[Distutils] PEP 426, round 733 ;)

Nick Coghlan ncoghlan at gmail.com
Mon Feb 4 14:10:10 CET 2013

(I think we're getting pretty close now...)

As usual, PEP inline below and on the web at

Diff from the previous version is here (the abstract is fixed in the
next commit): http://hg.python.org/peps/rev/7f36cb23fb6d

>From the commit message:

- include an example of Python-Requires + environment markers
- allow a bare Extension field (and give an example use case)
- be explicit that projects that refuse to use compliant version
numbering must continue to use metadata v1.1
- add guidelines for sorting across metadata versions
- add guidelines for dependencies across metadata versions
- point out that the new sort order is more consistent with that of
- mention the implicit test and doc features in the rationale for
supporting optional features in general
- consistently use sentence case for headings, instead of a mix of
sentence case and title case
- other typo fixes


PEP: 426
Title: Metadata for Python Software Packages 1.3
Version: $Revision$
Last-Modified: $Date$
Author: Daniel Holth <dholth at fastmail.fm>,
        Donald Stufft <donald at stufft.io>,
        Nick Coghlan <ncoghlan at gmail.com>
Discussions-To: Distutils SIG
Status: Draft
Type: Standards Track
Content-Type: text/x-rst
Created: 30 Aug 2012


This PEP describes a mechanism for adding metadata to Python distributions.
It includes specifics of the field names, and their semantics and

This document specifies version 1.3 of the metadata format.
Version 1.0 is specified in PEP 241.
Version 1.1 is specified in PEP 314.
Version 1.2 is specified in PEP 345.

Version 1.3 of the metadata format adds fields designed to make
third-party packaging of Python Software easier and defines a formal
extension mechanism.  It also support for optional features of distributions
and allows the description to be placed into a payload section. Finally,
this version addresses several issues with the previous iteration of the
standard version numbering scheme.

Metadata files

The syntax defined in this PEP is for use with Python distribution
metadata files. The file format is a simple UTF-8 encoded Key: value
format with case-insensitive keys and no maximum line length, optionally
followed by a blank line and a payload containing a description of the

