Using setuptools entry pointsΒΆ

Tags: python, zestreleaser

Entry points are a setuptools/distribute feature that’s really handy in one specific case: register something under a specific key in package A that package B can query for.

Setuptools itself uses it. If you’re packaging your project up properly, you’ve probably used the console_scripts entry point:

setup(name='zest.releaser',
      ...
      entry_points={
          'console_scripts': [
              'release = zest.releaser.release:main',
              'prerelease = zest.releaser.prerelease:main',
              ...
      ...

console_scripts is an entry point that setuptools looks up. It looks up all entry points registered under the name console_scripts and uses that information to generate scripts. In the above example that’d be a bin/release script that runs the main() method in zest/releaser/release.py.

You can use that for your own extension mechanism. For zest.releaser I needed some extension mechanism. I wanted to be able to do extra things on prerelease/release/postrelease time.

  • Downloading an external javascript library into a package that cannot be stored in (zope’s) svn repository directly due to licensing issues. Before packaging and releasing it, that is. Automatically so you don’t forget it.
  • Uploading a version.cfg to scp://somewhere/kgs/ourmainproduct-version.cfg after making a release to use it as a so-called “known good set” (KGS).
  • Possibly modifying values (like a commit message) inside zest.releaser itself while doing a release. (I do get modification requests from time to time “hey, can you make x and y configurable”). So now every zest.releaser step (prerelease, release, postrelease) is splitted in two: a calculation phase and a “doing” phase. The results of the first phase are stored in a dict that gets used in the second phase. And you can register an entry point that gets passed that dict so you can modify it. See the entry point documentation of zest.releaser for details.

An entry point for zest.releaser is configured like this in your setup.py:

entry_points={
    #'console_scripts': [
    #    'myscript = my.package.scripts:main'],
    'zest.releaser.prereleaser.middle': [
        'dosomething = my.package.some:some_entrypoint,
        ]},

Replace prereleaser and middle in zest.releaser.prereleaser.middle with prerelease/release/postrelease and before/middle/after where needed. (For this specific zest.releaser example).

Now, how to use this in your program? The best way is to show a quick example from zest.releaser where we query and use one of our entry points:

import pkg_resources
...
def run_entry_point(data):
    # Note: data is zest.releaser specific: we want to pass
    # something to the plugin
    group = 'zest.releaser.prerelease.middle'
    for entrypoint in pkg_resources.iter_entry_points(group=group):
        # Grab the function that is the actual plugin.
        plugin = entrypoint.load()
        # Call the plugin (and zest.releaser wants to pass one
        # data item: modify to suit your own API).
        plugin(data)

So: pretty easy and simple way to allow other packages to register something that you want to know. Extra plugins, extra render methods, extra functionality you want to register in your web application, etcetera.

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My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.

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