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Adds a command to dynamically get the version from the VCS of choice

Project description

Get version from version control instead of hardcoding it into


This package is no longer maintained. It will not evolve along with the Python packaging ecosystem. Specifically, as of November 2021, it will not work with static metadata defined in setup.cfg as opposed to metadata defined in

There is a good alternative: use setuptools-scm instead. This is easy to set up in a setup.cfg, see the PyPA Packaging Python projects tutorial.


Instead of hardcoding the version in like this:


This package allows specifying a VCS command like this:

    version_command='git describe',

…Which will then update the version into some-dist-name.egg-info/version.txt, so that the version can also be found if is being run from an sdist or something.

When it can find the version from either some-dist-name.egg-info/version.txt or the output of the version_command, it will update the version key that is normally used for the version, such as what’s used in the sdist filename and so on.

setup keyword

Instead of specifying the version keyword argument, specify the version_command keyword argument. It can either be a str or a tuple. If it’s a str, it’s interpreted as just the command to execute, for example git describe. If it’s a tuple, it must have two or three elements, and have the form (command, pep440_mode[, post_mode]). pep440_mode can only be specified in the tuple of version_argument, not as separate argument of setup.

A list of possible values for tuples passed to the version_command keyword argument:


Must be "git describe", but could also support other VCS in the future.

pep440_mode = None:

Takes output of command as is, so ignores PEP440. pip and setuptools will throw warnings.

pep440_mode = "pep440-git-local":

Moves number of commits and hash as local identifier:

  • Change 1.2.3 to 1.2.3

  • Change 1.2.3-10-abc1234 to 1.2.3+git-10-abc1234

pep440_mode = "pep440-git-dev":

(Deprecated) Adds rhe number of commits since a git tag as a .dev tag:

  • Change 1.2.3-N-abc1234 to 1.2.3.devN

This is against PEP440-specification and supported only for backwards compatibility. It may be removed in time.

pep440_mode = "pep440-git":

Works with pre-release versions (alpha, beta, rc etc), post-release versions (post, rev, etc) and dev versions.

  • Leave and 1.2.3.dev0 as they are

  • Change to 1.2.3.devN

  • Change 1.2.3a-N-ab1234 to 1.2.3aN

  • Change 1.2.3 to 1.2.3

  • Change 1.2.3-10-abcd123 to 1.2.3.post10, or 1.2.3-rev10, as you prefer

In other words, a tag can be absent, open (implicitly or explicitly 0), or closed (have a number greater than zero). If the last Git tag is an open dev tag, that’s the one that will be used for the revision number. If the last Git tag is an open post-release tag, then that will be used. If the last Git tag is an open pre-release tag, that will be used. In other cases, a post-release tag will be added.

pep440_mode = "pep440-git-full:

Similar to "pep440-git" but includes the commit hash and dirty marker (if present) in the local version portion.

  • Change to 1.2.3.devN+gabc1234

  • Change 1.2.3-dirty to 1.2.3+dirty

  • Change 1.2.3-10-abcd123-dirty to 1.2.3.post10+gabcd123.dirty

The inclusion of the hash in the local identifier helps avoid ambiguity between two versions that are the same number of commits from the latest tag.

The inclusion of the dirty flag (which requires command value to include the --dirty option) ensures that local uncommitted changes are considered newer than the last set of committed changes.


Template for adding post-release tags. Optional separator (dot, dash or underscore), followed by "post", "rev" or "r", followed by another optional separator. Can also be a single dash. Default is ".post".

Given a git describe output of 1.2a3-4-abcd123:

  • ".post" gives 1.2a3.post4

  • ".rev_" gives 1.2a3.rev_4

  • "-" gives 1.2a3-4


To use it, just do this:

pip install setuptools-version-command

With the pip of the global python. (Or use --user.)


To test it, run ./ --version.


Within a checkout of this repo:

virtualenv env
env/bin/pip install --editable .
env/bin/python --version

Make sure that you change the so that it actually makes use of setuptools-version-command.

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