organizing your scripts, with plenty of re-use

Rami Chowdhury rami.chowdhury at
Mon Oct 5 23:15:15 CEST 2009

On Mon, 05 Oct 2009 13:46:09 -0700, Buck <workitharder at> wrote:

> Thanks. I think we're getting closer to the core of this.
> To restate my problem more simply:
> My core goal is to have my scripts in some sort of organization better
> than a single directory, and still have plenty of re-use between them.
> The only way I can see to implement this is to have 10+ lines of
> unintelligible hard-coded boilerplate in every runnable script.
> That doesn't seem reasonable or pythonic.

Perhaps I've simply not followed this thread closely enough but could you  
let us know a little bit more about how you intend / expect the scripts to  
be used?

If there's a standard directory you expect them to be dropped into by your  
users (e.g. $HOME/scripts) then surely you could do something like:

	import mypathmunge

at the top of every script, and then have a in  
site-packages that goes:

import sys, os
sys.path.insert(0, os.path.join(os.getenv('HOME'), 'scripts'))


> On Oct 5, 12:34 pm, Robert Kern <robert.k... at> wrote:
>> I would like to see an example of such boilerplate. I do not understand  
>> why
>> packages would require more than any other organization scheme.
> This example is from the 2007 post I referenced in my OP. I'm pretty
> sure he meant 'dirname' rather than 'basename', and even then it
> doesn't quite work.
>   import os,sys
>   sys.path.insert(1, os.path.basename(os.path.basename(__file__)))
> This is from a co-worker trying to address this topic:
>   import os, sys
>   binpath = binpath or os.path.dirname(os.path.realpath(sys.argv[0]))
>   libpath = os.path.join(binpath, 'lib')
>   verinfo = sys.version_info
>   pythonver = 'python%d.%d' % (verinfo[0], verinfo[1])
>   sys.path.append(os.path.join(libpath, pythonver, 'site-packages'))
>   sys.path.append(libpath)
> This is my personal code:
>   from sys import path
>   from os.path import abspath, islink, realpath, dirname, normpath,
> join
>   f = __file__
>   #continue working even if the script is symlinked and then compiled
>   if f.endswith(".pyc"): f = f[:-1]
>   if islink(f): f = realpath(f)
>   here = abspath(dirname(f))
>   libpath = join(here, "..", "lib")
>   libpath = normpath(libpath)
>   path.insert(1, libpath)
>>    $ export PYTHONPATH=~/LocalToolCheckouts/:$PYTHONPATH
>> This is a simple no-installation way to use the normal
>> Python package mechanism that works well if you don't actually need to  
>> build
>> anything.
> This seems simple to you, but my users are electrical engineers and
> know just enough UNIX commands to get by. Most are afraid of Python.
> Half of them will assume the script is borked when they see a
> "ImportError: No module named foo". Another 20% will then read the
> README and
> set their environment wrong (setenv PYTHONPATH foo). The rest will get
> it to work after half an hour but never use it again because it was
> too complicated. I could fix the error message to tell them exactly
> what to do, but at that point I might as well re-write the above
> boilerplate code.
> I'm overstating my case here for emphasis, but it's essentially true.
> --Buck

Rami Chowdhury
"Never attribute to malice that which can be attributed to stupidity" --  
Hanlon's Razor
408-597-7068 (US) / 07875-841-046 (UK) / 0189-245544 (BD)

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