This format is parseable by the ``email`` module with an appropriate
``email.policy.Policy()``. When ``metadata`` is a Unicode string,
```email.parser.Parser().parsestr(metadata)`` is a serviceable parser.

There are two standard locations for these metadata files:

* the ``PKG-INFO`` file included in the base directory of Python
  source distribution archives (as created by the distutils ``sdist``
* the ``.dist-info/METADATA`` files in a Python installation database, as
  described in PEP 376.

Other tools involved in Python distribution may also use this format.


Metadata 1.3 files are UTF-8 with the restriction that keys must be
ASCII. Parser implementations should be aware that older versions of
the Metadata specification do not specify an encoding.

Metadata header fields

This section specifies the names and semantics of each of the
supported fields in the metadata header.

In a single Metadata 1.3 file, fields marked with "(optional)" may occur
0 or 1 times.  Fields marked with "(multiple use)" may be specified
0, 1 or more times.  Only "Metadata-Version", "Name", "Version", and
"Summary" must appear exactly once.

The fields may appear in any order within the header section of the file.


Version of the file format; "1.3" is the only legal value.


    Metadata-Version: 1.3


The name of the distribution.


    Name: BeagleVote


A string containing the distribution's version number. See `Version scheme`_


    Version: 1.0a2


A one-line summary of what the distribution does.


    Summary: A module for collecting votes from beagles.

Description (optional, deprecated)

Starting with Metadata 1.3, the recommended place for the description is in
the payload section of the document, after the last header.  The description
does not need to be reformatted when it is included in the payload.

See `Describing the Distribution`_ for more information on the expected
contents of this field.

Since a line separator immediately followed by another line separator
indicates the end of the headers section, any line separators in a
``Description`` header field must be suffixed by whitespace to
indicate continuation.

It is an error to provide both a ``Description`` header and a metadata

Keywords (optional)

A list of additional whitespace separated keywords to be used to assist
searching for the distribution in a larger catalog.


    Keywords: dog puppy voting election

Home-page (optional)

A string containing the URL for the distribution's home page.


    Home-page: http://www.example.com/~cschultz/bvote/

Download-URL (optional)

A string containing the URL from which this version of the distribution
can be downloaded.  (This means that the URL can't be something like
".../BeagleVote-latest.tgz", but instead must be ".../BeagleVote-0.45.tgz".)

Project-URL (multiple use)

A string containing a label and a browsable URL for the project, separated
by the last occurrence of comma and space ", ".

The label consists of any permitted header text, including commas.


    Bug, Issue Tracker, http://bitbucket.org/tarek/distribute/issues/

Author (optional)

A string containing the author's name at a minimum; additional
contact information may be provided.


    Author: C. Schultz, Universal Features Syndicate,
            Los Angeles, CA <cschultz at peanuts.example.com>

Author-email (optional)

A string containing the author's e-mail address.  It contains a name
and e-mail address in the RFC 5322 recommended ``Address Specification``


    Author-email: "C. Schultz" <cschultz at example.com>

Maintainer (optional)

A string containing the maintainer's name at a minimum; additional
contact information may be provided.

Note that this field is intended for use when a project is being
maintained by someone other than the original author:  it should be
omitted if it is identical to ``Author``.


    Maintainer: C. Schultz, Universal Features Syndicate,
            Los Angeles, CA <cschultz at peanuts.example.com>

Maintainer-email (optional)

A string containing the maintainer's e-mail address.  It has the same
format as ``Author-email``.

Note that this field is intended for use when a project is being
maintained by someone other than the original author:  it should be
omitted if it is identical to ``Author-email``.


    Maintainer-email: "C. Schultz" <cschultz at example.com>

License (optional)

Text indicating the license covering the distribution where the license
is not a selection from the "License" Trove classifiers. See
"Classifier" below.  This field may also be used to specify a
particular version of a license which is named via the ``Classifier``
field, or to indicate a variation or exception to such a license.


    License: This software may only be obtained by sending the
            author a postcard, and then the user promises not
            to redistribute it.

    License: GPL version 3, excluding DRM provisions

The full text of the license would normally be included in a separate

Classifier (multiple use)

Each entry is a string giving a single classification value
for the distribution.  Classifiers are described in PEP 301 [2].


    Classifier: Development Status :: 4 - Beta
    Classifier: Environment :: Console (Text Based)

Provides-Dist (multiple use)

Each entry contains a string naming a requirement that is satisfied by
installing this distribution. These strings must be of the form
``Name`` or ``Name (Version)``, following the formats of the corresponding
field definitions.

