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Dec 20, 2019

Is Poetry the future of Python?

Python Poetry

Poetry, a dependency management and packaging tool for Python developers, released version 1.0.0, a major milestone for the fast-growing project. With Poetry, developers can easily declare, manage, and install dependencies in Python projects.

It’s a mess. Today, packaging systems and dependency management tools in Python are messy, convoluted, and hard to understand for many developers. From the team behind Poetry:

"Even for seasoned developers it might be cumbersome at times to create all files needed in a Python project: setup.py, requirements.txt, setup.cfg, MANIFEST.in and the newly added Pipfile."

To manage their Python environments, developers are forced to navigate a confusing ecosystem of tools, like pipenv, pyenv, conda, pip-tools, pip, and venv.

What’s different about Poetry: Unlike other Python package management tools, Poetry mimics the simplicity and robustness of packaging tools in other programming languages, like Composer for PHP and Cargo for Rust.

Poetry consolidates everything—from dependency management to packing to publishing—into a single configuration file. That greatly simplifies developer workflows when working with packages.

Poetry also includes a new robust dependency resolver that is better at automatically fixing dependency issues than most existing tools, which often fail to search exhaustively for solutions to dependency errors.

Why this matters: Python adoption is accelerating. A better package management tool can solidify Python’s dominance by dramatically improving developer experience.

For context, in the latest State of the Octoverse, a report that analyzes repositories across GitHub, Python outranked Java for the first time ever to become the second most popular language. Earlier this year, Python reached its highest ever popularity ranking on the TIOBE Index.

Much of that rapid growth is driven by Python’s popularity in machine learning and among novice developers. Both of those groups are drawn to languages and ecosystems that prioritize a superior, yet smooth, developer experience.

By filling a noticeable gap in Python’s ecosystem, Poetry can be instrumental in catalyzing further Python growth.

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