[Distutils] Alternate static metadata PEP submission...

David Cournapeau david at ar.media.kyoto-u.ac.jp
Thu Oct 15 03:59:48 CEST 2009

David Lyon wrote:
> We're not talking about too much more than a file copy and run script
> api.

Saying that a packaging tool is about copying files is not very useful -
you could say that programming is just moving bytes around and you would
be right as well :)

> I'm really not hung up on .ini style files and am agnostic about
> the format.

I am quite agnostic on the syntax as well - as PJE mentioned a couple of
months ago when talking about a new distutils from scratch, even using
XML for a first prototype would be acceptable. The .cabal file has a
nice syntax, though, and quite pythonic in some ways (indentation
instead of brace for example).

What matters is what you can put in the file, and .ini files are too
limited IMHO, for the following reasons:
    - they don't allow hierarchy
    - they don't allow conditional in arbitrary locations
    - the set of variables is hard-coded, and custom variables cannot be
defined (with the current PEP 390 scheme, there is no way to detect
windows 64 for example).

> Tell me where I find a built in API in python for this other format
> so we can look at it? No harm in looking at it.

There is no python package to read this file that I know of - the parser
needs to be written. That's why a more explicit, straw-man format could
be used as a prototype first (I have no experience nor knowledge in
parsing, so I am not really useful for that part). The interesting part
is which capabilities must be enabled: possibility to control data
tagging in a fine-grained manner to support the traditional unix file
system hierarchy, handling installed documentation, etc... And how it
can interact with external tools (a default, 'dumb' build tool ala
distutils, or more advanced build tools like scons/waf for people who
require the complexity).

The 'dumb' tool would handle the post install, pre install, etc... you



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