Version 14 (modified by Chris Jerdonek, 14 years ago) (diff)

Moved the PEP8 remark to the style section.

Python in WebKit

Below is an overview of WebKit's use of Python.


  • WebKit's Python scripts require Python 2.5 or higher to run.
  • Scripts/test-webkitpy unit tests the Python code. It also cleans orphan *.pyc files from webkitpy (i.e. .pyc files without a corresponding .py file). You can also do this manually (for all *.pyc files in webkitpy) using the following command:
    find WebKitTools/Scripts -wholename '*.pyc' | xargs rm

Code Structure

  • Most of the Python code is in WebKitTools/Scripts/webkitpy.
  • WebKitTools/Scripts also contains end-user Python scripts (which usually import from webkitpy).
  • Generally, we try to keep as much of the Python code in webkitpy as possible since this allows the code to be organized more nicely (for unit tests to be in companion files, etc).
  • Unit test files are in correspondence with modules. For example, if is the name of a module, its unit test file would be and would lie in the same directory.
  • The root-level folders in webkitpy/ generally correspond to end-user scripts in WebKitTools/Scripts. For example--
    • check-webkit-style -> webkitpy/style/
    • new-run-webkit-tests -> webkitpy/layout_tests/
    • webkit-patch -> webkit/tool/
  • Exceptions to the rule above are--
    • webkitpy/common/: code shared by multiple root folders
    • webkitpy/python24/: code that needs to work under Python 2.4 (currently just the version-checking code)
    • webkitpy/thirdparty/: all third-party code in webkitpy


Informally, we try to follow PEP8. Eventually we may make this official.

For the time being, we are not following the 79 character line length limit (or any line length limit for that matter).

For discussion purposes, here are some additional guidelines to consider:

  • Prefer single quotes to double quotes. Use double quotes only if the string contains single quotes (or if you are using "triple double quotes"). This makes cutting and pasting from the console easier since Python itself behaves this way when rendering string values to the console.
  • Order from and import statements by the name of the leading module instead of putting all from statements before import statements:
    # Correct:
    import logging
    from optparse import OptionParser
    import sys
    # Incorrect:
    from optparse import OptionParser
    import logging
    import sys
    This keeps the ordering the same when changing a from statement to an import statement, or vice versa.

Upgrading from Python 2.3 or Python 2.4

[Much of these instructions are Mac-specific.]

If you are upgrading from Python 2.3 or 2.4, you should upgrade to Python 2.6 rather than 2.5.

You can tell what version of Python you are currently using by typing--

python -V

Before trying to install a new version, check whether your machine already has other versions installed. From a Mac, you can try reading the man page--

man python

For example, Snow Leopard comes with Python 2.5, 2.6, and 3.0. The man page provides instructions on how to switch your system between these system-installed versions.

If you need to install a new version not on your machine, you can use MacPorts to do this. MacPorts allows you to install Python versions alongside your system versions without interfering with them. After installing MacPorts, simply type (for example)--

sudo port install python26

You should probably also install python_select using MacPorts--

sudo port install python_select

The python_select command allows you to quickly go back and forth between Python versions, like so--

> python -V
Python 2.6.4
> sudo python_select python24
Selecting version "python24" for python
> python -V
Python 2.4.6

To find out what versions of Python you can switch to using python_select, type--

python_select -l

Consequences of not using Python 2.6

Below is a list of some consequences of not using Python 2.6 (and things we should revisit in our code base should we ever upgrade to 2.6):