Dependency Hell

  1. Breaking changes in a minor release

If a user uses version pinning, then required dependencies requiring a different version will break.


So we use narrow ranges (downside is package gets outdated):


A broad range means too many versions to support:


Use Semantic Versioning

  • Major - Breaking / incompatible API change (reset other digits)
  • Minor - Add functionality in a backwards compatible way. Bump minor version and reset patch.
  • Patch - Security or bug fix that doesn’t break the API

Avoid API Churn

You don’t want to force user’s of your API to change the way they use it

  • Removing an API
  • Renaming an API
  • Changing the parmameters of an API

Setting your Requirements correctly

Ensure your install_requires uses a range and does not pin versions.

Eg. six>=1.11 is better than six==1.11.*

If six uses semver, you could have done six>1.11,<2

Test supported versions

Test your library with every supported python version and with earliest versions of all packages you depend on.

By default pip installs the latest versions of your dependencies


apache-beam: httplib2>=0.8,<=0.11.3
google-api-python-client: httplib2>=0.9.2, <1


pip install apache-beam google-api-python-client

In this case the installation is successful and version that is installed is the upper bound of the overlapping range. It will install 0.11.3


pip install google-api-python-client apache-beam

Gives an error about incompatibilities

Pip resolves dependencies on a first come first serve basis

The order your dependencies are installed if you use requirements.txt are arbitrary


Help your users:

  • Use semantic versioning
  • Avoid API churn
  • Support as large a version range as possible
  • Support the latest version of your dependencies