For ease of metadata consumption, distributions are required to explicitly
include a ``Provides-Dist`` entry for their own name and version. This also
allows developers of a project to discourage users explicitly depending on
the project (by deliberately omitting this entry).

A distribution may provide additional names, e.g. to indicate that
multiple projects have been merged into and replaced by a single
distribution or to indicate that this project is a substitute for another.
For instance, distribute (a fork of setuptools) can include a
``Provides-Dist: setuptools`` entry to prevent the conflicting
package from being downloaded and installed when distribute is already
installed.  A distribution that has been merged with another might
``Provides-Dist`` the obsolete name(s) to satisfy any projects that
require the obsolete distribution's name.

A distribution may also provide a "virtual" project name, which does
not correspond to any separately-distributed project:  such a name
might be used to indicate an abstract capability which could be supplied
by one of multiple projects.  E.g., multiple projects might supply
RDBMS bindings for use by a given ORM:  each project might declare
that it provides ``ExampleORM-somedb-bindings``, allowing other
projects to depend only on having at least one of them installed.

A version declaration may be supplied and must follow the rules described
in `Version scheme`_. The distribution's version number will be implied
if none is specified.


    Provides-Dist: ThisProject
    Provides-Dist: AnotherProject (3.4)
    Provides-Dist: virtual_package

Provides-Extra (multiple use)

A string containing the name of an optional feature. Must be printable
ASCII, not containing whitespace, comma (,), or square brackets [].
May be used to make a dependency conditional on whether the optional
feature has been requested.

See `Optional Features`_ for details on the use of this field.


    Name: beaglevote
    Provides-Extra: pdf
    Requires-Dist: reportlab; extra == 'pdf'
    Requires-Dist: nose; extra == 'test'
    Requires-Dist: sphinx; extra == 'doc'

Obsoleted-By (optional)

Indicates that this project is no longer being developed.  The named
project provides a substitute or replacement.

A version declaration may be supplied and must follow the rules described
in `Version specifiers`_.

Possible uses for this field include handling project name changes and
project mergers.


    Name: BadName
    Obsoleted-By: AcceptableName

    Name: SeparateProject
    Obsoleted-By: MergedProject (>=4.0.0)

Requires-Dist (multiple use)

Each entry contains a string naming some other distutils
project required by this distribution.

The format of a requirement string is identical to that of a distribution
name (e.g., as found in the ``Name:`` field) optionally followed by a
version declaration within parentheses.

The distribution names should correspond to names as found on the `Python
Package Index`_; often the same as, but distinct from, the module names
as accessed with ``import x``.

Version declarations must follow the rules described in
`Version specifiers`_

Distributions may also depend on optional features of other distributions.
See `Optional Features`_ for details.


    Requires-Dist: pkginfo
    Requires-Dist: PasteDeploy
    Requires-Dist: zope.interface (>3.5.0)

Dependencies mentioned in ``Requires-Dist`` may be installed exclusively
at run time and are not guaranteed to be available when creating or
installing a package. If a dependency is needed during distribution
creation or installation *and* at run time, it should be listed under
both ``Requires-Dist`` and ``Setup-Requires-Dist``.

Setup-Requires-Dist (multiple use)

Like ``Requires-Dist``, but names dependencies needed in order to build,
package or install the distribution. Commonly used to bring in extra
compiler support or a package needed to generate a manifest from
version control.

Distributions may also depend on optional features of other distributions.
See `Optional Features`_ for details.


    Setup-Requires-Dist: custom_setup_command

Dependencies mentioned in ``Setup-Requires-Dist`` may be installed
exclusively for setup and are not guaranteed to be available at run time.
If a dependency is needed during distribution creation or installation
*and* at run time, it should be listed under both ``Requires-Dist`` and

Requires-Python (multiple use)

This field specifies the Python version(s) that the distribution is
guaranteed to be compatible with.

Version declarations must be in the format specified in
`Version specifiers`_.


    Requires-Python: 3.2
    Requires-Python: >3.1
    Requires-Python: >=2.3.4
    Requires-Python: >=2.5,<2.7

If specified multiple times, the Python version must satisfy all such
constraints to be considered compatible. This is most useful in combination
with appropriate `Environment markers`_.

For example, if a feature was initially introduced to Python as a
Unix-specific addition, and then Windows support was added in the
subsequent release, this could be indicated with the following pair
of entries::

    Requires-Python: >= 3.1
    Requires-Python: >= 3.2; sys.platform == 'win32'

Requires-External (multiple use)

Each entry contains a string describing some dependency in the
system that the distribution is to be used.  This field is intended to
serve as a hint to downstream project maintainers, and has no
semantics which are meaningful to the ``distutils`` distribution.

