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Black Magic Of Python Wheels

Notes on the talk about the Black Magic of Python Wheels#

Brief History#


  • Organically adopted - no guiding PEP (Python enhancement proposal)
  • No standard for shipping packages to users
  • Designed to be directly importable (contain some or exclusively .pyc files) - which may not be compatible with your python version

The Wheel#

Wheels are the new standard of Python distribution and are intended to replace eggs.

A wheel is an already built distribution. Instead of a source distribution - that builds when teh user does a pip install ...

  • Directed by PEP 427, 376 and 426.
  • More portable, cannot contain .pyc files

3 types of wheels:

  • Pure wheels - just python code, can target a specific version of python.
  • universal wheels - python 2 and 3 compatible
  • extension wheels - contains a python extension

For pure and universal wheels you run these commands:

pip install wheel
python bdist_wheel

Python Extensions and the Right of Passage#

You install a requirements.txt and you need crytography so you can use ssl/tls.

pip install cryptography

And the installation fails with gcc xxxx and you are missing #include <Python.h>

So you check on stackoverflow and it says you need to apt install python-dev

It turns out you are missing ffi.h as well: apt install libffi-dev

Now you need openssl as well: apt install libssl-dev

Finally the orginal command works

An Extension Wheel contains the Binaries required#

It contains all the packages and takes much less time

  • Conda tried to fix these issues but was also not adopted by a PEP
  • Conda can package anything and is not supported by PyPI
  • Conda packages are not compatible with non-conda environments

What is a Python Native Extension#

Native - specifically for my OS, CPU type and python version Extension - extends python functionality with non-python code

cryptography is a python native extension

  • Includes a bit of c and c dependencies
  • declares is uses cffi C foreign function interfaces

Now we have to manage C code....oh no

C is a compiled language#

You invoke the gcc the GNU C Compiler