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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 distribute >= 0.6.28). Wheel files can be installed with a patched pip from

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 345 “Metadata for Python Software Packages 1.2” 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.


  • 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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