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A built-package format for Python.

Project description


A built-package format for Python.

A wheel is a ZIP-format archive with a specially formatted filename and the .whl extension. It is designed to contain all the files for a PEP 376 compatible install in a way that is very close to the on-disk format. Many packages will be properly installed with only the “Unpack” step (simply extracting the file onto sys.path), and the unpacked archive preserves enough information to “Spread” (copy data and scripts to their final locations) at any later time.

The wheel project provides a bdist_wheel command for setuptools (requires setuptools >= 0.8.0). Wheel files can be installed with a newer pip from or with wheel’s own command line utility.

The wheel documentation is at The file format is documented in PEP 427 (

The reference implementation is at

Why not egg?

Python’s egg format predates the packaging related standards we have today, the most important being PEP 376 “Database of Installed Python Distributions” which specifies the .dist-info directory (instead of .egg-info) and PEP 426 “Metadata for Python Software Packages 2.0” which specifies how to express dependencies (instead of requires.txt in .egg-info).

Wheel implements these things. It also provides a richer file naming convention that communicates the Python implementation and ABI as well as simply the language version used in a particular package.

Unlike .egg, wheel will be a fully-documented standard at the binary level that is truly easy to install even if you do not want to use the reference implementation.

Code of Conduct

Everyone interacting in the wheel project’s codebases, issue trackers, chat rooms, and mailing lists is expected to follow the PyPA Code of Conduct.


  • Added py-limited-api {cp32|cp33|cp34|…} flag to produce cpNN.abi3.{arch} tags on CPython 3.

  • Documented the license_file metadata key

  • Improved Python, abi tagging for wheel convert. Thanks Ales Erjavec.

  • Fixed > being prepended to lines starting with “From” in the long description

  • Added support for specifying a build number (as per PEP 427). Thanks Ian Cordasco.

  • Made the order of files in generated ZIP files deterministic. Thanks Matthias Bach.

  • Made the order of requirements in metadata deterministic. Thanks Chris Lamb.

  • Fixed wheel install clobbering existing files

  • Improved the error message when trying to verify an unsigned wheel file

  • Removed support for Python 2.6, 3.2 and 3.3.


  • Fix compression type of files in archive (Issue #155, Pull Request #62, thanks Xavier Fernandez)


  • Fix file modes in archive (Issue #154)


  • Support forcing a platform tag using –plat-name on pure-Python wheels, as well as nonstandard platform tags on non-pure wheels (Pull Request #60, Issue #144, thanks Andrés Díaz)

  • Add SOABI tags to platform-specific wheels built for Python 2.X (Pull Request #55, Issue #63, Issue #101)

  • Support reproducible wheel files, wheels that can be rebuilt and will hash to the same values as previous builds (Pull Request #52, Issue #143, thanks Barry Warsaw)

  • Support for changes in keyring >= 8.0 (Pull Request #61, thanks Jason R. Coombs)

  • Use the file context manager when checking if dependency_links.txt is empty, fixes problems building wheels under PyPy on Windows (Issue #150, thanks Cosimo Lupo)

  • Don’t attempt to (recursively) create a build directory ending with .. (invalid on all platforms, but code was only executed on Windows) (Issue #91)

  • Added the PyPA Code of Conduct (Pull Request #56)


  • Fix multiple entrypoint comparison failure on Python 3 (Issue #148)


  • Add Python 3.5 to tox configuration

  • Deterministic (sorted) metadata

  • Fix tagging for Python 3.5 compatibility

  • Support py2-none-‘arch’ and py3-none-‘arch’ tags

  • Treat data-only wheels as pure

  • Write to temporary file and rename when using wheel install –force


  • The python tag used for pure-python packages is now .pyN (major version only). This change actually occurred in 0.23.0 when the –python-tag option was added, but was not explicitly mentioned in the changelog then.

  • wininst2wheel and egg2wheel removed. Use “wheel convert [archive]” instead.

  • Wheel now supports setuptools style conditional requirements via the extras_require={} syntax. Separate ‘extra’ names from conditions using the : character. Wheel’s own does this. (The empty-string extra is the same as install_requires.) These conditional requirements should work the same whether the package is installed by wheel or by


  • Compatibility tag flags added to the bdist_wheel command

  • sdist should include files necessary for tests

  • ‘wheel convert’ can now also convert unpacked eggs to wheel

  • Rename pydist.json to metadata.json to avoid stepping on the PEP

  • The –skip-scripts option has been removed, and not generating scripts is now the default. The option was a temporary approach until installers could generate scripts themselves. That is now the case with pip 1.5 and later. Note that using pip 1.4 to install a wheel without scripts will leave the installation without entry-point wrappers. The “wheel install-scripts” command can be used to generate the scripts in such cases.

