[Distutils] Alternate long_description formats, server-side

Donald Stufft donald at stufft.io
Thu Jun 2 18:19:03 EDT 2016

> On Jun 2, 2016, at 6:08 PM, Nick Timkovich <prometheus235 at gmail.com> wrote:
> When I brought up enabling Markdown previously, I was a bit over-eager and started talking implementation before there was any sort of consensus about it in principle, so it was a bit of a straw-man.
> The previous discussion seemed to rest with the onus being on the user to do it themselves, perhaps by installing (the non-Python) pandoc (non-trivial on Windows) as well as pypandoc and then integrating it into twine or some such.
> There seems to be a chasm between the GitHubbers that have various issues and PRs to this effect on the pypa/readme_renderer repo that are met with a frustrating silence from people with commit-power. Is the solution to basically write a full spec (PEP?) before touching any code? That seems like an actionable solution, but is it simply going to be rejected out-of-hand because of the "just learn rST" sentiment among the maintainers?

Speaking with my PyPI and readme_renderer committer hat on, I have zero opposition to the idea of rendering Markdown (or any other alternative proposal)— in fact I think it’s all together a good thing. You’d need/want some buy-in from setuptools (likely Jason Coombs is all you need there) but I don’t think there’d be an issue actually adding it once there was some agreed upon thing.

So yea, we need some sort of standard. It could be as simple as just adding a field to the existing metadata specification with something like:

Description-Format: txt|rst|md|whatever

With the assumption that if you omit the field then we do the legacy behavior of “attempt to render as rst, fallback to plain text”. You’ll probably want a registry of recommended values (or perhaps, mandatory values? How do we add a new type of format to the list?). 

Anyways, just an off the cuff idea, but I don’t think there’s anyone seriously opposed to the idea.

Donald Stufft

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