Copyright by Jeremy M. Jones, Noah Gift

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Chapter 9. Package Management

Introduction

Package management is a one of the most critical factors in the success of a software development project. Package management can be thought of as the shipping company in an e-commerce business, such as Amazon. If there were no shipping companies, Amazon would not exist. Likewise, if there is not a functional, simple, robust package management system for an operating system or language, then it will be limited to some degree.

When we mention “package management,” your first thoughts are probably drawn toward .rpm files and yum, or .deb files and apt or some other operating system level package management system. We’ll get into that in this chapter, but the primary focus is on packaging and managing Python code and your Python environment. Python has always had ways to make Python code universally accessible to the entire system. Recently, though, there have been some projects which have improved the flexibility and usability of packaging, managing, and deploying Python code.

Some of these recent projects include setuptools, Buildout, and virtualenv. Buildout, setuptools, and virtualenv are often about development, development libraries, and dealing with development environments. But at their heart, they are mostly about using Python to deploy Python code in operating system-agnostic ways. (Note that we did say “mostly” here.)

Another deployment scenario involves creating operating system-specific packages and deploying them to an end user’s ...

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