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Posted 26 May 2008


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20 Jun 2008MIT3 min read
A CLI control for IronPython 2.0B2+.


As of this writing, IronPython version 2 (IP2) is now in beta after months of alpha builds so I decided it was safe enough to start on the next version of IronTextBox to work with IP2. If you are working with IP1.1, here is the version of IronTextBox that will work with IP1.1. Many new IronPython users often ask how to host an IronPythonEngine within a Form, or for simple out of the box code to look at. I first created IronTextBox when IronPython was rather new. Since then, many improvements and other development tools have been developed by Microsoft to help dissect Python code, like IronPython Studio. IronTextBox is still pretty handy because you can quickly browse to one Python file on the fly and get it running in the CLI.

IronTextBox.dll Library

IronTextBox was designed to be a CLI-like control to be drag-n-dropped into a Form or other .NET controls.

  • UIIronTextBox: is the main namespace
  • UIIronTextBox.IPEWrapper: Overridden Stream class to handle IP output
  • UIIronTextBox.Paths: Easily accessible common paths
  • UIIronTextBox.Utils: Not much here, just some early experimentation with debugging

IronTextBox.dll Classes

What's Different in IronTextBox 2?

Too much has changed from IronPython 1.1 but one of the biggest changes in my mind is the PythonEngine and running Python code. IP2 is more centered around the namespace Microsoft.Scripting. So, you can not easily create a PythonEngine object and start running. In IronTextBox, I created three methods which pretty much handle the main things that need to happen and to easily replace IronTextBox version 1 code:

/// Executes the Python file within the IronTextBox environment.
/// A nice way to quickly get a Python module in CLI to test or use.
object DoIPExecuteFile(string pyfile)
    ScriptSource source = engine.CreateScriptSourceFromFile(pyfile);
    return source.Execute(scope);

/// Executes the code in SourceCodeKind.SingleStatement to fire the command event
/// Use DoIPEvaluate if you do not wish to fire the commandevent
object DoIPExecute(string pycode)
    ScriptSource source = engine.CreateScriptSourceFromString(pycode, 
    return source.Execute(scope);

/// Executes the code in SourceCodeKind.Expression not to fire the command event
/// Use DoIPExecute if you do wish to fire the commandevent
object DoIPEvaluate(string pycode)
    ScriptSource source = engine.CreateScriptSourceFromString(pycode, 
    return source.Execute(scope);

Here are some details on what's new in each file:

//Paths.cs - version
//      - Updated IronPython_Tutorial to point to IronPython 2.0B2 path
//      - Added Python25Dirs 
//IronTextBox.cs - version
//      -IronPython 2.0B2 Support
//      -Removed ParsetheText() since IronPython.Compiler.Ast removed in IP2SimEnter();
//      -Added DoIPExecuteFile(), DoIPExecute(), DoIPEvaluate()


When using IronTextBox, your executable directory must contain:

  • IronTextBox.dll
  • IronPython.dll
  • IronPython.Modules.dll
  • Microsoft.Scripting.Core.dll
  • Microsoft.Scripting.dll

Just add references to these in your project and set Properties for Copy Local to True. All of these files (besides IronTextBox.dll, of course) is found in the IronPython 2.0B2 download.

Tip: try including the files above if you receive the following exception: "Microsoft.Scripting.InvalidImplementationException : Type 'IronPython.Runtime.PythonContext' doesn't provide a suitable public constructor or its implementation is faulty."

Running this Demo

  1. Make sure you have downloaded and extracted IronPython 2.0B2 (or try IronPython's main website for the latest release). FYI: I have hardcoded the IronPython script folder to Environment.SpecialFolder.MyDocuments + @"\Visual Studio 2008\Projects\IronPython-2.0B2\Tutorial" in the project. However, I have implemented an OpenFileDialog to correct any incorrect paths.
  2. Download and unzip this article's .NET solution and project files.
  3. From MS VC# 2008 Solution Explorer, add a reference by browsing to IronPython.dll, IronPython.Modules.dll, Microsoft.Scripting.Core.dll, Microsoft.Scripting.Core.dll, and Microsoft.Scripting.dll located where you extracted the IronPython download.

If you are new to IronPython, you may run the IronTextBox command 'runfile' and then browse to IronPython-2.0B2\Tutorial\; notice how you may use add, factorial, and print hi. You can run a 'dir()' command to see what is available.


IronTextBox v2 can be dropped into a Form to provide a Command Line Interface (CLI) with IronPython 2.0B2. The previous version of IronTextBox works with IP1.1. IronTextBox also displays ways to work with IronPython 2.0B2.



  • 5/26/08
    • Article and IronTextBox version posted.
  • 6/10/08
    • Compiled and tested with IronPython 2.03B.
    • Updated source License from GNU to Expat/MIT.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The MIT License


About the Author

Chief Technology Officer
United States United States
Born in Pennsylvania (USA), just north of Philadelphia. Joe has been programming since he was ten[now much older]. He is entirely self-taught programmer, & he is currently working as an IT Manager in Seattle WA. He was previously U.S. Navy Active Reservist for (SPAWAR)
In '98 was honorably discharged from the USN. He served onboard the USS Carl Vinson (94-98) He was lucky enough to drink President Clinton's leftover wine, promoted by his Captain, and flew in a plane off the flightdeck but not all at the same time. His interests, when time allows, are developing
misc apps and Artificial Intelligence proof-of-concept demos that specifically exhibits human behavior. He is a true sports-a-holic, needs plenty of caffeine, & a coding junkie. He also enjoys alternative music and a big Pearl Jam, Nirvana, new alternative music fan, and the Alison Wonderland.
He is currently working on<> which he says is fun and cool. Cool | :cool: :cheers:

Joe is an INTP[
^] personality type. Joe "sees everything in terms of how it could be improved, or what it could be turned into. INTP's live primarily inside their own minds." INTPs also can have the "greatest precision in thought and language. Can readily discern contradictions and inconsistencies. The world exists primarily to be understood. 1% of the total population" [

Comments and Discussions

QuestionCompilation Issues Pin
NISM19061-Nov-12 3:11
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AnswerRe: Compilation Issues Pin
JoeSox1-Nov-12 4:51
MemberJoeSox1-Nov-12 4:51 
QuestionCan I add your code into this project and maintenance it? [modified] Pin
begtostudy9-Aug-10 19:41
Memberbegtostudy9-Aug-10 19:41 
AnswerRe: Can I add your code into this project and maintenance it? Pin
JoeSox9-Aug-10 21:00
MemberJoeSox9-Aug-10 21:00 
General2.6 Release Candidate 2 Pin
Arnie197828-Oct-09 23:14
MemberArnie197828-Oct-09 23:14 
QuestionLicense listed here overrides license in source code? Pin
batesbc19-Jun-08 8:16
Memberbatesbc19-Jun-08 8:16 
AnswerRe: License listed here overrides license in source code? Pin
JoeSox20-Jun-08 5:23
MemberJoeSox20-Jun-08 5:23 
GeneralFormatting broken in some place(s) Pin
leppie26-May-08 22:01
Memberleppie26-May-08 22:01 
GeneralRe: Formatting broken in some place(s) Pin
JoeSox27-May-08 5:08
MemberJoeSox27-May-08 5:08 
GeneralRe: Formatting broken in some place(s) Pin
leppie27-May-08 6:52
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GeneralRe: Formatting broken in some place(s) Pin
JoeSox28-May-08 20:26
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