Executing binaries in python scripts.



Subprocess is a way to run executable files and binaries in python (including other python files). It is an incredibly useful tool for setup scripts, project build scripts, and other complicated tasks.



A python module that allows you to run subprocesses to complete tasks such as running executable files, binaries, and even other python files.

A basic example would be to run another python file from a python file:

import subprocess

# Instantiates another python interpreter inside the current session and runs other_python_file.py
subprocess.run(["python", "other_python_file.py"])

You could also use it to run files in other languages like Go. Here is an example go file to run:


import "fmt"

func main(){
    fmt.Print("Hello World!")

This file can then be run in python using:

import subprocess

# Equivalent to running go run helloWorld.go
subprocess.run(["go", "run", "helloWorld.go"])

Files that are in other directories can be run by pathing the final argument to the correct file, for example:

import subprocess

# Equivalent to running go run helloWorld.go, and assumes it is 3 directories deep
subprocess.run(["go", "run", "/path/to/file/helloWorld.go"])



In this repo there are two demos you can run;

Subprocess Demo

  1. You can run the basic demo by python subprocess_demo.py or python3 subprocess_demo.py

C Demo

  1. First cd into the /c_demo folder.
  2. run python cross_language_demo.py or python3 cross_language_demo.py

Real World Applications

Python subprocesses are incredibly useful for writing scripts that need to interface with non-python executable files and/or binaries. For example if you have a project that is cross-language (let's say a backend in Go and Rust, with a frontend that needs a webpack build), you can run all the necessary migrations, dependency fetching, compiling, and running from a single python script.

Additional info

Python 3 reference for subprocess module


"""This file is used to show off a real world example of creating a build script in python and using it to build+run a C program. NOTE: This demo assumes you have gcc installed""" import os # Used to determine if machine is windows or unix/macOS import subprocess # Used to run commands from python def compile(filename, binary_filename): """Function to compile the provided file in gcc""" # Below is equivalent to running: gcc -o hello_world hello_world.c print(f"Creating binary: {binary_filename} From source file: {filename}\n") subprocess.run(["gcc", "-o", binary_filename, filename]) def run_binary(binary_filename): """Runs the provided binary""" print(f"Running binary: {binary_filename}\n") subprocess.run([binary_filename]) if __name__ == "__main__": compile("hello_world.c", "hello_world") if os.name =="nt": # If on windows run_binary("hello_world.exe") else: # If on unix/mac run_binary("hello_world") print("Binary run")

#include<stdio.h> // This file is just to show off running a binary; // i.e. a .exe in windows and regular binary in unix/macOS int main(int argc, char* argv[]){ // Prints 'Hello, World!' then exits printf("Hello, World!\n"); return 0; }

@echo off REM File runs an echo with some text and a dir. It gets run from REM subprocess_demo.py if the machine running it is windows echo "This is test_script.bat running" dir

# File runs an echo and an ls and is called from # subprocess_demo.py if the machine running it is unix/mac echo "This is test_script.sh running" ls

""" Subprocess is a module that lets you run commands and executable files from a python script.""" import os # Used to determine OS and run cls/clear commands import subprocess # Used to run external commands/executable files # Clears terminal after starting file: this helps with legibility if os.name == "nt":# PORT: If on windows then run the cls command os.system("cls") else: # PORT: If on unix/mac then run the clear comand os.system("clear") print("This is running in the subprocess_demo.py file\n") # Run the test script for respective OS's if os.name == "nt": # PORT: If on windows then run the .bat version print("Starting up test_script.bat\n\n") subprocess.run(["testScriptBatchDemo.bat"]) else: # PORT: If on unix/mac then run the .sh version print("Starting up test_script.sh\n\n") subprocess.run(["testScriptShellhDemo.sh"])