The format of a requirement string is a name of an external
dependency, optionally followed by a version declaration within

Because they refer to non-Python software releases, version numbers
for this field are **not** required to conform to the format
described in `Version scheme`_:  they should correspond to the
version scheme used by the external dependency.

Notice that there is no particular rule on the strings to be used.


    Requires-External: C
    Requires-External: libpng (>=1.5)

Platform (multiple use)

A Platform specification describing an operating system supported by
the distribution which is not listed in the "Operating System" Trove
classifiers. See `Classifier`__ above.

__ `Classifier (multiple use)`_


    Platform: ObscureUnix
    Platform: RareDOS

Supported-Platform (multiple use)

Binary distributions containing a metadata file will use the
Supported-Platform field in their metadata to specify the OS and
CPU for which the binary distribution was compiled.  The semantics of
the Supported-Platform field are not specified in this PEP.


    Supported-Platform: RedHat 7.2
    Supported-Platform: i386-win32-2791

Extension (multiple use)

An ASCII string, not containing whitespace or the ``/`` character, that
indicates the presence of extended metadata. The additional fields
defined by the extension are then prefixed with the name of the extension
and the ``/`` character.

For example::

    Extension: Chili
    Chili/Type: Poblano
    Chili/Heat: Mild

To avoid name conflicts, it is recommended that distribution names be used
to identify metadata extensions. This practice will also make it easier to
find authoritative documentation for metadata extensions.

As the order of the metadata headers is not constrained, the
``Extension: Chili`` field may appear before or after the corresponding
extension fields ``Chili/Type:`` etc.

Values in extension fields must still respect the general formatting
requirements for metadata headers.

A bare ``Extension: Name`` entry with no corresponding extension fields is
permitted. It may, for example, indicate the expected presence of an
additional metadata file rather than the presence of extension fields.

An extension field with no corresponding ``Extension: Name`` entry is an

Describing the distribution

The distribution metadata should include a longer description of the
distribution that may run to several paragraphs. Software that deals
with metadata should not assume any maximum size for the description.

The recommended location for the description is in the metadata payload,
separated from the header fields by at least one completely blank line
(that is, two successive line separators with no other characters
between them, not even whitespace).

Alternatively, the description may be provided in the `Description`__
metadata header field. Providing both a ``Description`` field and a
payload is an error.

__ `Description (optional, deprecated)`_

The distribution description can be written using reStructuredText
markup [1]_.  For programs that work with the metadata, supporting
markup is optional; programs may also display the contents of the
field as plain text without any special formatting.  This means that
authors should be conservative in the markup they use.

Version scheme

Version numbers must comply with the following scheme::


Version numbers which do not comply with this scheme are an error. Projects
which wish to use non-compliant version numbers must restrict themselves
to metadata v1.1 (PEP 314) or earlier, as those versions do not mandate
a particular versioning scheme.

Suffixes and ordering

The following suffixes are the only ones allowed at the given level of the
version hierarchy and they are ordered as listed.

Within a numeric release (``1.0``, ``2.7.3``)::

   .devN, aN, bN, cN, rcN, <no suffix>, .postN

Within an alpha (``1.0a1``), beta (``1.0b1``), or release candidate
(``1.0c1``, ``1.0rc1``)::

   .devN, <no suffix>, .postN

Within a post release (``1.0.post1``)::

    devN, <no suffix>

Note that ``devN`` and ``postN`` must always be preceded by a dot, even
when used immediately following a numeric version (e.g. ``1.0.dev456``,

Within a given suffix, ordering is by the value of the numeric component.

Note that `rc` will always sort after `c` (regardless of the numeric
component) although they are semantically equivalent. It is suggested
that within a particular project you do not mix `c` and `rc`, especially
within the same numeric version.

Example version order



Ordering across different metadata versions

After making a release with a given metadata version, it is assumed that
projects will not revert to an older metadata version.

Accordingly, and to allow projects with non-compliant version schemes
to more easily migrate to the version scheme defined in this PEP,
releases should be sorted by their declared metadata version *before*
being sorted by the distribution version.

Software that processes distribution metadata should account for the fact
that metadata v1.0 (PEP 241) and metadata v1.1 (PEP 314) do not
specify a standard version numbering or sorting scheme. This PEP does
not mandate any particular approach to handling such versions, but
acknowledges that the de facto standard for sorting such versions is
the scheme used by the ``pkg_resources`` component of ``setuptools``.

For metadata v1.2 (PEP 345), the recommended sort order is defined in
PEP 386 (It is expected that projects where the defined PEP 386 sort
