[Distutils] Eggs, zc.buildout, and Distributed Version Control, oh my!

Ross Patterson me at rpatterson.net
Wed May 13 23:36:30 CEST 2009

...and of course the elephant in the living room, svn:externals.  :)

I've been using DVC (git mostly) more and more these days and enjoying
it very much.  It works particularly well when I have a self-contained
software package.  I tend to start a project in SVN with the standard
trunk/branches/tags layout and then use git in front of the SVN repo.  I
make the egg root itself a buildout for a test environment with my
favorite but not required development tools.  (Of course I test with
"python setup.py test" before release when the egg doesn't require any
additional deployment details provided by the buildout.  I don't want to
get into that discussion.)  It all works much better than trying to work
directly with SVN far beyond the benefits of just being able to work

What I want to ask about and still haven't worked out an answer to is
how to best manage framework or deployment projects where I am
developing a number of eggs in parallel under a buildout that needs to
be versioned as well.  In this case, I'm finding moving away from
svn:externals more painful than I expected.  Having an overview of all
version control status for all code being developed is very valuable.

Now some of this comes down to eggs being overused and I've certainly
been guilty of that myself.  For example, I used to make separate eggs
for all my client specific code (policy, theme, etc.).  This is clearly
unnecessary and I've switched to using one egg that contians multiple
sub-packages for factoring.

Even with that, however, I still find the lack of a good "what changes
have I made to all sub projects" overview to be rather painful.  Maybe
this is outside the scope of the individual DVC tool and should be
handled by an independent tool that aggregates status across projects.
How do others handle this kind of situation?


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