Under normal circumstances, the
distutils assume that you are going to
build a distribution of your project, not use it in its “raw” or “unbuilt”
form. However, if you were to use the
distutils to build a distribution,
you would have to rebuild and reinstall your project every time you made a
change to it during development.
Another problem that sometimes comes up with the
distutils is that you may
need to do development on two related projects at the same time. You may need
to put both projects’ packages in the same directory to run them, but need to
keep them separate for revision control purposes. How can you do this?
Setuptools allows you to deploy your projects for use in a common directory or staging area, but without copying any files. Thus, you can edit each project’s code in its checkout directory, and only need to run build commands when you change a project’s C extensions or similarly compiled files. You can even deploy a project into another project’s checkout directory, if that’s your preferred way of working (as opposed to using a common independent staging area or the site-packages directory).
To do this, use the
setup.py develop command. It works very similarly to
setup.py install, except that it doesn’t actually install anything.
Instead, it creates a special
.egg-link file in the deployment directory,
that links to your project’s source code. And, if your deployment directory is
site-packages directory, it will also update the
easy-install.pth file to include your project’s source code, thereby making
it available on
sys.path for all programs using that Python installation.
In addition, the
develop command creates wrapper scripts in the target
script directory that will run your in-development scripts after ensuring that
install_requires packages are available on
You can deploy the same project to multiple staging areas, e.g. if you have multiple projects on the same machine that are sharing the same project you’re doing development work.
When you’re done with a given development task, you can remove the project
source from a staging area using
setup.py develop --uninstall, specifying
the desired staging area if it’s not the default.
There are several options to control the precise behavior of the
command; see the section on the develop command below for more details.
Note that you can also apply setuptools commands to non-setuptools projects, using commands like this:
python -c "import setuptools; with open('setup.py') as f: exec(compile(f.read(), 'setup.py', 'exec'))" develop
That is, you can simply list the normal setup commands and options following the quoted part.