Including non-Python files with setup.py Including non-Python files with setup.py python python

Including non-Python files with setup.py


Probably the best way to do this is to use the setuptools package_data directive. This does mean using setuptools (or distribute) instead of distutils, but this is a very seamless "upgrade".

Here's a full (but untested) example:

from setuptools import setup, find_packagessetup(    name='your_project_name',    version='0.1',    description='A description.',    packages=find_packages(exclude=['ez_setup', 'tests', 'tests.*']),    package_data={'': ['license.txt']},    include_package_data=True,    install_requires=[],)

Note the specific lines that are critical here:

package_data={'': ['license.txt']},include_package_data=True,

package_data is a dict of package names (empty = all packages) to a list of patterns (can include globs). For example, if you want to only specify files within your package, you can do that too:

package_data={'yourpackage': ['*.txt', 'path/to/resources/*.txt']}

The solution here is definitely not to rename your non-py files with a .py extension.

See Ian Bicking's presentation for more info.

UPDATE: Another [Better] Approach

Another approach that works well if you just want to control the contents of the source distribution (sdist) and have files outside of the package (e.g. top-level directory) is to add a MANIFEST.in file. See the Python documentation for the format of this file.

Since writing this response, I have found that using MANIFEST.in is typically a less frustrating approach to just make sure your source distribution (tar.gz) has the files you need.

For example, if you wanted to include the requirements.txt from top-level, recursively include the top-level "data" directory:

include requirements.txtrecursive-include data *

Nevertheless, in order for these files to be copied at install time to the package’s folder inside site-packages, you’ll need to supply include_package_data=True to the setup() function. See Adding Non-Code Files for more information.


To accomplish what you're describing will take two steps...

  • The file needs to be added to the source tarball
  • setup.py needs to be modified to install the data file to the source path

Step 1: To add the file to the source tarball, include it in the MANIFEST

Create a MANIFEST template in the folder that contains setup.py

The MANIFEST is basically a text file with a list of all the files that will be included in the source tarball.

Here's what the MANIFEST for my project look like:

  • CHANGELOG.txt
  • INSTALL.txt
  • LICENSE.txt
  • pypreprocessor.py
  • README.txt
  • setup.py
  • test.py
  • TODO.txt

Note: While sdist does add some files automatically, I prefer to explicitly specify them to be sure instead of predicting what it does and doesn't.

Step 2: To install the data file to the source folder, modify setup.py

Since you're looking to add a data file (LICENSE.txt) to the source install folder you need to modify the data install path to match the source install path. This is necessary because, by default, data files are installed to a different location than source files.

To modify the data install dir to match the source install dir...

Pull the install dir info from distutils with:

from distutils.command.install import INSTALL_SCHEMES

Modify the data install dir to match the source install dir:

for scheme in INSTALL_SCHEMES.values():    scheme['data'] = scheme['purelib']

And, add the data file and location to setup():

data_files=[('', ['LICENSE.txt'])]

Note: The steps above should accomplish exactly what you described in a standard manner without requiring any extension libraries.


It is 2019, and here is what is working -despite advice here and there, what I found on the internet halfway documented is using setuptools_scm, passed as options to setuptools.setup. This will include any data files that are versioned on your VCS, be it git or any other, to the wheel package, and will make "pip install" from the git repository to bring those files along.

So, I just added these two lines to the setup call on "setup.py". No extra installs or import required:

    setup_requires=['setuptools_scm'],    include_package_data=True,

No need to manually list package_data, or in a MANIFEST.in file - if it is versioned, it is included in the package. The docs on "setuptools_scm" put emphasis on creating a version number from the commit position, and disregard the really important part of adding the data files. (I can't care less if my intermediate wheel file is named "*0.2.2.dev45+g3495a1f" or will use the hardcoded version number "0.3.0dev0" I've typed in - but leaving crucial files for the program to work behind is somewhat important)


matomo