What is a Python egg? What is a Python egg? python python

What is a Python egg?


Note: Egg packaging has been superseded by Wheel packaging.

Same concept as a .jar file in Java, it is a .zip file with some metadata files renamed .egg, for distributing code as bundles.

Specifically: The Internal Structure of Python Eggs

A "Python egg" is a logical structure embodying the release of a specific version of a Python project, comprising its code, resources, and metadata. There are multiple formats that can be used to physically encode a Python egg, and others can be developed. However, a key principle of Python eggs is that they should be discoverable and importable. That is, it should be possible for a Python application to easily and efficiently find out what eggs are present on a system, and to ensure that the desired eggs' contents are importable.

The .egg format is well-suited to distribution and the easy uninstallation or upgrades of code, since the project is essentially self-contained within a single directory or file, unmingled with any other projects' code or resources. It also makes it possible to have multiple versions of a project simultaneously installed, such that individual programs can select the versions they wish to use.


The .egg file is a distribution format for Python packages. It’s just an alternative to a source code distribution or Windows exe. But note that for pure Python, the .egg file is completely cross-platform.

The .egg file itself is essentially a .zip file. If you change the extension to “zip”, you can see that it will have folders inside the archive.

Also, if you have an .egg file, you can install it as a package using easy_install

Example:To create an .egg file for a directory say mymath which itself may have several python scripts, do the following step:

# setup.pyfrom setuptools import setup, find_packagessetup(    name = "mymath",    version = "0.1",    packages = find_packages()    )

Then, from the terminal do:

 $ python setup.py bdist_egg

This will generate lot of outputs, but when it’s completed you’ll see that you have three new folders: build, dist, and mymath.egg-info. The only folder that we care about is the dist folder where you'll find your .egg file, mymath-0.1-py3.5.egg with your default python (installation) version number(mine here: 3.5)

Source: Python library blog


"Egg" is a single-file importable distribution format for Python-related projects.

"The Quick Guide to Python Eggs" notes that "Eggs are to Pythons as Jars are to Java..."

Eggs actually are richer than jars; they hold interesting metadata such as licensing details, release dependencies, etc.


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