# Python PEP 328: import and build package

This blog follows PEP 328 to specify how to import package absolutely or relatively in Python and how to build package as well.

Module and package are core of large programs. In this blog, I will talk about how to write long import statements, how to import packages absolutely and relatively, and how to build your own package/API.

The import statement has two problems:

• Long import statements can be difficult to write, requiring various contortions to fit Pythonic style guidelines.

• Imports can be ambiguous in the face of packages; within a package, it’s not clear whether import foo refers to a module within the package or some module outside the package.

For the first problem, it is proposed that parentheses be permitted to enclose multiple names, thus allowing Python’s standard mechanisms for multi-line values to apply. For the second problem, it is proposed that all import statements be absolute by default with special syntax for accessing package-relative imports.

## Long import statement

• Write a long line with backslash continuations
• Write multiple import statements
• Use Python’s standard grouping mechanism (parentheses)

## Absolute imports

As Python’s library expands, more and more existing package internal modules suddenly shadow standard library modules by accident. It’s a particularly difficult problem inside packages because there’s no way to specify which module is meant. To resolve the ambiguity, it is proposed that foo will always be a module or package reachable from sys.path. This is called an absolute import.

## Relative imports

When packages are structured into subpackages, you can use absolute imports to refer to submodules of siblings packages. If the imported module is not found in the current package (the package of which the current module is a submodule), the import statement looks for a top-level module with the given name.

You can write explicit relative imports with the from module import name form of import statement. These explicit relative imports use leading dots to indicate the current and parent packages involved in the relative import. For example,

## Build and import modules

Next, I’ll show you how to organise and build a package, and how to import them.

### Build Python modules

Working with Python packages is really simple. All you need to do is:

• Create a directory and give it your package’s name.
• Put your classes in it.
• Create a __init__.py file in the directory

### Import modules

In the example above, in order to import grok.py and spam.py in job.py, we can write:

Absolute imports

Using absolute imports can ensure that you import the right package since you hard code the package absolute path. However, if you rename the package name, you have to check and update your scripts, which means updating scripts brings difficulties. In this case, you can import packages relatively.

Relative import

If we want to import module grok in spam, since they are siblings, we can import it from ., which means from the same directory; if we want to import module bar in spam, since they are not siblings, we can import from ..B, which equals to ../B.