order is incorrect will skip straight from metadata v1.1 to metadata v1.3).

Version specifiers

A version specifier consists of a series of version clauses, separated by
commas. Each version clause consists of an optional comparison operator
followed by a version number. For example::

   0.9, >= 1.0, != 1.3.4, < 2.0

Each version number must be in the standard format described in
`Version scheme`_.

Comparison operators must be one of ``<``, ``>``, ``<=``, ``>=``, ``==``
and ``!=``.

When no comparison operator is provided, it is equivalent to using the
following pair of version clauses::

    >= V, < V+1

where ``V+1`` is the "next version" after ``V``, as determined by
incrementing the last numeric component in ``V`` (for example, if
``V == 1.0a3``, then ``V+1 == 1.0a4``, while if ``V == 1.0``, then
``V+1 == 1.1``).

The comma (",") is equivalent to a logical **and** operator.

Whitespace between a conditional operator and the following version number
is optional, as is the whitespace around the commas.

Pre-releases of any kind (indicated by the presence of ``dev``, ``a``,
``b``, ``c`` or ``rc`` in the version number) are implicitly excluded
from all version specifiers, *unless* a pre-release version is explicitly
mentioned in one of the clauses. For example, this specifier implicitly
excludes all pre-releases of later versions::

    >= 1.0

While these specifiers would include them::

    >= 1.0a1
    >= 1.0c1
    >= 1.0, != 1.0b2
    >= 1.0, < 2.0.dev123

Dependency resolution tools should use the above rules by default, but may
also allow users to request the following alternative behaviours:

* accept already installed pre-releases for all version specifiers
* retrieve and install available pre-releases for all version specifiers

Post releases and purely numeric releases receive no special treatment -
they are always included unless explicitly excluded.

Given the above rules, projects which include the ``.0`` suffix for the
first release in a series, such as ``2.5.0``, can easily refer specifically
to that version with the clause ``2.5.0``, while the clause ``2.5`` refers
to that entire series. Projects which omit the ".0" suffix for the first
release of a series, by using a version string like ``2.5`` rather than
``2.5.0``, will need to use an explicit clause like ``>= 2.5, < 2.5.1`` to
refer specifically to that initial release.

Some Examples:

- ``Requires-Dist: zope.interface (3.1)``: any version that starts with 3.1,
  excluding pre-releases.
- ``Requires-Dist: zope.interface (==3.1)``: equivalent to ``Requires-Dist:
  zope.interface (3.1)``.
- ``Requires-Dist: zope.interface (3.1.0)``: any version that starts with
  3.1.0, excluding pre-releases. Since that particular project doesn't
  use more than 3 digits, it also means "only the 3.1.0 release".
- ``Requires-Python: 3``: Any Python 3 version, excluding pre-releases.
- ``Requires-Python: >=2.6,<3``: Any version of Python 2.6 or 2.7, including
  post releases (if they were used for Python). It excludes pre releases of
  Python 3.
- ``Requires-Python: 2.6.2``: Equivalent to ">=2.6.2,<2.6.3". So this includes
  only Python 2.6.2. Of course, if Python was numbered with 4 digits, it would
  include all versions of the 2.6.2 series, excluding pre-releases.
- ``Requires-Python: 2.5``: Equivalent to ">=2.5,<2.6".
- ``Requires-Dist: zope.interface (3.1,!=3.1.3)``: any version that starts with
  3.1, excluding pre-releases of 3.1 *and* excluding any version that
  starts with "3.1.3". For this particular project, this means: "any version
  of the 3.1 series but not 3.1.3". This is equivalent to:
- ``Requires-Python: >=3.3a1``: Any version of Python 3.3+, including
  pre-releases like 3.4a1.

Depending on distributions that use non-compliant version schemes

A distribution using this version of the metadata standard may need to depend
on another distribution using an earlier version of the metadata standard
and a non-compliant versioning scheme.

The normal ``Requires-Dist`` and ``Setup-Requires-Dist`` fields can be used
for such dependencies, so long as the dependency itself can be expressed
using a compliant version specifier.

For more exotic dependencies, a metadata extension would be needed in order
to express the dependencies accurately while still obeying the restrictions
on standard version specifiers. The ``Requires-External`` field may also
be used, but would not be as amenable to automatic processing.

Environment markers

An **environment marker** is a marker that can be added at the end of a
field after a semi-colon (";"), to add a condition about the execution

Here are some example of fields using such markers::

   Requires-Dist: pywin32 (>1.0); sys.platform == 'win32'
   Requires-Dist: foo (1,!=1.3); platform.machine == 'i386'
   Requires-Dist: bar; python_version == '2.4' or python_version == '2.5'
   Requires-External: libxslt; 'linux' in sys.platform

The micro-language behind this is a simple subset of Python: it compares
only strings, with the ``==`` and ``in`` operators (and their opposites),
and with the ability to combine expressions. Parentheses are supported
for grouping.

The pseudo-grammar is ::

    EXPR [in|==|!=|not in] EXPR [or|and] ...

where ``EXPR`` belongs to any of these:

- python_version = '%s.%s' % (sys.version_info[0], sys.version_info[1])
- python_full_version = sys.version.split()[0]
- os.name = os.name
- sys.platform = sys.platform
- platform.version = platform.version()
- platform.machine = platform.machine()
