Fix Python – What is the common header format of Python files?

Question

Asked By – Ashwin Nanjappa

I came across the following header format for Python source files in a document about Python coding guidelines:

#!/usr/bin/env python

"""Foobar.py: Description of what foobar does."""

__author__      = "Barack Obama"
__copyright__   = "Copyright 2009, Planet Earth"

Is this the standard format of headers in the Python world?
What other fields/information can I put in the header?
Python gurus share your guidelines for good Python source headers 🙂

Now we will see solution for issue: What is the common header format of Python files?


Answer

Its all metadata for the Foobar module.

The first one is the docstring of the module, that is already explained in Peter’s answer.

How do I organize my modules (source files)? (Archive)

The first line of each file shoud be #!/usr/bin/env python. This makes it possible to run the file as a script invoking the interpreter implicitly, e.g. in a CGI context.

Next should be the docstring with a description. If the description is long, the first line should be a short summary that makes sense on its own, separated from the rest by a newline.

All code, including import statements, should follow the docstring. Otherwise, the docstring will not be recognized by the interpreter, and you will not have access to it in interactive sessions (i.e. through obj.__doc__) or when generating documentation with automated tools.

Import built-in modules first, followed by third-party modules, followed by any changes to the path and your own modules. Especially, additions to the path and names of your modules are likely to change rapidly: keeping them in one place makes them easier to find.

Next should be authorship information. This information should follow this format:

__author__ = "Rob Knight, Gavin Huttley, and Peter Maxwell"
__copyright__ = "Copyright 2007, The Cogent Project"
__credits__ = ["Rob Knight", "Peter Maxwell", "Gavin Huttley",
                    "Matthew Wakefield"]
__license__ = "GPL"
__version__ = "1.0.1"
__maintainer__ = "Rob Knight"
__email__ = "rob@spot.colorado.edu"
__status__ = "Production"

Status should typically be one of “Prototype”, “Development”, or “Production”. __maintainer__ should be the person who will fix bugs and make improvements if imported. __credits__ differs from __author__ in that __credits__ includes people who reported bug fixes, made suggestions, etc. but did not actually write the code.

Here you have more information, listing __author__, __authors__, __contact__, __copyright__, __license__, __deprecated__, __date__ and __version__ as recognized metadata.

This question is answered By – Esteban Küber

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