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Command line utility to show dependency tree of packages

Project description

pipdeptree is a command line utility for displaying the installed python packages in form of a dependency tree. It works for packages installed globally on a machine as well as in a virtualenv. Since pip freeze shows all dependencies as a flat list, finding out which are the top level packages and which packages do they depend on requires some effort. It can also be tedious to resolve conflicting dependencies because pip doesn’t yet have true dependency resolution (more on this later). This utility tries to solve this problem.

To some extent, this tool is inspired by lein deps :tree command of Leiningen.


$ pip install pipdeptree

This will install the latest version of pipdeptree which requires at least Python 2.7. Prior to version 0.10.0, Python 2.6 was also supported, so in case you are still stuck with 2.6, please install 0.9.0.

Usage and examples

To give you a brief idea, here is the output of pipdeptree compared with pip freeze:

$ pip freeze

And now see what pipdeptree outputs,

$ pipdeptree
Warning!!! Possible conflicting dependencies found:
* Mako==0.9.1 -> MarkupSafe [required: >=0.9.2, installed: 0.18]
  Jinja2==2.7.2 -> MarkupSafe [installed: 0.18]
  - Flask [installed: 0.10.1]
    - Werkzeug [required: >=0.7, installed: 0.9.4]
    - Jinja2 [required: >=2.4, installed: 2.7.2]
      - MarkupSafe [installed: 0.18]
    - itsdangerous [required: >=0.21, installed: 0.23]
  - SQLAlchemy [required: >=0.7.3, installed: 0.9.1]
  - Mako [installed: 0.9.1]
    - MarkupSafe [required: >=0.9.2, installed: 0.18]

Is it possible to find out why a particular package is installed?

New in ver. 0.5.0

Yes, there’s a –reverse (or simply -r) flag for this. To find out what all packages require paricular package(s), it can be combined with –packages flag as follows:

$ pipdeptree --reverse --packages itsdangerous,gnureadline
  - ipython==2.0.0 [requires: gnureadline]
  - Flask==0.10.1 [requires: itsdangerous>=0.21]
    - Flask-Script==0.6.6 [requires: Flask]

What’s with the warning about conflicting dependencies?

As seen in the above output, pipdeptree by default warns about possible conflicting dependencies. Any package that’s specified as a dependency of multiple packages with a different version is considered as a possible conflicting dependency. This is helpful because pip doesn’t have true dependency resolution yet. The warning is printed to stderr instead of stdout and it can be completely silenced by using the -w silence or --warn silence flag. On the other hand, it can be made mode strict with --warn fail in which case the command will not only print the warnings to stderr but also exit with a non-zero status code. This could be useful if you want to fit this tool into your CI pipeline.

Note The --warn flag was added in version 0.6.0. If you are using an older version, use --nowarn flag.

Warnings about circular dependencies

In case any of the packages have circular dependencies (eg. package A depending upon package B and package B depending upon package A), then pipdeptree will print warnings about that as well.

$ pipdeptree
Warning!!! Cyclic dependencies found:
- CircularDependencyA => CircularDependencyB => CircularDependencyA
- CircularDependencyB => CircularDependencyA => CircularDependencyB

As with the conflicting dependencies warnings, these are printed to stderr and can be controlled using the --warn flag.

Using pipdeptree to write requirements.txt file

If you wish to track only the top level packages in your requirements.txt file, it’s possible to do so using pipdeptree by grep-ing only the top-level lines from the output,

$ pipdeptree | grep -P '^\w+'

There is a problem here though. The output doesn’t mention anything about Lookupy being installed as an editable package (refer to the output of pip freeze above) and information about its source is lost. To fix this, pipdeptree must be run with a -f or --freeze flag.

