Distribution Builder Python Library

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"Distribution Builder" (distbuilder) is an open source Python library. It is a "meta tool", which wraps and combines other related libraries and utilities including PyInstaller, IExpress, the Qt Installer Framework, Opy (Obfuscator for Python), pip, and more.

As one might guess, the primary role which Distribution Builder can serve for your development needs is packaging and deploying Python based programs. It can, however, be employed for distributing software written in other languages as well. To this end, a dedicated module, has been provided which is specific for Qt C++ Integration. The library also includes the means to transform simple Windows scripts (Batch, PowerShell, VBScript, or JScript) into full blown executable programs. More cross language / cross framework integration modules will become available in the future.

This library is compatible with both Python 2 and 3. It has been tested on recent versions of Windows, macOS, and multiple Linux distros. It features the ability to create stand-alone binaries, and is capable of building installers in a cross platform manner (via QtIFW). These installers can be produced for either gui or non-gui (i.e terminal interface) contexts. Note that the later is a feature QtIFW does not naturally provide. The library can also be used to obfuscate code (via Opy), so as to protect proprietary work.

See the Quick Start Guide for instructions on installation and getting started with the tool. For a more thorough explanation of how to use it, it is recommended you proceed to High Level Classes. Then, as needed, move on to Configuration Classes and/or Low Level Classes And Functions.

If you wish to contribute, please review the To-Do List for a collection of desired tasks to be completed and the priority they have been currently designated, as part of a loose road map for planned releases.

Additional Project Goals

In addition to everything which is already fleshed out and functional within it, "Distribution Builder" will soon supply a new development paradigm... Using the obfuscation and library management features, it will provide the ability for collaborators to work on a Python project together, without directly sharing source code!

We acknowledge this idea may to be deemed "anti-Pythonic" by purists, since the language is commonly employed for open source purposes, and the Python ecosystem is almost 100% open source. Note that the "Distribution Builder" developers are not anti-open source! In fact, observe that this project is itself open source, and built over the top of other open source projects! We are, however, pro-security, and we advocate for the owners of intellectual property. We argue that if it is not universally "wrong" to produce close sourced programs, doing so should not be dubbed off limits with Python, if an organization or individual so choses.

Once theses features (in development) are completed and smoothed over, each Python developer on a project could independently create libraries with a clear text public interface, but which employ code bases that are obfuscated. Other developers could then implement the functionality of those libraries as they develop their modules. "Distribution Builder" could next seamlessly bring together everyone's work into a single project, where all of the protected code bases work together and even the "seams" between those public interfaces become obfuscated. In this scenario, each developer will have this capability, and therefore be able to test their own work - on the fly - within the context of the larger product.

Producing software in this manner, allows engineers to work together on endeavors where there are gray areas pertaining to intellectual rights and/or the legalities of such have yet to be solidified. This mechanism mitigates the risk of an individual stealing an entire code base, or being "boxed out" of a project for which they made considerable contributions.

While this overarching concept has long been available with other languages (e.g. with C++ dll's and other analogous compiled components), this has not generally been an option for Python. Even in those languages where such is a "ready option", a development scheme of this nature is often too cumbersome to employ, or simply not an option developers have considered. "Distribution Builder" aims to make this a painless and realistic mode of operation for Python.

Important Notes


This library is actively under development. It is not yet officially released for production use. Function signatures, class definitions, etc. are NOT currently guaranteed to be stable / backwards compatible. Client implementations may require modification upon pulling the latest revisions to this.

At the present time, the weakest components in the library are admittedly the obfuscation features. There is a bit of a learning curve for utilizing such, and a fair degree of effort is likely required to perfect it for your own project right now. It is recommended that you employ these security features only after getting the rest of your build process defined.