dh-virtualenv is a tool that aims to combine Debian packaging with
self-contained virtualenv based Python deployments.
The idea behind the dh-virtualenv is to be able to combine power of Debian packaging with the sandboxed nature of virtualenvs. In addition to this, using virtualenv enables installing requirements via Python Package Index instead of relying on the operating system provided Python packages. The only limiting factor is that you have to run the same Python interpreter as the operating system.
For complete online documentation, see the documentation online.
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Do you think we are missing an alternative of dh-virtualenv or a related project?
- Presentations, Blogs & Other Resources
- Using dh-virtualenv
- How does it work?
- Running tests
- Building the package in a Docker container
- Building the documentation locally
- Releasing a new version
- Code of conduct
dh-virtualenv is a tool that aims to combine Debian packaging with self-contained virtualenv based Python deployments.
The idea behind dh-virtualenv is to be able to combine the power of Debian packaging with the sandboxed nature of virtualenvs. In addition to this, using virtualenv enables installing requirements via Python Package Index instead of relying on the operating system provided Python packages. The only limiting factor is that you have to run the same Python interpreter as the operating system.
For complete online documentation including installation instructions, see the online documentation.
Presentations, Blogs & Other Resources
Here are a few external resources that can help you to get a more detailed first impression of dh-virtualenv, or advocate its use in your company or project team.
- How We Deploy Python Code – Building, packaging & deploying Python using versioned artifacts in Debian packages at Nylas.
- DevOps Tool Bazaar – Slide deck presented at the DevOps Karlsruhe Meetup in February 2018, regarding Python software deployment for Debian with a practical example.
- The Architecture of Open Source Applications: Python Packaging – This provides a lot of background (and possibly things you didn't know) about the Python side of packaging.
Using dh-virtualenv is fairly straightforward. First, you need to
define the requirements of your package in
requirements.txt file, in
the format defined by pip.
To build a package using dh-virtualenv, you need to add dh-virtualenv
in to your build dependencies and write following
%: dh [email protected] --with python-virtualenv
Note that you might need to provide additional build dependencies too, if your requirements require them.
Also, you are able to define the root path for your source directory using
%: dh [email protected] --with python-virtualenv --sourcedirectory=root/srv/application
NOTE: Be aware that the configuration in debian/rules expects tabs instead of spaces!
Once the package is built, you have a virtualenv contained in a Debian
package and upon installation it gets placed, by default, under
For more information and usage documentation, check the accompanying
documentation in the
doc folder, also available at
Read the Docs.
How does it work?
To do the packaging, dh-virtualenv extends debhelper's sequence by
inserting a new
dh_virtualenv command, which effectively replaces
the following commands in the original sequence:
In the new sequence,
dh_virtualenv is inserted right before
$ nosetests ./test/test_deployment.py
Building the package in a Docker container
dh-virtualenv itself in a Docker container, call
docker build --tag dh-venv-builder ..
This will build the DEB package for Debian stable by default.
--build-arg distro=ubuntu:bionic to build for Ubuntu LTS instead.
The resulting files must be copied out of the build container, using these commands:
mkdir -p dist && docker run --rm dh-venv-builder tar -C /dpkg -c . | tar -C dist -xv
There is also a short-cut for all this, in the form of
invoke bdist_deb [--distro=‹id›:‹codename›].
Building the documentation locally
If you execute the following commands in your clone of the repository,
a virtualenv with all necessary tools is created.
invoke docs then builds the documentation into
command . .env --yes --develop invoke docs
To start a watchdog that auto-rebuilds documentation and reloads the opened browser tab on any change,
invoke docs -w -b (stop the watchdog using the
Releasing a new version
Follow these steps when creating a new release:
- Check version in
- Make sure
- Bump release date in
- Tag the release and
git push --tags.
- Edit release entry on GitHub (add changes).
- Update the Ubuntu PPA.
- Bump to next release version in
- Open new section in
- Open a new section in
doc/changes.rst, so it can be maintained as features are added!
Code of conduct
This project adheres to the Open Code of Conduct. By participating, you are expected to honor this code.
Copyright (c) 2013-2017 Spotify AB
dh-virtualenv is licensed under GPL v2 or later. Full license is
available in the
*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the dh-virtualenv README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.