$ pipdeptree -f --warn silence | grep -P '^[\w0-9\-=.]+'

$ pipdeptree -f --warn silence | grep -P '^[\w0-9\-=.]+' > requirements.txt

The freeze flag will also not output the hyphens for child dependencies, so you could dump the complete output of pipdeptree -f to the requirements.txt file making the file human-friendly (due to indentations) as well as pip-friendly. (Take care of duplicate dependencies though)

Using pipdeptree with external tools

New in ver. 0.5.0

It’s also possible to have pipdeptree output json representation of the dependency tree so that it may be used as input to other external tools.

$ pipdeptree --json

Note that --json will output a flat list of all packages with their immediate dependencies. To obtain nested json, use --json-tree (added in version 0.11.0).

$ pipdeptree --json-tree

The dependency graph can be layed out as any of the formats supported by GraphViz:

$ pipdeptree --graph-output dot >
$ pipdeptree --graph-output pdf > dependencies.pdf
$ pipdeptree --graph-output png > dependencies.png
$ pipdeptree --graph-output svg > dependencies.svg

Note that graphviz is an optional dependency ie. required only if you want to use --graph-output.

Also note that --json, --json-tree and --graph-output options always override --package and --reverse.


usage: [-h] [-v] [-f] [-a] [-l] [-u]
                 [-w [{silence,suppress,fail}]] [-r] [-p PACKAGES] [-j]
                 [--json-tree] [--graph-output OUTPUT_FORMAT]

Dependency tree of the installed python packages

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -v, --version         show program's version number and exit
  -f, --freeze          Print names so as to write freeze files
  -a, --all             list all deps at top level
  -l, --local-only      If in a virtualenv that has global access do not show
                        globally installed packages
  -u, --user-only       Only show installations in the user site dir
  -w [{silence,suppress,fail}], --warn [{silence,suppress,fail}]
                        Warning control. "suppress" will show warnings but
                        return 0 whether or not they are present. "silence"
                        will not show warnings at all and always return 0.
                        "fail" will show warnings and return 1 if any are
                        present. The default is "suppress".
  -r, --reverse         Shows the dependency tree in the reverse fashion ie.
                        the sub-dependencies are listed with the list of
                        packages that need them under them.
  -p PACKAGES, --packages PACKAGES
                        Comma separated list of select packages to show in the
                        output. If set, --all will be ignored.
  -j, --json            Display dependency tree as json. This will yield "raw"
                        output that may be used by external tools. This option
                        overrides all other options.
  --json-tree           Display dependency tree as json which is nested the
                        same way as the plain text output printed by default.
                        This option overrides all other options (except
  --graph-output OUTPUT_FORMAT
                        Print a dependency graph in the specified output
                        format. Available are all formats supported by
                        GraphViz, e.g.: dot, jpeg, pdf, png, svg

Known Issues

  • To work with packages installed inside a virtualenv, pipdeptree also needs to be installed in the same virtualenv even if it’s already installed globally.
  • One thing you might have noticed already is that flask is shown as a dependency of flask-script, which although correct, sounds a bit odd. flask-script is being used here because we are using flask and not the other way around. Same with sqlalchemy and alembic. I haven’t yet thought about a possible solution to this! (May be if libs that are “extensions” could be distinguished from the ones that are “dependencies”. Suggestions are welcome.)

Runnings Tests (for contributors)

Tests can be run against all version of python using tox as follows:

$ make test-tox

This assumes that you have python versions 2.7, 3.3 and 3.4, 3.5, 3.6 installed on your machine. (See more: tox.ini)

Or if you don’t want to install all the versions of python but want to run tests quickly against Python2.7 only:

$ make test

Tests require some virtualenvs to be created, so another assumption is that you have virtualenv installed.

Before pushing the code or sending pull requests it’s recommended to run make test-tox once so that tests are run on all environments.

(See more: Makefile)

Release checklist

  • Make sure that tests pass on TravisCI.
  • Create a commit with following changes and push it to github - Update the __version__ in the file. - Add Changelog in file. - Also update if required.
  • Create an annotated tag on the above commit and push the tag to github
  • Upload new version to PyPI.



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