vpython in Infra

For general information on vpython see its LUCI code base documentation.

The LUCI vpython code is a set of libraries that comprise the majority of vpython functionality. Those libraries are linked together with a domain-specific configuration (this directory) to form a vpython binary. This document will detail the domain-specific aspects of the Infra vpython deployment.

Spec Building and Usage

The vpython VirutalEnv spec is a text protobuf that references wheels to install into the VirtualEnv. Infra's vpython implementation uses CIPD for package deployment. For more information, see CIPD Client and Packages.

A user who wants to create a vpython spec for their project should:

  1. Determine which Python packages and versions are needed.
  2. Check CIPD to see which packages are available.
  3. Construct a spec protobuf referencing these packages.

Packages that are not wholly universal will need to use CIPD templating to express which packages should be used on a given platform. If some packages are conditionally required by platform (e.g., “Windows only”), the match protobuf directive can be used.

If a package or version of a package is missing, consult an Infra vpython point of contact for assistance in building and uploading the package, or see the CIPD Package Layout section.


The Infra vpython version configures:

  • Package installation via an integrated CIPD client.
  • The default VirtualEnv package.
  • Old vpython environment Pruning configuration.
  • Default vpython package verification platforms.
  • CIPD template extensions to allow resolution of PEP 425 tag parameters, and an algorithm for determining the PEP 425 tags to use for a given system.
  • System-specific constraints.

For more information on the base configuration, see the application.Config struct in this package.


CIPD Client and Packages

The generic vpython library defines a PackageLoader interface, which resolves an abstract “name” and “version” string pair into a set of Python wheels to deploy. The CIPD PackageLoader implementation defines:

  • “name” is a CIPD package name.
  • “version” is a CIPD instance ID, “key:value” tag, or ref.
  • The hostname of the Chrome Infrastructure CIPD service.

CIPD Templating

In addition to the default CIPD templates (e.g., “platform”), this vpython configuration enables some additional tags:

  • py_python is the system's PEP 425 “python” field.
  • py_abi is the system's PEP 425 “ABI” field.
  • py_platform is the system's PEP 425 “platform” field.
  • vpython_platform is the combination string: ${platform}_${py_python}_${py_abi}. This is the naming convention used by dockerbuild to upload binary wheels.

A given system may expose several PEP 425 tag combinations. To view the combination on a given system, run:

import pip.pep425tags

vpython must choose one set of those tags to use for template completion. It does this through a preference algorithm that is implemented in this package.

CIPD Package Layout

A vpython CIPD package is just a CIPD package that contains Python wheels. Whatever wheels are in the CIPD package will be installed by vpython.

vpython's wheel installation procedure is very simple:

  1. Unpack all of the contents in all of the referenced packages into a single directory.
  2. Scan through that directory and identify all wheel names and versions.
  3. Install all of the wheels that were identified via pip, which will select which wheels should be installed based on the current system.

As such, a directory with multiple wheels that share a name and version but differ by platform will result in a single wheel within that package that matches the host platform being chosen and installed by vpython / pip.

So far, Infra has been following these general guidelines:

  • A single CIPD package should hold a single wheel.
  • CIPD wheel packages are named:
    • infra/python/wheels/name/${vpython_platform}, for platform-specific wheels.
      • (For example, infra/python/wheels/cryptography/linux-amd64_cp27_cp27mu)
    • infra/python/wheels/name_${py_platform} for universal wheels.
      • (For example, infra/python/wheels/protobuf_py2_py3)
  • The CIPD package should be tagged with a version:PACKAGE_VERSION tag.
    • (For example, version:5.2.2 for a CIPD package containing wheel version 5.2.2)

Circumstantially, other ways of creating vpython CIPD wheel packages include:

  • A multi-architecture package, which is a single CIPD package that contains Python wheels for multiple platforms (e.g., Windows, Linux, Mac) in the same package. vpython will defer to pip, which will identify and install only the wheel matching the current Python platform.
  • A dependency-resolved package, wihch is a single CIPD package containing multiple different wheels, perhaps a single package and all of its transitive dependencies. This can be used for easy deployment of wheels with complex or numerous dependencies.


vpython is deployed using a variety of mechanisms.

  • For users, it is deployed via depot_tools using the vpython and vpython.bat shims to bootstrap vpython from cipd_manifest.txt.

  • For LUCI builds, it is deployed and integrated into PATH via the build's SwarmBucket template.

Bot builds set the VPYTHON_VIRTUALENV_ROOT environment variable to control the directory that is used to accumulate VirtualEnv deployments.

Check deployment document for detail.


vpython is built by the set of infra-packager-* builders. It is built by the infra_continuous recipe, and is configured in vpython.yaml.