IronPython opens up the world of .NET to Python programmers. It’s not as good yet at opening up the world of Python to .NET programmers.
It is easy to write .NET applications in IronPython. I typed in some sample code within a few minutes of installing IronPython and made a very simple Windows application. But I was also interested in going the other way around. I was hoping to use IronPython to expose Python library functionality (specifically SciPy) to C#. This may be possible, but it’s swimming upstream.
There are two issues. First, calling Python from C# is more complicated than I’d expected. In hindsight it makes sense that it should be easier to call statically-typed languages from dynamically-typed languages than the other way around. I wouldn’t be surprised if IronRuby has an analogous problem. Second, even if you’re only using IronPython, not calling it from another language, there are problems calling some Python modules.
I asked a question about SciPy and IronPython on StackOverflow and got two excellent answers. First, “NXC” explained that modules written in pure Python will work with IronPython, but modules written in C will not work directly.
Anything with components written in C (for example NumPy, which is a component of SciPy) will not work on IronPython as the external language interface works differently. Any C language component will probably not work unless it has been explicitly ported to work with IronPython.
That’s disappointing, but it makes sense.
Second, “wilberforce” pointed out an open source project, Ironclad, that might fill in the gap.
Some of my workmates are working on Ironclad, a project that will make extension modules for CPython work in IronPython. It’s still in development, but parts of numpy, scipy and some other modules already work. You should try it out to see whether the parts of scipy you need are supported.