Building a Python Package: First Steps (2)

by Jarrett Retz January 7th, 2021
python programming building a python package

Since we are looking to eventually publish the package on, I decided to start looking for a guide on publishing on the site.

I quickly came across an FAQ page that had links to a packaging tutorial on the Python Packaging User Guide.

Following the link, I ended up on a subdomain of This looks like the right place!

Installing Python

First, let's make sure that we have the latest version of Python installed.

Go to and click on the Download Python 3.9.x. This may automatically detect the proper OS for your download.

Open the .pkg file and work through the installer. I am using a Mac so your installation process may be slightly different.

Next, after the installation is complete, open up a new terminal or command prompt.

Run the command python3.

Python's interactive command shell should open and the latest Python version should appear in the first line.

Update & Install Needed Packages

We need to run a quick command that is important for packages that are used when building and packaging our package.

python3 -m pip install --upgrade pip setuptools wheel

Next, we need to install pipenv.

pipenv is a package that let's us track the dependencies of our package. It allows use to create a virtual environment.

You can read more about pipenv on the Managing Application Dependencies tutorial page.

To install pipenv, run the command pip3 install --user pipenv.

Create Project Folder

Create a new folder for our project. I'm going to name mine bea. I think I'm going to create a package for the Bureau of Economic Analysis API. There are a couple out there, but I'm not particularly fond of them.

Open up your text editor or IDE. I am using Visual Studio Code.

Inside the main project folder, create files with names:


Next, create two folders:

  • bea
  • tests

The folder structure will look like the below tree.

├── bea/
└── tests/

Many of these files won't be used till later.

The final file we are going to create in this project setup is an file inside of the nested bea directory.

├── bea
│   └──
└── tests

That's it for this section. We are now in a comfortable position to start developing the package.

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