Standard way to embed version into Python package? Standard way to embed version into Python package? python python

Standard way to embed version into Python package?

Not directly an answer to your question, but you should consider naming it __version__, not version.

This is almost a quasi-standard. Many modules in the standard library use __version__, and this is also used in lots of 3rd-party modules, so it's the quasi-standard.

Usually, __version__ is a string, but sometimes it's also a float or tuple.

Edit: as mentioned by S.Lott (Thank you!), PEP 8 says it explicitly:

Module Level Dunder Names

Module level "dunders" (i.e. names with two leading and two trailing underscores) such as __all__, __author__, __version__, etc. should be placed after the module docstring but before any import statements except from __future__ imports.

You should also make sure that the version number conforms to the format described in PEP 440 (PEP 386 a previous version of this standard).

I use a single file as the "once cannonical place" to store version information:

  1. It provides a __version__ attribute.

  2. It provides the standard metadata version. Therefore it will be detected by pkg_resources or other tools that parse the package metadata (EGG-INFO and/or PKG-INFO, PEP 0345).

  3. It doesn't import your package (or anything else) when building your package, which can cause problems in some situations. (See the comments below about what problems this can cause.)

  4. There is only one place that the version number is written down, so there is only one place to change it when the version number changes, and there is less chance of inconsistent versions.

Here is how it works: the "one canonical place" to store the version number is a .py file, named "" which is in your Python package, for example in myniftyapp/ This file is a Python module, but your doesn't import it! (That would defeat feature 3.) Instead your knows that the contents of this file is very simple, something like:

__version__ = "3.6.5"

And so your opens the file and parses it, with code like:

import reVERSIONFILE="myniftyapp/"verstrline = open(VERSIONFILE, "rt").read()VSRE = r"^__version__ = ['\"]([^'\"]*)['\"]"mo =, verstrline, re.M)if mo:    verstr =    raise RuntimeError("Unable to find version string in %s." % (VERSIONFILE,))

Then your passes that string as the value of the "version" argument to setup(), thus satisfying feature 2.

To satisfy feature 1, you can have your package (at run-time, not at setup time!) import the _version file from myniftyapp/ like this:

from _version import __version__

Here is an example of this technique that I've been using for years.

The code in that example is a bit more complicated, but the simplified example that I wrote into this comment should be a complete implementation.

Here is example code of importing the version.

If you see anything wrong with this approach, please let me know.

Rewritten 2017-05

After 13+ years of writing Python code and managing various packages, I came to the conclusion that DIY is maybe not the best approach.

I started using the pbr package for dealing with versioning in my packages. If you are using git as your SCM, this will fit into your workflow like magic, saving your weeks of work (you will be surprised about how complex the issue can be).

As of today, pbr has 12M mongthly downloads, and reaching this level didn't include any dirty tricks. It was only one thing -- fixing a common packaging problem in a very simple way.

pbr can do more of the package maintenance burden, and is not limited to versioning, but it does not force you to adopt all its benefits.

So to give you an idea about how it looks to adopt pbr in one commit have a look switching packaging to pbr

Probably you would observed that the version is not stored at all in the repository. PBR does detect it from Git branches and tags.

No need to worry about what happens when you do not have a git repository because pbr does "compile" and cache the version when you package or install the applications, so there is no runtime dependency on git.

Old solution

Here is the best solution I've seen so far and it also explains why:

Inside yourpackage/

# Store the version here so:# 1) we don't load dependencies by storing it in 2) we can import it in for the same reason# 3) we can import it into your module module__version__ = '0.12'

Inside yourpackage/

from .version import __version__


exec(open('yourpackage/').read())setup(    ...    version=__version__,    ...

If you know another approach that seems to be better let me know.