Building a package without a recipe (bdist_conda)#

You can use conda-build to build packages for Python to install rather than conda by using bdist_conda. This is a quick way to build packages without using a recipe, but it has limitations. The script is limited to the Python version used in the build and it is not as reproducible as using a recipe. We recommend using a recipe with conda-build.


If you use Setuptools, you must first import Setuptools and then import conda_build.bdist_conda, because Setuptools monkey patches distutils.dist.Distribution.

EXAMPLE: A minimal file using the setup options name and version:

 from setuptools import setup
 import conda_build.bdist_conda


Setup options#

You can pass the following options to setup(). You must include distclass=conda_build.bdist_conda.CondaDistribution.

Build number#

The number of the build. Can be overridden on the command line with the --buildnum flag. Defaults to 0.


Build string#

The build string. Default is generated automatically from the Python version, NumPy version---if relevant---and the build number, such as py34_0.


Import tests#

Whether to automatically run import tests. The default is True, which runs import tests for all the modules in packages. Also allowed are False, which runs no tests, or a list of module names to be tested on import.


Command line tests#

Command line tests to run. Default is True, which runs command --help for each command in the console_scripts and gui_scripts entry_points. Also allowed are False, which does not run any command tests, or a list of command tests to run.


Binary files relocatable#

Whether binary files should be made relocatable, using install_name_tool on macOS or patchelf on Linux. The default is True.


For more information, see Making packages relocatable.

Preserve egg directory#

Whether to preserve the egg directory as installed by Setuptools. The default is True if the package depends on Setuptools or has Setuptools entry_points other than console_scripts and gui_scripts.


Command line options#

Build number#

Set the build number. Defaults to the conda_buildnum passed to setup() or 0. Overrides any conda_buildnum passed to setup().



  • You must install bdist_conda into a root conda environment, as it imports conda and conda_build. It is included as part of the conda-build package.

  • All metadata is gathered from the standard metadata from the setup() function. Metadata that are not directly supported by setup() can be added using one of the options specified above.

  • By default, import tests are run for each subpackage specified by packages, and command line tests command --help are run for each setuptools entry_points command. This is done to ensure that the package is built correctly. You can disable or change these using the conda_import_tests and conda_command_tests options specified above.

  • The Python version used in the build must be the same as where conda is installed, as bdist_conda uses conda-build.

  • bdist_conda uses the metadata provided to the setup() function.

  • If you want to pass any bdist_conda specific options to setup(), in setup() you must set distclass=conda_build.bdist_conda.CondaDistribution.