Using Python Packages – An Overview

Yesterday I gave a presentation at PyCologne about Python packages. It was meant as a kind of sequel to the “Cooking Eggs” talk given by Christopher Arndt (in German) in September. While he presented ways to create Python packages, I focused on how to use Python packages.

Python comes with batteries included, but sometimes, battery power is not enough. Thankfully, there are countless packages available for use. Given that there “should be one– and preferably only one –obvious way to do it,” using Python packages can be quite intimidating. The documentation of your package might say to download, unzip und run python install. Meet distutils. Or just do easy_install MyPackage, which is uses setuptools. But then you hear that setuptools is superseeded by distribute and instead of easy_install, you should use pip. And then there is virtualenv, which is awesome, but can be even more awesome with virtualenvwrapper. What a mess!

My conclusion: use distribute, pip, virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper.

You can download the slides or view them with Slideshare: