If you don't supply an explicit list of files (or instructions on how to
generate one), the
sdist command puts a minimal default set
into the source distribution:
Sometimes this is enough, but usually you will want to specify
additional files to distribute. The typical way to do this is to write
a manifest template, called MANIFEST.in by default. The
manifest template is just a list of instructions for how to generate
your manifest file, MANIFEST, which is the exact list of files to
include in your source distribution. The
processes this template and generates a manifest based on its
instructions and what it finds in the filesystem.
If you prefer to roll your own manifest file, the format is simple: one filename per line, regular files (or symlinks to them) only. If you do supply your own MANIFEST, you must specify everything: the default set of files described above does not apply in this case.
The manifest template has one command per line, where each command specifies a set of files to include or exclude from the source distribution. For an example, again we turn to the Distutils' own manifest template:
include *.txt recursive-include examples *.txt *.py prune examples/sample?/build
The meanings should be fairly clear: include all files in the distribution root matching *.txt, all files anywhere under the examples directory matching *.txt or *.py, and exclude all directories matching examples/sample?/build. All of this is done after the standard include set, so you can exclude files from the standard set with explicit instructions in the manifest template. (Or, you can use the --no-defaults option to disable the standard set entirely.) There are several other commands available in the manifest template mini-language; see section 10.2.
The order of commands in the manifest template matters: initially, we have the list of default files as described above, and each command in the template adds to or removes from that list of files. Once we have fully processed the manifest template, we remove files that should not be included in the source distribution:
You can disable the default set of included files with the --no-defaults option, and you can disable the standard exclude set with --no-prune.
Following the Distutils' own manifest template, let's trace how the
sdist command builds the list of files to include in the
Distutils source distribution:
prunecommand in the manifest template comes after the
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