Using the “py-generic-project” Template


In case you don’t have the cookiecutter command line tool yet, here’s how to install it.

For py-generic-project v1.2 and upwards, you need at least cookiecutter v1.1, or v1.0 with degraded functionality – for pipsi installs, just issue a pipsi upgrade cookiecutter command and you’re done.

Project Creation

Creating a new Python project based on this template goes like this (make sure you’re in the directory you want your project added to):

cookiecutter ""

It’s advisable to git add the created directory directly afterwards, before any generated files are added, that you don’t want to have in your repository.


To get your defaults for common template values cookiecutter will ask you for when you use a template, it makes sense to have a ~/.cookiecutterrc in your home directory. Follow the link to see an example.

Also, you should at least check these files regarding their content and adapt them according to your needs:

  • project.d/classifiers.txt – Add the correct categories (a/k/a Trove classifiers) for your project.
  • requirements.txt – Add any Python packages you need for your project at runtime.

To bootstrap the project (as mentioned, best after git add), use these commands from within its directory:

. .env --yes --develop
inv ci | less -R
python -m $(./ --name | tr -- - _) --help

On Windows, please install Babun to be able to use the same procedures as on a POSIX system – the installation process is easy and painless.

Requirements Handling

There are three files that define a project’s dependencies: dev-requirements.txt, test-requirements.txt, and requirements.txt. The first lists tools that you typically need as a developer to work on the project. It also includes the other two, so one call to pip install -r dev-requirements.txt installs all of the project’s dependencies for developer use.

tox uses only the test and install requirements in the virtualenvs it creates, because the tools aren’t needed there (or if they are, they belong to the test ones). loads these files into the install_requires and tests_require parameters as far as possible. Special lines like -e and similar are skipped, because only pip supports them; the idea here is to have none of those left at the time of a release. Note that pytest is always added to the test requirements, since the test sub-command is mapped to use pytest as the test runner. There is also an optional file setup-requirements.txt loaded into setup_requires, in case you need to use some setuptools extension. If you add that file, you should also include a matching -r setup-requirements.txt line at the end of dev-requirements.txt.

Feature Toggles

This template has a few options that can be turned on and off even after initial creation, which the following terminal session demonstrates for Travis CI support.

Demo Terminal Session

Demo Terminal Session

At the moment of this writing, those feature are travis, flake8, and cli. See the features value in cookiecutter.json for a current list.

Note that since the whole template is re-created, you should make sure that you have no pending changes in your working directory, i.e. everything is either safely committed or stashed away. After changing project.d/cookiecutter.json and the call to invoke moar-cookies, you should look at the diff, and git add any files that can just be updated (e.g. typically .travis.yml,, and some others).

Files with considerable changes you have to merge manually, e.g. by dumping a diff, resetting the affected files, reducing the diffs to the changes you really want, and then applying the edited diff. Note that the easiest way to do such a reset to the last commit is calling git stash && git stash drop.

Another option is to work with two directories, i.e. clone a copy of your project for the update process, perform the update, and then selectively copy changes to your main working directory. There might be a more stream-lined way applying some git magic, we’ll see (ideas are welcome). Still this is better than wading through commit logs to catch up with an evolving template.