Cargo first. Deltachat needs a specific nightly version, the easiest is probably to first install Rust stable from rustup and then use this to install the correct nightly version.

Install rustup using:

curl -sSf | sh

GIT clone the repo and use rustup to check the correct nightly version is available, if you do not have the right nightly version rustup will download and install it:

git clone
cd deltachat-core-rust
rustup show

To install the python bindings make sure you have python installed, a recent 3.x version will also come with the required venv module. E.g. on Debian-based systems apt install python3 python3-pip python3-venv should give you a usable python installation. If you prefer you can also Install virtualenv as an alternative to venv.

Ensure you are in the deltachat-core-rust/python directory, create the vivrtual environment and activate it in your shell:

cd python
python3 -m venv venv  # or: virtualenv venv
source venv/bin/activate

You should now be able to build the python bindings using the supplied script:


The installation might take a while, depending on your machine. The bindings will be installed in release mode but with debug symbols. The release mode is necessary because some tests generate RSA keys which is prohibitively slow in debug mode.

After successful binding installation you can install a few more python packages before finally running the tests:

python -m pip install pytest pytest-timeout pytest-rerunfailures requests
pytest -v tests

running “live” tests (experimental)

If you want to run “liveconfig” functional tests you can set DCC_PY_LIVECONFIG to:

  • a particular https-url that you can ask for from the delta chat devs.

  • or the path of a file that contains two lines, each describing via “addr=… mail_pw=…” a test account login that will be used for the live tests.

With DCC_PY_LIVECONFIG set pytest invocations will use real e-mail accounts and run through all functional “liveconfig” tests.

Installing pre-built packages (Linux-only)

If you have a Linux system you may try to install the deltachat binary “wheel” packages without any “build-from-source” steps.

First of all we suggest to Install virtualenv,

then create a fresh python environment and activate it in your shell:

virtualenv venv  # or: python -m 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.

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 branch:

pip install --pre -i deltachat

To verify it worked:

python -c "import 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.

Building manylinux1 based wheels

Building portable manylinux1 wheels which come with can be done with docker-tooling.

using docker pull / premade images

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

$ docker pull deltachat/coredeps

This docker image can be used to run tests and build Python wheels for all interpreters:

$ docker run -e DCC_PY_LIVECONFIG \
   --rm -it -v \$(pwd):/mnt -w /mnt \
   deltachat/coredeps ci_scripts/

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/coredeps ci_scripts/docker_coredeps

This will use the ci_scripts/docker_coredeps/Dockerfile to build up docker image called deltachat/coredeps. 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.