Installing Python Packages from a Git Repo with pip

Installing Python Packages from a Git Repo with pip

Introduction

Python, a versatile and powerful programming language, boasts an extensive ecosystem of packages. These packages can be easily managed and installed using pip, Python's package installer. Sometimes, however, you might need to install a package directly from a Git repository branch. This can be useful when you need to use a specific version of the package, or when you need to use a package that isn't available on PyPI.

In this Byte, we'll explore how to install Python packages from a Git repo branch using pip.

Understanding pip and Git

What is pip?

pip is a package management system that simplifies the process of installing and managing Python software packages. It's a command-line tool that allows you to install, upgrade, and remove Python packages. It's also used to manage dependencies for these packages.

$ pip install numpy

This command installs the numpy package. pip fetches the package from PyPI (Python Package Index), a repository of software for the Python programming language.

What is Git?

Git is a distributed version control system that allows multiple people to work on a project at the same time without overwriting each other's changes. It's used to track changes in source code during software development. Git repositories host the source code of Python packages.

Why Install from a Git Repo Branch?

There are several reasons why you might want to install a Python package from a Git repo branch:

  • Development versions: If you need a feature or a bug fix that is not yet released, you can install the development version of the package from the Git repo.
  • Specific versions: Sometimes, you might need to use a specific version of a package that is not available on PyPI. In such cases, you can install the package from a specific branch or commit.
  • Private packages: If you're working on a private project, you might have packages that are not available on PyPI. You can install these packages directly from the Git repo.

How to Install Python Packages from a Git Repo Branch

Installing a Python package from a Git repo branch is straightforward with pip. Here's the general syntax:

$ pip install git+https://github.com/username/repo.git@branch_name

Let's say you want to install the dev branch of a hypothetical package named mypkg from a repo at https://github.com/myuser/mypkg.git. You would do so like this:

$ pip install git+https://github.com/myuser/mypkg.git@dev

This command tells pip to install the dev branch of the mypkg repo. pip clones the repo, checks out the specified branch, and then installs the package.

Note: If you don't specify a branch, pip installs from the default branch, usually master or main.

If you want to install from a specific commit, you can do so by specifying the commit hash instead of the branch name:

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$ pip install git+https://github.com/myuser/mypkg.git@abc123

In this case, abc123 is the commit hash. This allows you to install a specific version of the package, down to the exact commit.

Installing Python Packages from Git Repo Tags

Sometimes, you may need to install a Python package from a specific tag in a Git repository. This is especially useful when you require access to features or bug fixes that haven't yet made it into a publicly released version. To accomplish this, you can use pip install and specify the repository URL along with the desired tag.

Here's the syntax to install a package from a specific tag:

$ pip install git+https://github.com/username/repository.git@tag-name

In the above command, replace the following placeholders with the actual information:

  • username: Repository owner's username
  • repository: The name of the Git repository you're installing from
  • tag-name: The specific tag you wish to install

Note: If you're interested in installing from a particular commit rather than a tag, make sure to provide the complete SHA-1 hash for the commit.

Installing Python Packages from Private Repos

If the Git repository you want to install from is private, you'll need to provide your Git credentials in the URL. Here's how you can do it:

$ pip install git+https://username:[email protected]/username/repository.git

In this command, replace username with your GitHub username and password with your GitHub password. If you're using two-factor authentication, you'll need to generate and use a personal access token instead of your password.

Wait! Storing your credentials in plain text can be a security risk. Consider using a personal access token and storing it in a secure manner.

Conclusion

In this Byte, we've learned how to install Python packages directly from a Git repository using pip. This can be handy when you need to use a specific version of a package, or when the package is hosted on a private repository. Remember to handle your credentials securely when installing from private repositories.

Last Updated: August 28th, 2023
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