Josh Barratt's Blog

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Fully Automated Python Package Releases September 4, 2014

I’ve recently been working on a set of internal tools for automating common processes. It’s leveraging some great open source projects (Fabric, Ansible, Docker, Vagrant, and more) but the core functionality is in a python package which we’re deploying to a private PyPi repo. (Not devpi yet, but hopefully soon.)

There are quite a few internal users of our package, so we were finding ourselves needing to do point releases pretty often. Since we were already using fabric, we put a basic version of our release process into a, and it’s grown to the point that a lot of useful things happen when you run fab release.

  • We use bumpversion to figure out the current and next version numbers, configurably updating the right major/minor/point values.
  • It opens your default $EDITOR with an already-added new section in the HISTORY.rst, then commits that edit.
  • The version is bumped and the release is tagged.
  • The software is built
  • The build is shipped to the private PyPI Repo
  • The documentation is built and then shipped
  • Finally, the right channel in our #slack chat room is notified.

All that’s left to do is push all the changes to origin. This is done manually in case anything went horribly wrong; it’s easy to revert the changes to your local repository, much uglier when a mess has gone upstream.

You can view the whole release as a gist. This feels like the kind of thing that could be (and probably has been) abstracted and generalized, but this works for now.

There’s nothing too complicated in the file, but there are some nice tricks. One of the most fun capabilities is the Slack integration, which we recently did. All credit to slack, it was incredibly easy.

def notify_slack(version=None):
    """ Notify the slack channel of a new release """

    # hardcoded URI from the slack integration panel
    url = (""

    payload = {
        'username': 'ourpackage-fabfile',
        'icon_emoji': ':shipit:',
        'text': 'Deployed version {} of ourpackage-python'.format(version)}, data=json.dumps(payload))

Automating the release process has made it take seconds and, more importantly, work identically every time. It’s well worth doing. (I just can’t shake the feeling that there’s a more generic way to do it.)

Update: I was pointed to zest.releaser which has the same basic features, minus the slack integration. You can also use it with gocept.zestreleaser.customupload to enable the scp uploading we’re doing here via fabric.