be Groovie


Ben Bangert is a San Francisco Bay Area programmer, best known for his open-source work creating and contributing to Python libraries such as Pylons, Beaker, and Routes.
He currently works at Mozilla.


Where’s the Capistrano knock-off for us Python web devs?

Rails, and Ruby in general has had Capistrano for awhile now to help with the task of deployment and automating builds for servers, and even clusters of servers. Where is something like this for Python?

Now, before people note that I could easily use Capistrano for my Python project, I should note that it is rather annoying having to install yet another language. On the other hand, given that I will likely only need to install it on my development machine (which running OSX already has Ruby… and gems), it doesn’t seem too horrible to just use Capistrano and be done with it.

However, Capistrano doesn’t quite manage the Python egg’s, and the task isn’t exactly trivial. zc.buildout, which I previously ranted about due to odd docs does the management pretty well. It even results in a rather consistent build experience no matter where it occurs. Two commands, and boom, the app is ready to go.

Unfortunately, life isn’t quite that easy. When something does go wrong with buildout, trying to track it down can be exceptionally hairy. Having a tool so ‘magical’ as I’ve heard some describe it, carries its own penalties when things fail. Buildout also fails to automate the task of deploying the app itself to the other machine, which is still a manual process. It does manage egg’s rather well, though it does some very odd mangling of sys.path to accomplish this in every script.

I don’t need something as full featured as Capistrano, but I’d love to see something that has no more requirements than I’m already depending on (Python), that can handle the task of easily automating deployment of a Python application – including ensuring all the proper versions of the eggs I want are used – on a remote *nix machine. I recall seeing a post (I think by Jeff Rush) awhile back, on a system just like this that he unfortunately never released. Vellum also looks like it could be hacked further to do this task…

Is there some build/deployment tool that is just Python that I’ve missed? Something that will let me setup a script for some commands on how to deploy my app on another server and setup (hopefully in a virtualenv) the webapp so its ready-to-run (and optionally restart it/migrate the db/etc :)?