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Subpar is a utility for creating self-contained python executables. It is designed to work well with Bazel.


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Subpar (deprecated)

Build Status

Subpar is a utility for creating self-contained python executables. It is designed to work well with Bazel.


This project is unmaintained and considered deprecated. Historically, subpar was the only way to produce a deployable Python artifact in Bazel. This is no longer true; --build_python_zip and the python_zip_file output_group allows you to create executable Python zip artifacts with the standard py_binary rule. rules_docker can also be used to build container images that launch py_binary.


  • Add the following to your WORKSPACE file:
    name = "subpar",
    remote = "",
    tag = "1.0.0",
  • Add the following to the top of any BUILD files that declare par_binary() rules:
load("@subpar//:subpar.bzl", "par_binary")


par_binary() is a drop-in replacement for py_binary() in your BUILD files that also builds a self-contained, single-file executable for the application, with a .par file extension.

To build the .par file associated with a par_binary(name=myname) rule, do

bazel build //my/package:myname.par

The .par file is created alongside the python stub and .runfiles directories that py_binary() creates, but is independent of them. It can be copied to other directories or machines, and executed directly without needing the .runfiles directory. The body of the .par file contains all the srcs, deps, and data files listed.


  • C extension modules in 'deps' is not yet supported
  • Automatic re-extraction of '.runfiles' is not yet supported
  • Does not include a copy of the Python interpreter ('hermetic .par')


Given a BUILD file with the following:

load("@subpar//:subpar.bzl", "par_binary")

    name = 'foo',
    srcs = ['', ''],
    deps = ['//baz:some_py_lib'],
    data = ['quux.dat'],

Run the following build command:

bazel build //package:foo.par

This results in the following files being created by bazel build:


The .par file can be copied, moved, or renamed, and still run like a compiled executable file:

$ scp bazel-bin/package/foo.par my-other-machine:foo.par
$ ssh my-other-machine ./foo.par

System Requirements

  • Python Versions: CPython versions 2.7.6+
  • Operating Systems: Debian-derived Linux, including Ubuntu and Goobuntu.


This is not an official Google product, it is just code that happens to be owned by Google.