Farm Development

The Python Make tool

A while back there was a lot of talk about needing a Make tool for Python, one like Ruby Rake. There are a few packages now:

... and more recently:

Personally, I liked Ian Bicking's suggestion to just use distutils but apparently his examples came off convoluted. I think this is because distutils is somewhat convoluted (to be fair, it was created a long time ago in software years).

At the time of that article I took Ian's advice and tried to do Make-like work in distutils commands. It was a pain. Mostly, I kept forgetting how everything needed to be set up. Since distutils silently ignores errors it doesn't tell you what's wrong, your command just doesn't work. But I still think the core concept is a good one. You probably already have a setup.py file anyway, so why not add some commands to it?

disthelper

So ... I made a helper to reduce the pain of creating setup.py commands: disthelper

It's the simplest possible approach: it just automates the creation of standard setup.py commands. You need setuptools and Paste to run disthelper but you don't need anything beyond the stdlib distutils module to run your custom command. I think more pain can be abstracted out of creating distutils commands. First off, I've been experimenting with an optparse-based wrapper around distutils.core.Command. This isn't ready for release but so far I am convinced it is possible to make a nicer Command class that's fully backwards compatible with distutils.core.Command. This could be taken even further and grow a decorator interface or something simpler that didn't require a class (for simple commands). If anyone wants to help dream up an interface, I've laid down the ground work to make this distutils-compatible and am willing to help implement it (my time permitting, of course). As an aside, I think such a wrapper would make a nice addition to the stdlib as long as backwards-compatibility is maintained.

Somewhat related is the buildutils project. Buildutils defines many custom tasks you typically want to perform on your project. At some point I may also make disthelper a repository for typical commands but right now I'd like to focus on making it a facilitator of creating setup.py commands.

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