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Packaging - Wheel vs Egg

Wheel and Egg are both packaging formats that aim to install artifacts without building or compilation

  • The Egg format was introduced by setuptools in 2004
  • The Wheel format was introduced by PEP 427 in 2012.


  • Python eggs are an older distribution format for Python
  • An egg file is basically a zip file with a different extension. Python can import directly from an egg.
  • The setuptools package is required


Wheel is the standard.


  • Has an official PEP
  • is a distribution package: A versioned archive file that contains Python packages, modules, and other resource files that are used to distribute a Release. Egg was a distribution and a runtime instllation format (if left zipped)
  • does not include .pyc files - if there is no compiled extensions the package can be universal
  • Uses a PEP 376 compliant .dist-info folder (egg uses .egg-info)
  • Has a richer file naming convention to indicate compatiblity with language versions, ABIs (Application Binary Interface) and system architectures
  • is versioned
  • organised by sysconfig path type - so it is easier to convert to other formats

With a .egg: The code is unzipped at runtime and cannot be inspected with an IDE