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Repackaging, call a non-registered package in any directory (with relative call). Used either by modules moved into to a subdirectory or to prepare the import of a non-registered package (in any relative path).

Project description

Package: Repackage
==================

Laurent Franceschetti March/June 2013 - 2018 MIT License.

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- [Purpose](#purpose)
- [Install](#install)
- [The problem](#the-problem)
- [The solution](#the-solution)
- [Usage](#usage)
- [Importing a module using the system PATH](#importing-a-module-using-the-system-path)
- [Limitations](#limitations)

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Purpose
-------

This module allows any Python program to call a non-registered package
in a reliable way. With this module, you may call "non-official"
repositories, including with relative paths.

> **CAUTION:** *This form is an alternative to system of relative paths
for python imports ([PEP
328](<https://www.python.org/dev/peps/pep-0328/#rationale-for-relative-imports>)). It allows additional flexibility, at the cost of breaking some
assumptions.*

Install
-------

If you are using pip: :

pip install repackage

Otherwise, download the package and type:

```bash
python setup.py install
```

The problem
-----------

In Python, registered packages are called by name in import
instructions, and lower directories may be treated for all purposes as
packages.

Two practical problems arise: a) How to easily call unregistered
packages which have been dumped in an adjacent directory? b) How to
easily move python files into a sub-directory without messing up the
import statements?

There are complicated issues with relative imports (see PEP366). The
basic idea here is to add the source directory of the package to the lib
path (thanks to a call to sys.path.append).

But the probem, is how to programmatically find the source directory,
from a relative path?

Two often advocated methods to determine the path are: a. from current
directory or b. from \_\_FILE\_\_ .

Both those methods have a flaw:
- The first does not take into account the file where the import is
made, hence will fail if the project is using more than one
directory.
- The second does not allow to delegate those operations to a module
that would handle those issues (as \_\_FILE\_\_ is going to point
now to point to the module and not the caller).

The solution
------------

This package uses a simple strategy that is likely to work in a good
range of cases: it inspects the stack to determine which file is the
caller and works out the relative path from there. The only delicate
part consisted in working out how many steps down the stack this is, but
the answer should be invariant and can be computed both by reasoning and
by trial and error (in this case: 3).

Usage
-----

Situation 1) Moving the files into a lower directory. From the module
you want to make the call, just use the following statement before the
imports: :

import repackage
repackage.up()

It should work without changing the imports that were previously
pointing to the upper directory.

If it's two directories up, write: :


repackage.up(2)

Situation 2) Calling a non-registered directory somewhere else (absolute
or relative path): :


repackage.add("../../otherdir")

Clearly, repackage.up() would be equivalent to repackage.add("..") . I
prefer the first because it is more terse and syntactically more robust.

Importing a module using the system PATH
--------------------------
In some cases, it is convenient to install a Python app as a
command in the PATH, usually with a symlink
(e.g. `foo` => `/my/path/foo.py`).
This allows us to execute it, regardless of
where it is installed.

The idea behind Python packages is more or less the same.

> But what if
the module is **not** part of a package? Wouldn't it be intuitive
to exploit the PATH of the OS to import it?

**This is possible.** Supposing `foo`is in the path, as a symlink to
`my/path/foo.py`, then you can write:

```Python
repackage.add_path("foo")
import foo
```

Repackage will follow the symlinks all the way to the destination
and add the proper directory to your libpath. Needless to see, it
would work also if there is no symlink (note that in this case,
the file in your path might be called 'foo.py')

Limitations
-----------

If at some points in the execution, you attempt to add several times the
same directory to the lib path, this should remain without effect (this
is a feature of sys.path.append).

This module has worked reliably for a while, so it is a beta version.
The method seems robust so far, but not all ins and outs have been
explored. One precaution might be to ensure that the repackaging always
points to the same source directory of a package (not to subdirectories
of the same package), so as to avoid possible ambiguities in the lib
path. (If this really turned out to be a problem, this could be checked
on the fly and a warning issued?).

If you find bugs, or even find this approach useless, essentially flawed
or against the Zen of Python, I will be glad to hear about it.
Similarly, if you liked it or have ideas on how to improve it, let me
know.

Project details


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Files for repackage, version 0.7.3
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