Most people in the Django world probably use pip to install everything. I (and the company were I work, Nelen & Schuurmans) use buildout instead. If there are any other buildout users left outside of zope/plone, I’d love to hear it :-)
First the news about the new update, after that I’ll add a quick note about what’s good about buildout, ok?
Djangorecipe 2.1.1 is out. The two main improvements:
Lots of old unused functionality has been removed. Project generation, for
instance. Django’s own
startproject is good enough right now. And you
can also look at cookiecutter.
wsgilog are gone as they’re not needed
The latest gunicorn releases didn’t come with django support anymore. You
used to have a
bin/django run_gunicorn (or
run_gunicorn) management command, but now you just have to run
bin/gunicorn yourproject.wsgi. And pass along an environment variable
that points at your django settings.
With the latest djangorecipe, you can add a
gunicorn option and it’ll create a
for you that sets the environment variable automatically. Handy!
Advantage of buildout. To me, the advantage of buildout is threefold:
Buildout is more fool-proof. With pip/virtualenv you should remember to
activate the virtualenv. With buildout, the scripts themselves make sure the
sys.path is set.
pip install something you shouldn’t forget the
requirements.txt option. With buildout, the requirement restrictions
(“versions”) are applied automatically.
With pip, you need to set the django settings environment variable in
production and staging. With buildout, it is just
bin/django like in
development: it includes the correct reference to the correct settings file
There just isn’t anything you can forget!
Buildout is extensible. You can extend it with “recipes”. Like a django recipe that helps with the settings and so. Or a template recipe that generates an ngnix config based on a template with the django port and hostname already filled in from the buildout config file. Or a sysegg recipe that selectively injects system packages (=hard to compile things like numpy, scipy, netcdf4).
Buildout “composes” your entire site, as far as possible. Pip “just” grabs
your python packages. Buildout can also build NPM and run grunt to grab your
bin/django collectstatic -y when
you install it in production. And generate an nginx/apache file based on
your config’s gunicorn port. And generate a supervisord config with the
correct gunicorn call with the same port number.
Of course there are drawbacks:
The documentation is definitively not up to the standards of django itself. Actually, I don’t really want to point at the effectively unmaintained main documentation site at http://www.buildout.org/…. You need some experience with buildout to be able to get and keep it working.
Most people use pip.
Why do I still use it?
The level of automation you can get with buildout (“composability”) is great.
It is fool-proof. One
bin/buildout and everything is set up
correctly. Do you trust every colleague (including yourself) to remember 5
different commands to set up a full environment?
If you don’t use buildout, you have to use pip and virtualenv. And a makefile or something like that to collect all the various parts. Or you need ansible even to set up a local environment.
Syseggrecipe makes it easy to include system packages like numpy, scipy, mapnik and so on. Most pip-using web developers only need a handful of pure python packages. We’re deep into GIS and numpy/gdal territory. You don’t want to compile all that stuff by hand. You don’t want to have to keep track of all the development header file packages!
So… hurray for buildout and for the updated djangorecipe functionality! If you still use it, please give me some feedback at email@example.com or in the comments below. I’ve removed quite some old functionality and I might have broken some usecases. And buildout/django ideas and thoughts are always welcome.
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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