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Setuptools' ``include_package_data`` option does not work not honoured during install phase

The python package setup procedure appears to be a mess, you have setuptools, distutils, and distribute (distutils2?). All I set out to do was to fix the installation in django-simplemenu package which was omitting the non-python module plain locale directory but instead got myself involved a 3 hour roller coaster; I am sharing my findings in hopes of helping you, so if you are reading this do +1 this.

Including sub directories and non python files as part of package

There are two ways: file and package_data option. The latter is Pythonic but doesn’t do recursive includes - so you would have to list every sub directory - and can not include files in the root top most folder; sure once could write a python function to do this but why the complexity? with its file/directory pattern matching and with the's ``include_package_data`` option fits the bill:

    If set to ``True``, this tells ``setuptools`` to automatically include any
    data files it finds inside your package directories, that are either under
    CVS or Subversion control, or which are specified by your ````
    file.  For more information, see the section below on `Including Data

The problem is that does not work, files specified in weren't being copied during install. After searching and trial an error the solution was to use distribute (or distools) instead of the old setuptools package. So if you are having issues import distuitls rather then setuptools.

My django-simplemenu

from setuptools import setup, find_packages 
   # your system should use distribute which is successor to setuptools 
   # and distutils,
   # between-distribute-distutils-and-setuptools
   # 'distribute' imports itself as 'setuptools'
package = __import__('simplemenu')

    install_requires=['distribute'], # let's require the enhanced setuptools
    author='Alex Vasi , Justin Steward , Daniel Sokolowski ',
    include_package_data=True, # this will use during install where we specify additional files
    # Below is not needed as we are utilizing 
    #package_data={'simplemenu': ['locale/en/LC_MESSAGES/*', 
    #                             'locale/ru/LC_MESSAGES/*']
    #              },

My django-simplemenu

include LICENSE
include README.rst
recursive-include simplemenu *.py
recursive-include simplemenu/locale *
prune simplemenu/migrations


  1. Thank you so much ! this post saved me a lot of time !


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