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 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 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.

  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 branch:

pip install -i 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.

Installing bindings from source

If you can’t use “binary” method above then you need to compile to core deltachat library:

git clone
cd deltachat-core-rust
cd python

If you don’t have one active, create and activate a python “virtualenv”:

python virtualenv venv # or python -m venv source venv/bin/activate

Afterwards which python tells you that it comes out of the “venv” directory that contains all python install artifacts. Let’s first install test tools:

pip install pytest pytest-timeout pytest-rerunfailures requests

then cargo-build and install the deltachat bindings:


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 finally run the tests:

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.

Code examples

You may look at examples.

Building manylinux1 wheels


This section may not fully work.

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/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:

$ bash ci_scripts/

This command runs tests and build-wheel scripts in a docker container.

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.