Cython has a number of very useful compiler directives that modify the compiler’s default behavior. These cover behaviors from enabling code profiling to changing the default python object type used to represent a C string. However, when using pyximport, the simplest way to use Cython in a project, these settings have to be configured per file or per code block, not globally. With a little ingenuity, this restriction can be overcome.

It requires wrapping one of pyximport’s internal functions, but this can be done by enforcing default values for these directives just before Cython compiles a file. The following example injects is has the same effect as putting # cython: embedsignature=True, profile=True at the top of every file imported via pyximport:

# Allow .pyx files to be seamlessly integrated via cython/pyximport with
# default compiler directives.
import functools
import pyximport.pyximport

# Hack pyximport to have default options for profiling and embedding signatures
# in docstrings.
# Anytime pyximport needs to build a file, it ends up calling
# pyximport.pyximport.get_distutils_extension.  This function returns an object
# which has a cython_directives attribute that may be set to a dictionary of
# compiler directives for cython.
_old_get_distutils_extension = pyximport.pyximport.get_distutils_extension
def _get_distutils_extension_new(*args, **kwargs):
    extension_mod, setup_args = _old_get_distutils_extension(*args, **kwargs)

    if not hasattr(extension_mod, 'cython_directives'):
        extension_mod.cython_directives = {}
    extension_mod.cython_directives.setdefault('embedsignature', True)
    extension_mod.cython_directives.setdefault('profile', True)
    return extension_mod, setup_args
pyximport.pyximport.get_distutils_extension = _get_distutils_extension_new


Note that this will not forcibly recompile unchanged modules with the new options; you will have to touch those files to trigger a compilation with the new configuration.

Conveniently, file comments (the traditional way to apply these directives to an entire file) will still override these settings.