Python Project Layout Best Practices
This tutorial was built using Python 3.6. It should also be noted that these are opinions and to be taken with a grain of salt.
Structure is an incredibly important aspect of all projects and following a standard structure when it comes to designing your systems plays a huge part in making it more maintainable. By following standards you are essentially easing the job of new programmers coming on to a project as they’ll find it easier to navigate around and become comfortable with your systems.
Not only that but by following the right structure from the outset we prevent ourselves from having to perform costly refactoring further down the road and can potentially ease the transition from hobby side-project into a fully-fledged system.
Structuring your Python Projects
When it comes to structuring your Python projects it makes sense to follow some semblance of structure or you will find yourself soon entangled in the heaps of spaghetti code that becomes a nightmare to work with. I can state as fact that it was my lack of structure that caused me a lot of pain and heartache when it came to writing my University dissertation project and if I knew then what I know now, I may have gotten a marginally better grade for far less work.
Simple Project Structure
For simple Python projects your projects structure you can typically keep most, if not all of your source code contained within the one directory level like so:
mypackage/ - mypackage.py - setup.py - requirements.txt - travis.yml - tests/
This keeps everything succinct and easy to navigate through but bear in mind
that if your project starts to grow substantially then keeping everything in the
mypackage.py file is a bad idea. This is where you’ll typically have to
migrate to a more advanced project structure.
Advanced Project Structure
For more advanced ones however you’ll tend to find it looking something like this:
mypackage/ - mypackage/ - - mypackage.py - - module1/ - - module2/ - - module3/ - tests/ - - mypackage_test.py - bin/ - - script1.sh - lib/ - - lib1 - doc/ - - doc1.md - apidoc/ - requirements.txt - setup.py - runtime.py - travis.yml
The majority of your projects code will fall under the second
directory and will from there be split up into distinct modules.
We split all of our projects tests into a separate
tests/ directory as well as
bin/ directory for any scripts that we want in our project.
Under Construction - This is a placeholder for an article that is currently under construction