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ZipPy is a work in progress Python 3 implementation as one of the Truffle languages. It currently borrows the same project setup as FastR, in which the guest language code is managed in its own repository splitting ZipPy and Graal in two different repositories. This arrangement is made possible by mx.

Because of the commonalities on project setup, this introduction borrows materials from the FastR.

System Requirements

ZipPy is developed and tested on Mac OS X (10.11/10.10). Building on Windows is currently not supported.

To build and run ZipPy, you need a Latest JDK 8 and a C/C++ compiler tool chain. You also need to use the mx (mx) build tool, which is used in all projects built around Graal. mx requires Python 2.7 (not exactly ZipPy at this point...).

Getting ZipPy

  1. Clone mx v5.14.0: git clone
  2. Append the mx directory to your PATH.

ZipPy requires Graal. Both projects are hosted in different repositories. To obtain both, use the multiple-repository support in mx, create a directory, e.g., r, that serves as the project root. We will refer to this as $ZIPPY_HOME in what follows.

$ mx -v sclone

After this, you should find two directories called zippy and graal in the project root. Note that the -v is optional, and shows the actual hg commands being invoked by mx. Note that mx first downloaded zippy and then, using the information in the mx.zippy/imports file, downloaded a specific revision of Graal.

If you are using Java 8 to build, you should create a file $ZIPPY_HOME/zippy/mx.zippy/env and add the following line of text:

JAVA_HOME=<path to Java 8 home>

With an existing ZipPy checkout

If your starting point is an existing checkout of ZipPy, please refer to the following steps.

First make sure that you have mx installed (refer to the section above to installed it).

Pick or create a project directory referred as $ZIPPY_HOME (not the actual name, name it as you want) and move your ZipPy checkout to $ZIPPY_HOME/zippy. This is necessary because mx's default suite model is sibling model, which means that imported suites are placed with the primary suite under the same directory ($ZIPPY_HOME). It is better to keep the entire project in its own directory ($ZIPPY_HOME).

Download imported suites:

$ cd $ZIPPY_HOME/zippy
$ mx spull

Now you should have zippy, truffle, graal-core and jvmci under the project root. Alternatively you can also use the --primary-suite-path option to specify the path of zippy.

$ mx -v --primary-suite-path zippy spull

If everything looks good at this point, you should be able to move on to the building step.

More about mx

mx manages software in suites, which are normally one-to-one with a Mercurial repository. One suite is always designated as the primary suite, which in this case is zippy.

Adding mx to your PATH is to make it more accessible in the command line. If you prefer not to do so, you can of course specify its full path when firing a mx command.

For more information about mx please refer to the mx.

Building ZipPy

To build a suite and the suites it depends on, the mx build command is used:

$ cd zippy
$ mx build

When building for the first time, the build script will prompt you for a VM configuration to build. In general, choosing the jvmci configuration is advised. For details, see Graal Instructions.

The first build will also download various required libraries, so there must be a network connection.

Running ZipPy

After building, running ZipPy can be done with mx python.

$ mx python <>

Sadly, interactive shell and many of the CPython command line options are not yet implemented...


The subproject edu.uci.python.test includes a set of tests that we currently use. The mx unittest command runs all JUnit test it can find in the current suite. The following command runs all the unit tests with their class paths matching the pattern, python.test.

$ mx unittest python.test


Benchmarks are located in the subproject zippy/benchmark. One can use the mx python command to run each benchmark separately.

Build Status

Build Status


Yes we need help to push the completeness of ZipPy!

No lawyer BS. Simply raise an issue or submit a pull request when you feel like to.


Wei Zhang, Twitter, Inc.

Mohaned Qunaibit, University of California Irvine