What does it take to create an installable python package that can be hosted on pypi?

What is the minimal python package

This post is somewhat inspired by the bottle framework, which is famously created as a single python module. Yes, a whole web framework is written in one file.

Directory structure

├── setup.py
└── my_pipeline.py


from setuptools import setup

    py_modules=["my_pipeline", ],


The name of the package can contain any letters, numbers, "_", or "-". Even if it's for internal/personal consumption only I usually check for discrepancy with pypi so that you don't run into conflicts.

Note that pypi treats "-" and "_" as the same thing, beware of name clashes


This is the version number of your package. Most packages follow semver. At a high level its three numbers separated by a . that follow the format major.minor.patch. It's a common courtesy to only break APIs on major changes, new releases on minor, and fixes on patch. This can become much more blurry in practice so checkout semver.org.


Typically most packages use the packages argument combined with find_packages, but for this minimal package, we are only creating one .py file.

Using packages instead

from setuptools import setup, find_packages



These are your external dependencies that come from pypi. They go in this list but are often pulled in from a file called requirements.txt. Other developers may look for this file and want to do a pip install -r requirements.txt.


One thing to be careful of here is that everything sits at the top level API, when you users import your module and hit tab they are going to see a lot of stuff unless you hide all of your internal functions behind an _.


Can you create a python package with less than two files and less than 8 lines? Should you? I really like a minimal point to get started from for quick and simple prototypes. You can always pull a more complicated cookiecutter template later if the project is successful.