Table of contents


In the section you will:

  • Place your module in an installable package.
  • Employ version control.
  • Install and use the package.

For more about packaging, see our packaging guide.

Create a minimal installable Python package

Let’s create a Python package that contains this function.

First, create a new directory for your software package, called example, and move into that:

mkdir example
cd example

You should immediately initialize an empty Git repository in this directory; if you need a refresher on using Git for version control, check out the Software Carpentry lesson Version Control with Git. You should commit changes regularly throughout what follows. This tutorial will not explicitly remind you to commit your work after this point.

git init

Within the package directory example, create subdirectories src (“source”) for the source code.

mkdir src

Create a file at src/ This is what identifies the directory as a “package” to Python. It may remain empty.

touch src/

Place, our code from the previous section, next to it, at src/

The last element your package needs is a pyproject.toml file, placed in the root directory.

touch pyproject.toml

Fill in the minimally required metadata, which includes the package name, version, and some options related to how to install it, which you can copy as is.

# contents of pyproject.toml
requires = ["hatchling"]
build-backend = ""

name = "example"
version = "0.1.0"

The package name given here, example, matches the directory package that contains our project’s code. We have chosen 0.1.0 as the starting version for this package; you’ll see more in a later section about versioning, and how to specify this without manually writing it here.

At this point, your package’s file structure will look like

├── pyproject.toml
├── src
│   └── example
│       ├──
│       └──

Install and use your package

Now that your package has the necessary elements, you can install it into your virtual environment (which should already be active). From the top level of your project’s directory, enter

pip install -e .

The -e flag tells pip to install in editable mode, meaning that you can continue developing your package on your computer as you test it without re-installing it each time.

Then, in a Python shell or Jupyter Notebook, import your package and call the function.

>>> from example.refraction import snell
>>> import numpy as np
>>> snell(np.pi / 4, 1.00, 1.33)

The docstring can be viewed with help().

>>> help(snell)

Or, in Jupyter or Python, use ? as a shortcut.

In [1]: snell?

For more about packaging, also see our packaging guide.