Eggs: releasing procedure and continuous integration

Disclaimer: this post is Subversion-centric

When releasing a setuptools based-package to the world, developers will eventually tag it as a stable version, then upload it to PyPI or to their own website. So typically they create a branch out of the trunk, fix the version, then create a tag for the release.

Now for continuous development releases, where people get for example a daily snapshot from the trunk, having a dev suffix to the egg version makes it possible to distinguish it from a stable release, so 'my.package-2.4dev' will not superseed 'my.package-2.4'. So a given package will need a dev prefix in its trunk, that gets removed in the branch where the next release occurs.

From there, easy_install will be able to distinguish them.

The question is: how should we do this ?

The Zope 3 way

The Zope 3 egg collection has a simple way to manage it, describe here: [*checkout*/Sandbox/philikon/foundation/releasing-software.txt][]. The packages have a dev tag suffix in the version metadata, that is removed in the subversion branch used to tag and release

This is simple and straight forward. Although, releasing the trunk has to be done manually. The problem is that any release of the trunk will have the same name for a given version (my.package-2.4dev) , and in some case people won't upgrade their environment because the archive keeps the same name.

The setuptools way

Setuptools comes with a continuous integration feature that allows people to push the dev tag in setup.cfg. Then it adds it automatically to the archive name when it is generated.

see: [][]

Building a release will then consist of using the same process than Zope 3 one, except that the tag is removed from the setup.cfg file this time.

Now if you try to release the trunk using disutils sdist or bdist_egg command you will automatically get a dev suffix and the Subversion revision number sticked to it. This means that each new revision can generate a new version that will have a distinct name:
- my.package-2.4dev-r1245 - my.package-2.4dev-r1246 - ...

easy_install will grab the latest trunk revision when "my.package-2.4dev" is required, and handle upgrades the right way. This is better that a manual dev tag because when you re-release a new version of the trunk, it will superseeds and therefore upgrades previous revisions.

Another nice feature is to be able to provide to easy_install a subversion link directly, as long as you append the egg full name to the link:
easy_install http://my.svn/my.package/trunk#egg=my.package-dev


The problem with setup.cfg is that if you forget to remove the dev tag from it when releasing a stable version (you bad boy), you will get the dev-r4565 suffix in the egg name.

collective.releaser takes care of this with a new setuptools command called release, by creating a release branch and removing the dev tag automatically. It upgrades the CHANGES.txt file and version.txt for Plone products.

It also registers and uploads the package to any PyPI-like server. To decide where the package should be sent, it looks at the release-packages variable into the .pypirc, to see if the package name matches it. To release all packages to PyPI a default file would be:

index-servers =





# regular expression-based variable

release-packages =


From there, making a release is as simple as:
$ python2.4 release

running release

This package is version 0.1.1

Do you want to run tests before releasing ? [y/N]: n

Do you want to create the release ? If no, you will just be able to deploy again the current release [y/N]: y

Enter a version [0.1.1]: 0.1.2

Commiting changes...

Creating branches...


Running "mregister sdist bdist_egg mupload -r pypi"

running mregister

Using PyPI login from /home/tarek/.pypirc

Registering iw.resourcetraverser to


running mupload

Using PyPI login from /home/tarek/.pypirc

Submitting dist/iw.resourcetraverser-0.1.2.tar.gz to

Submitting dist/iw.resourcetraverser-0.1.2-py2.4.egg to


0.1.2 released

As described on its PyPI page, it has a plugin system to perform extra steps when a release is made. For instance, it is provided with a mail hook to be able to send mails everytime a release is made.

The tool is pretty new and needs to be smoothed up. For instance, we need to add a few extra controls like making sure long_description is reST-valid. But It works, and is being used by a few fellows in the Plone community already :).

Last, for continuous releases from the trunk, you can set up an alias:

$ python alias devrelease mregister sdist mupload

You will then be able to upload trunk releases with a single call:
$ python devrelease

The idea is to provide it as the standard tool to release add-on Products when will be upgraded and able to interact with distutils commands. I will promote it through the work I am doing for the PSPS task I am championning (Improve release procedures for add-on products), but it has to live a bit.

Help and opinions welcome !