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At Infinidat, we write products in Python, and not just a bunch of scripts. We want our products to be isolated from global Python installations and site-packages.

The solution we came with is as follows:

  • Bundle the interpreter itself in the application, along with all the dependencies.
  • If there are binary dependencies, compile it when building the application package

This is our buildout recipe for creating the platform-specific packages.

This recipe, along with our isolated python builds, provides the following features:

  • building operating systems packages for Python projects: ** RPM packages on RedHat-based linux distributions ** DEB packages on Debian-based linux distributions, altough we test it only on Ubuntu ** MSI packages for Windows, starting from Windows NT 5.0
  • creating single-file, statically-linked, portable, executables for console scripts
  • building a static library of the interpreter along with all the 3rd-party dependcies

What deployment solution should I use

If you need to build a shared library but want to write it in Python, then you can pack the Python code as a static library and link you shared library with it.

If you need to a sinlge standalone, no-installation-required executable then use the executable recipe.

if you need a full Python interpreter, or access to package resources, then you should pack your Python project in an OS package.

Using this recipe

In order create an application with proper packaging, you'll need more than just this recipe.

  • Obtain projector from
  • Create a project using projector, build the development environment using the isolated python option.
  • Add company attribute to the project section in your buildout.cfg.
  • Run projector devenv pack; this will build all the sections in buildout.cfg that either of the recipes of this module. ** the default recipe: infi.recipe.application_packager, will build the OS package depending on the operating system. ** instead, you can explicitly define one of the following recipes: *** infi.recipe.application_packager.executable *** infi.recipe.application_packager.deb *** infi.recipe.application_packager.msi *** infi.recipe.application_packager.rpm *** infi.recipe.application_packager.static_library

At the end, OS packages will be available under the parts directory, and single-file executables and static libraries will be placed under dist.

To debug exceptions, add 'pdb = true' to the recipe. The results are stored under the follwing directories:

  • parts. stores the deb, msi and rpm intermediate files and final packages
  • build/Python-<x.y.z>. the Python source
  • build/static. this this where we copy to all the static libraries from the isolated python that will link the static python with
  • build/dependencies. this is where all the dependencies are being built
  • build/embedded. we the embedded python and the static library are being built
  • bild/executables. where we build the final console executables

Recipe configuration options

Under the pack recipe in your buildout.cfg, you can define the following options:

Key Applied to Default value Description
pdb executable, deb, msi, rpm, static_library false enter pdb if exception is raise for post mortem
dependent-scripts executable, deb, msi, rpm false
eggs executable, deb, msi, rpm <project name>
scripts executable, deb, msi, rpm <empty list>
gui-scripts deb, msi, rpm <empty list>
minimal-packages deb, msi, rpm Adds code to the entry point wrapper that tries to use less packages
shortcuts-icon msi ~/.msi-ui/icon.exe Icon file in EXE binary format to be used as icon for shortcuts
shrink-cache-dist deb, msi, rpm true delete sources from .cache/dist that are under the install-requires tree
deb-dependencies deb List of debian packages to be required prior installing your package
sign-executables-and-msi msi false Digitally signed the MSI using Authenticode certificate
pfx-file msi ~/.authenticode/certificate.pfx Absolute location of the certificate file
pfx-password-file msi ~/.authenticode/certificate-password.txt Absolute locaton for the private txt of the certificate
timestamp-url msi Timestamp server
require-administrative-privileges msi false
require-administrative-privileges-gui msi false
install-on-windows-server-2016 msi true
install-on-windows-server-2012-r2 msi true
install-on-windows-server-2012 msi true
install-on-windows-server-2008-r2 msi true
install-on-windows-server-2008 msi true
install-on-windows-server-2003 msi false
install-on-windows-10 msi false
install-on-windows-8 msi false
install-on-windows-8.1 msi false
install-on-windows-7 msi false
install-on-windows-vista msi false
install-on-windows-xp msi false
add-remove-programs-icon msi ~/.msi-ui/icon.ico ICO file to use in the add/remove program applet
msi-banner-bmp msi ~/.msi-ui/WixUIBanner.bmp Top banner
msi-dialog-bmp msi ~/.msi-ui/WixUIDialog.bmp Background bitmap used on the welcome and completion dialogs
startmenu-shortcuts msi [] ['shortcut_name' = 'executable_name', ...]
rpm-dependencies rpm List of redhat packages to be required prior installing your package
python-source-url executable, static_library tgz archive for Python
LINKFLAGS executable, static_library extra flags to pass (as a string) to pystick
CC executable, static_library extra flags to pass (as a string) to pystick
CXX executable, static_library extra flags to pass (as a string) to pystick
PATH executable, static_library extra flags to pass (as a string) to pystick
LD_LIBRARY_PATH executable, static_library extra flags to pass (as a string) to pystick
LIBRARY_PATH executable, static_library extra flags to pass (as a string) to pystick
LIBS executable, static_library extra flags to pass (as a string) to pystick
always-build executable, static_library always build from scratch, even when artifacts exist on disk
exclude-eggs executable, static_library [] eggs not to include in the build
existing-installdir msi None path to registry value to look for installation directory
custom-installdir msi None override if want to use something other than [EXISTINGINSTALLDIR]
eula-rtf msi None path to end-user license agreement RTF file
documentation-url msi None gives the user an option to launch the online docs after install

Using the installers

The basic flow of the installer is as follows:

  • Copy all the files to the target directory. The target directory is either /opt/<company>/<product name> or `%ProgramFiles%<company><product name>
  • Run get-pip
  • Run bootstrap
  • Create the executable scripts
  • Run the user-defined post install script, if was defined in buildout.cfg

The uninstall procedure is:

  • Run the user-defined pre uninstall script
  • Delete all the files that were copied during the installation, and remove temporary python files
  • If the installation directory is empty, delete it

Testing installations

This module also provides Installer classes that'll help you create integration tests for your installer, and to test it out before going to production.

Debugging installations

The buildout logs are available at:

  • /var/log/ if writable, else /tmp/
  • %TEMP% if exists or %SystemRoot%\Windows\Temp

The installer accept two variables:

Name Description
NO_CUSTOM_ACTIONS Disables scripts during install/uninstall, just creates/deletes files

To use these (example):

  • Redhat/CentOS: NO_CUSTOM_ACTIONS=1 rpm ....
  • Windows: msiexec /i ... NO_CUSTOM_ACTIONS=1

Using fixed installation directory in Windows

In some cases, you'd want to install the product in a specific location, without giving the end-user a choice to change that.

When you set a value to custom-installdir, this will change the UI to jump from the welcome dialog to the verify-installation dialog.

Looking for installation directory inside the Windows Registry

If you want to install the product under a directory that's written in the registry, add the following items to the buildout recipe:

  • existing-installdir: HKLM\Software\Key\SubKey\Value
  • custom-insalldir: [EXISTINGINSTALLDIR]

Checking out the code

Run the following:

easy_install -U infi.projector
projector devenv build