  • Thank you contributors


  • Include entry_points.txt, scripts a.k.a. commands, in experimental pydist.json

  • Improved test_requires parsing

  • Python 2.6 fixes, “wheel version” command courtesy pombredanne


  • Pregenerated scripts are the default again.

  • “ bdist_wheel –skip-scripts” turns them off.

  • setuptools is no longer a listed requirement for the ‘wheel’ package. It is of course still required in order for bdist_wheel to work.

  • “python -m wheel” avoids importing pkg_resources until it’s necessary.


  • No longer include console_scripts in wheels. Ordinary scripts (shell files, standalone Python files) are included as usual.

  • Include new command “python -m wheel install-scripts [distribution [distribution …]]” to install the console_scripts (setuptools-style scripts using pkg_resources) for a distribution.


  • pymeta.json becomes pydist.json


  • Python 3 Unicode improvements


  • Support latest PEP-426 “pymeta.json” (json-format metadata)


  • Python 2.6 compatibility bugfix (thanks John McFarlane)

  • Non-prerelease version number


  • Bugfix for C-extension tags for CPython 3.3 (using SOABI)


  • Bugfix for bdist_wininst converter “wheel convert”

  • Bugfix for dists where “is pure” is None instead of True or False


  • Update for version 1.0 of Wheel (PEP accepted).

  • Python 3 fix for moving Unicode Description to metadata body

  • Include rudimentary API documentation in Sphinx (thanks Kevin Horn)


  • Various improvements


  • Changed the signature format to better comply with the current JWS spec. Breaks all existing signatures.

  • Include wheel unsign command to remove RECORD.jws from an archive.

  • Put the description in the newly allowed payload section of PKG-INFO (METADATA) files.


  • Use distutils instead of sysconfig to get installation paths; can install headers.

  • Improve WheelFile() sort.

  • Allow bootstrap installs without any pkg_resources.


  • Unit test for wheel.tool.install


  • API cleanup


  • Scripts fixer fix


  • Fix keygen


  • Preserve attributes on install.


  • Include a copy of pkg_resources. Wheel can now install into a virtualenv that does not have distribute (though most packages still require pkg_resources to actually work; wheel install distribute)

  • Define a new setup.cfg section [wheel]. universal=1 will apply the py2.py3-none-any tag for pure python wheels.


  • Only import dirspec when needed. dirspec is only needed to find the configuration for keygen/signing operations.


  • requires-dist from setup.cfg overwrites any requirements from Care must be taken that the requirements are the same in both cases, or just always install from wheel.

  • drop dirspec requirement on win32

  • improved command line utility, adds ‘wheel convert [egg or wininst]’ to convert legacy binary formats to wheel


  • Wheel’s own wheel file can be executed by Python, and can install itself: python wheel-0.9.5-py27-none-any/wheel install ...

  • Use argparse; basic wheel install command should run with only stdlib dependencies.

  • Allow requires_dist in setup.cfg’s [metadata] section. In addition to dependencies in, but will only be interpreted when installing from wheel, not from sdist. Can be qualified with environment markers.


  • Fix wheel.signatures in sdist


  • Integrated digital signatures support without C extensions.

  • Integrated “wheel install” command (single package, no dependency resolution) including compatibility check.

  • Support Python 3.3

  • Use Metadata 1.3 (PEP 426)


  • Automatic signing if WHEEL_TOOL points to the wheel binary

  • Even more Python 3 fixes


  • ‘wheel sign’ uses the keys generated by ‘wheel keygen’ (instead of generating a new key at random each time)

  • Python 2/3 encoding/decoding fixes

  • Run tests on Python 2.6 (without signature verification)


  • Updated digital signatures scheme

  • Python 3 support for digital signatures

  • Always verify RECORD hashes on extract

  • “wheel” command line tool to sign, verify, unpack wheel files


  • none/any draft pep tags update

  • improved wininst2wheel script

  • doc changes and other improvements


  • sort .dist-info at end of wheel archive

  • Windows & Python 3 fixes from Paul Moore

  • pep8

  • scripts to convert wininst & egg to wheel


  • require distribute >= 0.6.28

  • stop using verlib


  • working pretty well


  • hyphenated name fix


  • improve test coverage

  • improve Windows compatibility

  • include tox.ini courtesy of Marc Abramowitz

  • draft hmac sha-256 signing function


  • prototype egg2wheel conversion script


  • Python 3 compatibility


  • Initial version

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