- platform.python_implementation = platform.python_implementation()
- a free string, like ``'2.4'``, or ``'win32'``
- extra = (name of requested feature) or None

Notice that ``in`` is restricted to strings, meaning that it is not possible
to use other sequences like tuples or lists on the right side.

The fields that benefit from this marker are:

- ``Requires-Python``
- ``Requires-External``
- ``Requires-Dist``
- ``Setup-Requires-Dist``
- ``Provides-Dist``
- ``Classifier``

Optional features

Distributions may use the ``Provides-Extra`` field to declare additional
features that they provide. Environment markers may then be used to indicate
that particular dependencies (as specified in ``Requires-Dist`` or
``Setup-Requires-Dist``) are needed only when a particular optional
feature has been requested.

Other distributions then require an optional feature by placing it
inside square brackets after the distribution name when declaring the
dependency. Multiple features can be requisted by separating them with a
comma within the brackets.

The full set of dependency requirements is then the union of the
sets created by first evaluating the `Requires-Dist` (or
`Setup-Requires-Dist`) fields with `extra` set to `None` and then to
the name of each requested feature.


    Requires-Dist: beaglevote[pdf]
        -> requires beaglevote, reportlab at run time

    Setup-Requires-Dist: beaglevote[test, doc]
        -> requires beaglevote, sphinx, nose at setup time

It is legal to specify `Provides-Extra` without referencing it in any
`Requires-Dist`. It is an error to request a feature name that has
not been declared with `Provides-Extra`.

The following feature names are implicitly defined for all distributions:

- `test`: dependencies that are needed in order to run automated tests
- `doc`: dependencies that are needed in order to generate documentation

Listing these implicit features explicitly in a ``Provides-Extra`` field is
permitted, but not required.

Updating the metadata specification

The metadata specification may be updated with clarifications without
requiring a new PEP or a change to the metadata version.

Adding new features (other than through the extension mechanism), or
changing the meaning of existing fields, requires a new metadata version
defined in a new PEP.

Summary of differences from \PEP 345

* Metadata-Version is now 1.3

* Most fields are now optional

* Explicit permission for in-place clarifications without releasing a new
  version of the specification

* General reformatting of the PEP to make it easier to read

* Values are now expected to be UTF-8

* Changed the version scheme (eliminating the dependency on PEP 386)

* Changed interpretation of version specifiers

* Explicit handling of ordering and dependencies across metadata versions

* Support for packaging, build and installation dependencies

   * the new ``Setup-Requires-Dist`` field

* Optional feature mechanism

   * the new ``Provides-Extra`` field
   * ``extra`` expression defined for environment markers.
   * optional feature support in ``Requires-Dist`` and

* Metadata extension mechanism

   * the new ``Extension`` field and extension specific fields

* Updated obsolescence mechanism

   * the new ``Obsoleted-By`` field
   * the ``Obsoletes-Dist`` field has been removed

* Simpler description format

   * the ``Description`` field is now deprecated
   * A payload (containing the description) may appear after the headers.

* Other changed fields:

  - ``Requires-Python`` (explicitly flagged as multiple use)
  - ``Project-URL`` (commas permitted in labels)

* Clarified fields:

  - ``Provides-Dist``
  - ``Keywords``

The rationale for major changes is given in the following sections.

Standard encoding and other format clarifications

Several aspects of the file format, including the expected file encoding,
were underspecified in previous versions of the metadata standard. To
simplify the process of developing interoperable tools, these details are
now explicitly specified.

Changing the version scheme

The key change in the version scheme in this PEP relative to that in
PEP 386 is to sort top level developmental releases like ``X.Y.devN`` ahead
of alpha releases like ``X.Ya1``. This is a far more logical sort order, as
projects already using both development releases and alphas/betas/release
candidates do not want their developmental releases sorted in
between their release candidates and their full releases. There is no
rationale for using ``dev`` releases in that position rather than
merely creating additional release candidates.

The updated sort order also means the sorting of ``dev`` versions is now
consistent between the metadata standard and the pre-existing behaviour
of ``pkg_resources`` (and hence the behaviour of current installation

Making this change should make it easier for affected existing projects to
migrate to the latest version of the metadata standard.

Furthermore, as the version scheme in use is dependent on the metadata
version, it was deemed simpler to merge the scheme definition directly into
this PEP rather than continuing to maintain it as a separate PEP. This will
also allow all of the distutils-specific elements of PEP 386 to finally be
formally rejected.

Changing the interpretation of version specifiers

The previous interpretation of version specifiers made it very easy to
accidentally download a pre-release version of a dependency. This in
turn made it difficult for developers to publish pre-release versions
