janitor Setuptools Extension

Version Downloads Status License

Extends the clean command to remove stuff generated by the development process.

Wait… Why? What??

So setup.py clean is useful for developers of C extensions or anything else that takes advantage of the setup.py build command. Pure Python packages generate their own set of artifacts that clutter up the source tree. This package extends the clean command so that it removes the following artifacts as well:

  • The distribution directory as generated by the sdist and bdist* commands
  • Top-level .egg-info and .egg directories that setup.py creates
  • Local virtual environment directories
  • __pycache__ directories

I come from a C/C++ background where the Makefile usually provide house keeping targets such as clean, dist-clean, and maintainer-clean. This extension is inspired by the same desire for a clean working environment.


The setuptools package contains a number of interesting ways in which it can be extended. The simplest way to use this extension is to install it into the environment and use it. The package extends the clean command by installing a distutils extension:

$ pip install -q 'setupext-janitor'
$ ./setup.py clean --dist --eggs
running clean
removing './my_package.egg-info' (and everything under it)
removing 'dist' (and everything under it)

You can also install the command from within your setup.py using the setup_requires and cmdclass keyword parameters to the setup function call. This is a little more difficult than it should be since the setupext_janitor package needs to be imported into setup.py so that it can be passed as a keyword parameter before it is downloaded. The easiest way to do this is to catch the ImportError that happens if it is not already downloaded:

import setuptools
   from setupext_janitor import janitor
   CleanCommand = janitor.CleanCommand
except ImportError:
   CleanCommand = None

cmd_classes = {}
if CleanCommand is not None:
   cmd_classes['clean'] = CleanCommand

   # normal parameters
      # normal parameters, ie. console_scripts[]
      'distutils.commands': [
         ' clean = setupext_janitor.janitor:CleanCommand']

This approach is not recommended since the install_requires keyword will install setupext_janitor into a target environment when installing your package from a source distribution. Not to mention that amount of gynmastics required to safely use it from within setup.py,


Once the extension is installed, the clean command will accept a few new command line parameters.

setup.py clean --build
Removes directories that various build commands produce.
setup.py clean --dist
Removes directories that the various dist commands produce.
setup.py clean --eggs
Removes .egg and .egg-info directories.
setup.py clean --environment
Removes the currently active virtual environment as indicated by the $VIRTUAL_ENV environment variable. The name of the directory can also be specified using the --virtualenv-dir command line option.
setup.py clean --pycache
Recursively removes directories named __pycache__.
setup.py clean --all
Remove all of by-products. This is the same as using --dist --egg --environment --pycache.