compileall — Byte-compile Source Files

Purpose:Convert source files to byte-compiled version.

The compileall module finds Python source files and compiles them to the byte-code representation, saving the results in .pyc.

Compiling One Directory

compile_dir() is used to recursively scan a directory and byte-compile the files within it.

compileall_compile_dir.py
import compileall
import glob

print('Before:', glob.glob('examples/__pycache__/*'))
print()

compileall.compile_dir('examples')

print('\nAfter:', glob.glob('examples/__pycache__/*'))

By default, all of the subdirectories are scanned to a depth of 10. The output files are written to a __pycache__ directory and named based on the Python interpreter version.

$ python3 compileall_compile_dir.py

Before: []

Listing 'examples'...
Compiling 'examples/a.py'...
Listing 'examples/subdir'...
Compiling 'examples/subdir/b.py'...

After: ['examples/__pycache__/a.cpython-35.pyc']

Ignoring Files

To filter directories out, use the rx argument to provide a regular expression to match the names to exclude.

compileall_exclude_dirs.py
import compileall
import re

compileall.compile_dir(
    'examples',
    rx=re.compile(r'/subdir'),
)

This version excludes files in the subdir subdirectory.

$ python3 compileall_exclude_dirs.py

Listing 'examples'...
Compiling 'examples/a.py'...
Listing 'examples/subdir'...

The maxlevels argument controls the depth of recursion. For example, to avoid recursion entirely pass 0.

compileall_recursion_depth.py
import compileall
import re

compileall.compile_dir(
    'examples',
    maxlevels=0,
)

Only files within the directory passed to compile_dir() are compiled.

$ python3 compileall_recursion_depth.py

Listing 'examples'...
Compiling 'examples/a.py'...

Compiling sys.path

All of the Python source files found in sys.path can be compiled with a single call to compile_path().

compileall_path.py
import compileall
import sys

sys.path[:] = ['examples', 'notthere']
print('sys.path =', sys.path)
compileall.compile_path()

This example replaces the default contents of sys.path to avoid permission errors while running the script, but still illustrates the default behavior. Note that the maxlevels value defaults to 0.

$ python3 compileall_path.py

sys.path = ['examples', 'notthere']
Listing 'examples'...
Compiling 'examples/a.py'...
Listing 'notthere'...
Can't list 'notthere'

Compiling Individual Files

To compile a single file, rather than an entire directory of files, use compile_file().

compileall_compile_file.py
import compileall
import glob

print('Before:', glob.glob('examples/__pycache__/*'))
print()

compileall.compile_file('examples/a.py')

print('\nAfter:', glob.glob('examples/__pycache__/*'))

The first argument should be the name to the file, either a full path or a relative path.

$ python3 compileall_compile_file.py

Before: []

Compiling 'examples/a.py'...

After: ['examples/__pycache__/a.cpython-35.pyc']

From the Command Line

It is also possible to invoke compileall from the command line, so it can be integrated with a build system via a Makefile. For example:

$ python3 -m compileall -h

usage: compileall.py [-h] [-l] [-r RECURSION] [-f] [-q] [-b] [-d
DESTDIR]
                     [-x REGEXP] [-i FILE] [-j WORKERS]
                     [FILE|DIR [FILE|DIR ...]]

Utilities to support installing Python libraries.

positional arguments:
  FILE|DIR              zero or more file and directory names to
compile; if
                        no arguments given, defaults to the
equivalent of -l
                        sys.path

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -l                    don't recurse into subdirectories
  -r RECURSION          control the maximum recursion level. if
`-l` and `-r`
                        options are specified, then `-r` takes
precedence.
  -f                    force rebuild even if timestamps are up
to date
  -q                    output only error messages; -qq will
suppress the
                        error messages as well.
  -b                    use legacy (pre-PEP3147) compiled file
locations
  -d DESTDIR            directory to prepend to file paths for
use in compile-
                        time tracebacks and in runtime
tracebacks in cases
                        where the source file is unavailable
  -x REGEXP             skip files matching the regular
expression; the regexp
                        is searched for in the full path of each
file
                        considered for compilation
  -i FILE               add all the files and directories listed
in FILE to
                        the list considered for compilation; if
"-", names are
                        read from stdin
  -j WORKERS, --workers WORKERS
                        Run compileall concurrently

To recreate the earlier example, skipping the subdir directory, run:

$ python3 -m compileall -x '/subdir' examples

Listing 'examples'...
Compiling 'examples/a.py'...
Listing 'examples/subdir'...