of software to the Python Package Index, as such an action would lead
to users inadvertently downloaded pre-release software.

The previous interpretation also excluded post-releases from some version
specifiers for no adequately justified reason.

The updated interpretation is intended to make it difficult to accidentally
accept a pre-release version as satisfying a dependency, while allowing
pre-release versions to be explicitly requested when needed.

Packaging, build and installation dependencies

The new ``Setup-Requires-Dist`` field allows a distribution to indicate when
a dependency is needed to package, build or install the distribution, rather
than being needed to run the software after installation.

This should allow distribution tools to effectively support a wider range of
distribution requirements.

Support for optional features of distributions

The new ``Provides-Extra`` field allows distributions to declare optional
features, and to use environment markers to reduce their dependencies
when those features are not requested. Environment markers may also be
used to require a later version of Python when particular features are

The ``Requires-Dist`` and ``Setup-Requires-Dist`` fields then allow
distributions to require optional features of other distributions.

The ``test`` and ``doc`` features are implicitly defined for all
distributions, as one key motivation for this feature is to encourage
distributions to explicitly declare the dependencies needed to run
their automatic tests, or build their documentation, without demanding those
dependencies be present in order to merely install or use the software.

Support for metadata extensions

The new ``Extension`` field effectively allows sections of the metadata
namespace to be delegated to other distributions, while preserving a
standard overal format metadata format for easy of processing by
distribution tools that do not support a particular extension.

It also works well in combination with the new ``Setup-Requires-Dist`` field
to allow a distribution to depend on tools which *do* know how to handle
the chosen extension, and the new optional features mechanism, allowing
support for particular extensions to be provided as optional features.

Updated obsolescence mechanism

The marker to indicate when a project is obsolete and should be replaced
has been moved to the obsolete project (the new ``Obsoleted-By`` field),
replacing the previous marker on the replacement project (the removed
``Obsoletes-Dist`` field).

This should allow distribution tools to more easily warn users of
obsolete projects and their suggested replacements.

The ``Obsoletes-Dist`` header is removed rather than deprecated as it
is not widely supported, and so removing it does not present any significant
barrier to tools and projects adopting the new metadata format.

Simpler description format

Distribution descriptions are often quite long, sometimes including a
short guide to using the module. Moving them into the file payload allows
them to be formatted neatly as reStructuredText without needing to
carefully avoid the introduction of a blank line that would terminate
the header section.

The ``Description`` header is deprecated rather than removed to support
easier conversion of existing tools and projects to the new metadata


This document specifies version 1.3 of the metadata format.
Version 1.0 is specified in PEP 241.
Version 1.1 is specified in PEP 314.
Version 1.2 is specified in PEP 345.

The initial attempt at a standardised version scheme, along with the
justifications for needing such a standard can be found in PEP 386.

.. [1] reStructuredText markup:

.. _`Python Package Index`: http://pypi.python.org/pypi/

.. [2] PEP 301:


Parsing and generating the Metadata 1.3 serialization format using
Python 3.3::

    # Metadata 1.3 demo
    from email.generator import Generator
    from email import header
    from email.parser import Parser
    from email.policy import Compat32
    from email.utils import _has_surrogates

    class MetadataPolicy(Compat32):
        max_line_length = 0
        continuation_whitespace = '\t'

        def _sanitize_header(self, name, value):
            if not isinstance(value, str):
                return value
            if _has_surrogates(value):
                raise NotImplementedError()
                return value

        def _fold(self, name, value, sanitize):
            body = ((self.linesep+self.continuation_whitespace)
            return ''.join((name, ': ', body, self.linesep))

    if __name__ == "__main__":
        import sys
        import textwrap

        pkg_info = """\
    Metadata-Version: 1.3
    Name: package
    Version: 0.1.0
    Summary: A package.
    Description: Description

        A description of the package.


        m = Parser(policy=MetadataPolicy()).parsestr(pkg_info)

        m['License'] = 'GPL'
        description = m['Description']
        description_lines = description.splitlines()
                + '\n'
                + textwrap.dedent('\n'.join(description_lines[1:]))
                + '\n')
        del m['Description']

        # Correct if sys.stdout.encoding == 'UTF-8':
        Generator(sys.stdout, maxheaderlen=0).flatten(m)


This document has been placed in the public domain.

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Nick Coghlan   |   ncoghlan at gmail.com   |   Brisbane, Australia

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