[Distutils] Using code from a dependency in setup.py

George V. Reilly george at reilly.org
Wed May 29 21:33:41 CEST 2013

I have a little web framework, let's call it Bread, which is used to
build applications like Jam, Marmalade, PeanutButter, and other
toppings. Bread both *builds* and *serves* these applications.

I'm trying to figure out how to make the applications' `setup.py`s
work, given the following requirements:

* The apps depend upon Bread, via
  [setuptool's install_requires](
* To build an application at development time, Bread reads some config
  and then emits assets (HTML, JS, CSS, images, etc) to the
  application's `output` directory. In other words, `bread devserver`
  reads `Jam/bread.yaml` and assembles assets in `Jam/output`, then
  serves the application (via Flask, but that's not otherwise pertinent).
* In order to build a *deployable* Jam application, I want to invoke
  Bread during `python setup.py install` of Jam, to build
  `Jam/output`. In production, Jam should not need to build anything.
* I've defined a custom `bdist_egg` setup command where
  `initialize_options` imports Bread, invokes the builder, then sets
  `self.distribution.data_files` with the appropriate tuples, before
  calling the base class. (And *that* was no fun to figure out.)
* Right now, the `bdist_egg` is defined in Jam's `setup.py`. I want to
  move this and other boilerplate code into `bread.setup`, so that I
  can reuse it in Marmalade, PeanutButter, etc.
* Potentially, this means that I'm now importing Bread code before
  Bread has been installed. This will surely arise in a clean install,
  such as a fresh virtualenv on a build machine.

Can this be done with Distutils / setuptools /  Distribute?
/George V. Reilly  george at reilly.org  Twitter: @georgevreilly
http://www.georgevreilly.com/blog  http://blogs.cozi.com/tech
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