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Python package to find the version of another package/distribution, whether installed via pip, setuptools or git


versionfinder is a library intended to identify the version/source details of a specified Python distribution (usually the one calling it), whether it was installed via pip, setuptools or git. This is intended to allow packages to determine what version they are, beyond what is simply coded in the package:

  • For packages installed via pip, return the exact requirement that was installed, even if it was a source control URL (editable or not).
  • For packages installed via setuptools, return the installed version.
  • For packages that are a git clone, return the URL, commit, tag, and whether the repository is dirty (modified) or not.

This is mainly intended for projects that need to display their version information to users (i.e. for use in filing bug reports or support requests) and wish to be as specific as possible, including whether the package was installed from a fork, a specific tag or commit from a git repo, or has local changes not committed to git.


  • Python 3.5+


Versionfinder is primarily intended to return information about the package/ distribution it is called from. As some operations can be quite a bit more time consuming than simply reading a pkg_resources or pip distribution version, it’s recommended that Versionfinder be run once during the startup or initialization of your application/process, and the result stored for later use.

The simplest example is finding the version information for whatever package/distribution contains the calling module. In, a module within the “mypackage” package/distribution:

import logging
from versionfinder import find_version

# If you are using the python logging module, you'll likely want to
# suppress logging from versionfinder itself, as well as the DEBUG-level
# logging from ``pip`` and ``git``, which are called by versionfinder.
for lname in ['versionfinder', 'pip', 'git']:
    l = logging.getLogger(lname)
    l.propagate = True

class MyClass(object):

    def __init__(self):
        self._versioninfo = find_version('mypackage')

    def versioninfo(self):
        return self._versioninfo

The _versioninfo attribute of the class will be set to the VersionInfo object returned by find_version(). We can inspect some of that object’s properties, which are documented in the API docs.

>>> from mypackage.mymodule import MyClass
>>> c = MyClass()
>>> v = c.versioninfo
>>> v
VersionInfo(git_commit=123456ab, git_is_dirty=True, git_remotes={'origin': ''}, git_tag=v1.2.3, pip_requirement=git+, pip_url=, pip_version=1.2.3, pkg_resources_url=, pkg_resources_version=1.2.3)
>>> v.pip_version
>>> v.pkg_resources_version
>>> v.version
>>> v.pip_url
>>> v.pkg_resources_url
>>> v.url
>>> v.pip_requirement
>>> v.git_remotes
{'origin': ''}
>>> v.git_remote
>>> v.git_commit
>>> v.git_tag
>>> v.git_is_dirty
>>> v.git_str
>>> v.short_str
'1.2.3 <>'
>>> v.long_str
'1.2.3 <> (git+*)'

Bugs and Feature Requests

Bug reports and feature requests are happily accepted via the GitHub Issue Tracker. Pull requests are welcome. Issues that don’t have an accompanying pull request will be worked on as my time and priority allows.


To install for development:

  1. Fork the versionfinder repository on GitHub
  2. Create a new branch off of master in your fork.
$ virtualenv versionfinder
$ cd versionfinder && source bin/activate
$ pip install -e
$ cd src/versionfinder

The git clone you’re now in will probably be checked out to a specific commit, so you may want to git checkout BRANCHNAME.


  • pep8 compliant with some exceptions (see pytest.ini)
  • 100% test coverage with pytest (with valid tests)


Testing is done via pytest, driven by tox.

  • testing is as simple as:
    • pip install tox
    • tox
  • If you want to pass additional arguments to pytest, add them to the tox command line after “–”. i.e., for verbose pytext output on py27 tests: tox -e py27 -- -v

Acceptance Tests

Versionfinder has a suite of acceptance tests that create virtualenvs, install a test package (versionfinder-test-pkg) in them, and then call versionfinder.find_version() from multiple locations in the package, printing a JSON-serialized dict of the results of each call (and an exception, if one was caught). For further information on the acceptance tests, see versionfinder/tests/

Currently-tested scenarios are:

  • Pip
    • Install from local git clone
    • Install editable from local git clone
    • Install editable from local git clone then change a file (dirty)
    • Install editable from local git clone then commit and tag
    • Install editable from local git clone checked out to a tag
    • Install editable from local git clone checked out to a commit
    • Install editable from local git clone with multiple remotes
    • Install from sdist
    • Install from sdist with pip 1.5.4
    • Install from wheel
    • Install from git URL
    • Install from git fork URL
    • Install from git URL with commit
    • Install from git URL with tag
    • Install from git URL with branch
    • Install editable from git URL
    • Install editable from git fork URL
    • Install editable from git URL with multiple remotes
    • Install editable from git URL and then change a file in the clone (dirty)
    • Install editable from git URL with commit
    • Install editable from git URL with tag
    • Install editable from git URL with branch
    • Install sdist in a venv that’s also a git repo
    • Install wheel in a venv that’s also a git repo
  • setuptools /
    • develop
    • install
  • easy_install
    • Install from sdist
    • Install from egg
    • Install from source directory
    • Install from sdist in a venv that’s also a git repo
    • Install from egg in a venv that’s also a git repo
    • Install from source directory in a venv that’s also a git repo

Release Checklist

  1. Open an issue for the release; cut a branch off master for that issue.
  2. Confirm that there are CHANGES.rst entries for all major changes.
  3. Ensure that Travis tests passing in all environments.
  4. Ensure that test coverage is no less than the last release (ideally, 100%).
  5. Increment the version number in versionfinder/ and add version and release date to CHANGES.rst, then push to GitHub.
  6. Confirm that README.rst renders correctly on GitHub.
  7. Upload package to testpypi:
  8. Create a pull request for the release to be merged into master. Upon successful Travis build, merge it.
  9. Tag the release in Git, push tag to GitHub:
    • tag the release. for now the message is quite simple: git tag -a X.Y.Z -m 'X.Y.Z released YYYY-MM-DD'
    • push the tag to GitHub: git push origin X.Y.Z
  1. Upload package to live pypi:
    • twine upload dist/*
  1. make sure any GH issues fixed in the release were closed.

License and Disclaimer

This software is licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) 3.0.

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