Namespace packages for shared DCC’s code & tools

We do quite a few shared Python DCC tools and lib’s. With 3dsMax in the mix, this has recently gotten way easier with official Python and PySide support (though MaxPlus is pretty immature, but that’s another story).

One thing we wave have been using is a “namespace package”. This allow’s several folders on disk to merge into one logical namespace, using package utils (pkgutil). So we have something like the following folder structure:


Here Maya’s Python Path will include both “shared_code/my_package” and “maya_code/my_package”.

This way, anything in “shared_code/my_package” and “maya_code/my_package” is available in the same namespace and can import freely from one another etc. Works for sub packages too and PyCharm totally get’s it, unlike with other methods I’ve tried, where introspection and code completion broke down.

If something is defined in both folder locations, it’s the order of these folders on the Python Path, that dictates which module takes precedence. You can use this to create “local overrides” and I’ve set set it up, so the application specific folder overrides the shared folder. This detail has turned out to be pretty useful.

The only issue I found, is that a *.pyc file in one folder might “override” a *.py file in another folder. This can can cause unintentional “local overrides”, say you have removed a *.py file from source control, but the user still has the *.pyc file on disk. The solution was to delete any *.pyc files from disk as each application launches. Seems a little dirty, but has worked so far.

I’m pretty pleased with this setup.

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