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A Python packer to run anywhwere any project with any virtualenv dependencies.

Project description


A simple but powerful Python packer to run any project with any virtualenv dependencies anywhwere.

With PyEmpaq you can convert any Python project (see limitations below) into a single .pyz file with all the project's content packed inside.

Packing is super simple, see this demo:


That single file is everything that needs to be distributed. When the final user executes it, the original project will be expanded, its dependencies installed in a virtualenv, and then executed. Note that no special permissions or privileges are required, as everything happens in the user environment.

See that in action:


Both the packaging and the execution are fully multiplatorm. This means that you can pack a project in Linux, Windows, Mac or whatever, and it will run ok in Linux, Windows, Mac or whatever.

You can try yourself some packed with PyEmpaq examples, very easy, just download any of these files and run it with Python:


You can install pyempaq directly from PyPI; see instructions below.

PyEmpaq is security friendly, there is nothing obscure or secretly shipped when you distribute your project with it: anybody can just open the pyz file (it's just a ZIP) and inspect it.


There are some limitations:

  • Only Python >= 3.7 is supported

  • Only Linux, Windows and Mac is supported

  • Only pip-installable dependencies are supported (from PyPI or whatever).

  • Only dependencies that are pure Python or provide wheels are supported.

All this means that the most majority of the projects could be packed and run by PyEmpaq. If you have any ideas on how to overcome any of these limitations, let's talk!

How does this work?

There are two phases: packing and execution.

The packing phase is executed by the project developer, only once, before distribution. It's a simple step where the developer runs PyEmpaq indicating all needed info, and PyEmpaq will produce a single <projectname>.pyz file. That's all, and that only file is what is needed for distribution.

In this packing phase, PyEmpaq builds the indicated packed file, putting inside:

  • the payload project, with all the indicated modules and binary files (currently everything from the project, but this will be improved in the future)

  • an unpacker script from PyEmpaq, which will be run during the execution phase

  • few more stuff: some needed infrastructure details for the .pyz to run correctly

After packing, the developer will distribute the packed file, final users will download/receive/get it, and execute it.

In the execution phase all that needs to be done by the final user is to run it using Python, which can be done from the command line (e.g. python3 supergame.pyz) or by doing double click from the file explorer in those systems that relate the .pyz extension to Python (e.g. Windows).

In this execution phase, the unpacker script put by PyEmpaq inside the packed file will be run, running the following steps:

  • check if the needed setup exists from a previous run; if yes, it will just run the payload project with almost no extra work; otherwise...

  • create a directory in the user data dir, and expand the .pyz file there

  • create a virtualenv in that new directory, and install all the payload's project dependencies

  • run the payload's project inside that virtualenv

The verification that the unpacker does to see if has a reusable setup from the past is based on the .pyz timestamp; if it changed (a new file was distributed), a new setup will be created and used.

Command line options

There is one mandatory parameter:

  • source: it needs to point the configuration file or to the directory where the configuration will be located (it will be searched by its default name pyempaq.yaml).


  • pyempaq .

  • pyempaq /data/project/

  • pyempaq ~/repo/proj/config.yaml

Note: in the future we will be able to control verbosity, we're not there yet.

The configuration file

All the information that PyEmpaq needs to pack a project comes from a configuration file, which the developer would normally have in the project itself.

The following is the structure of the pyempaq.yaml configuration file:

  • name [mandatory]: the name of the project.

  • basedir [optional, defaults to where the configuration file is located]: the project's base directory.

  • exec [mandatory]: the section where is defined the information to execute the project once unpacked; it holds different subkeys (some subkeys are marked with †: ONE of those keys must be present, but only ONE):

    • script [†]: the filepath of the python script to run; when unpacking PyEmpaq will do python3 SCRIPT.

    • module [†]: the name of the module to invoke; when unpacking PyEmpaq will do python3 -m MODULE.

    • entrypoint [†]: freeform, as a list of strings; when unpacking PyEmpaq will only insert the proper python3 at the beginning: python3 STR1 STR2 ....

    • default-args [optional]: the default arguments to be passed to the script/module/entrypoint (if not overriden when the distributed .pyz is executed); note that this option is not available yet.

  • requirements: a list of filepaths pointing to the requirement files with pip-installable dependencies.

  • dependencies: a list of strings to directly specify packages to be installed by pip without needing to have a requirement file.

All specified filepaths must exist inside the project and must be relative (to the project's base directory), with the exception of basedir itself which can be absolute or relative (to the configuration file location).

The following are examples of different configuration files (which were the ones used to build the packed examples mentioned before):

How to install PyEmpaq

Directly from PyPI:

pip install --user --upgrade --ignore-installed pyempaq

If you have fades you don't even need to install pyempaq, just run it:

fades -d pyempaq -x pyempaq

In the future there will be more ways to install it. Please open an issue if you desire an installation method (extra points if you specify how), thanks!

Try packing an example project

PyEmpaq sources come with a small example project if you want to play a little packing it. Just a couple of dir/files under examples/srcproject:

  • a src and media, with stuff to be imported and accessed.

  • a pyempaq.yaml with the configuration for PyEmpaq.

  • a file which is the project's entrypoint; all it does is to inform it started, import the internal module, access the media files, and use the declared dependency, reporting every step.

This explores most of the needs of any project. You can try this example, and surely after you will be ready to actually pack any other project you want.

So, let's pack the example source project. As you're working with the PyEmpaq project itself (as you're packing its example), you don't really need to have it installed yet. In that case, if you have fades installed is super easy:

fades -r requirements.txt -m pyempaq examples/srcproject/

Otherwise, you would need to create and use a virtual environment:

python3 -m venv env
source env/bin/activate
pip install -r requirements
python3 -m pyempaq examples/srcproject/

After running that command, you will see a pyempaq-example.pyz file. That is the whole project encoded in a single file.

At this point you may move that pyempaq-example.pyz to another directory, or to another machine, even that other machine having another operating system.

Then, try it:

python3 pyempaq-example.pyz

You should see the project's reportings that we mentioned above (note: these lines will be surrounded by debug ones that will be hidden by default in the future):

Hello world
Code access ok .../pyempaq/projectname-20210722013526/orig/src/
Media access ok
Module requests imported .../pyempaq/projectname-20210722013526/venv/lib/python3.8/site-packages/requests/

This shows that what you've run actually started, accessed the internal modules and other files, and imported correctly a custom-installed dependency.

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