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@c -*-texinfo-*-
@c This is part of the GNU Emacs Lisp Reference Manual.
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@c Copyright (C) 2010-2011  Free Software Foundation, Inc.
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@c See the file elisp.texi for copying conditions.
@setfilename ../../info/package
@node Packaging, Antinews, System Interface, Top
@chapter Preparing Lisp code for distribution
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@cindex package
@cindex Lisp package
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  Emacs provides a standard way to distribute Emacs Lisp code to
users.  A @dfn{package} is a collection of one or more files,
formatted and bundled in such a way that users can easily download,
install, uninstall, and upgrade it.
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  The following sections describe how to create a package, and how to
put it in a @dfn{package archive} for others to download.
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@menu
* Packaging Basics::        The basic concepts of Emacs Lisp packages.
* Simple Packages::         How to package a single .el file.
* Multi-file Packages::     How to package multiple files.
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* Package Archives::        Maintaining package archives.
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@end menu

@node Packaging Basics
@section Packaging Basics
@cindex package attributes
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@cindex package name
@cindex package version
@cindex dependencies
@cindex package dependencies
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  A package is either a @dfn{simple package} or a @dfn{multi-file
package}.  A simple package is stored in a package archive as a single
Emacs Lisp file, while a multi-file package is stored as a tar file
(containing multiple Lisp files, and possibly non-Lisp files such as a
manual).

  In ordinary usage, the difference between simple packages and
multi-file packages is relatively unimportant; the Package Menu
interface makes no distinction between them.  However, the procedure
for creating them differs, as explained in the following sections.

  Each package (whether simple or multi-file) has certain
@dfn{attributes}:

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@table @asis
@item Name
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A short word (e.g. @samp{auctex}).  This is usually also the symbol
prefix used in the program (@pxref{Coding Conventions}).
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@item Version
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A version number, in a form that the function @code{version-to-list}
understands (e.g. @samp{11.86}).  Each release of a package should be
accompanied by an increase in the version number.
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@item Brief description
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This is shown when the package is listed in the Package Menu.  It
should occupy a single line, ideally in 36 characters or less.
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@item Long description
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This is shown in the buffer created by @kbd{C-h P}
(@code{describe-package}), following the package's brief description
and installation status.  It normally spans multiple lines, and should
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fully describe the package's capabilities and how to begin using it
once it is installed.
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@item Dependencies
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A list of other packages (possibly including minimal acceptable
version numbers) on which this package depends.  The list may be
empty, meaning this package has no dependencies.  Otherwise,
installing this package also automatically installs its dependencies;
if any dependency cannot be found, the package cannot be installed.
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@end table

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@cindex content directory, package
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  Installing a package, either via the Package Menu, or via the
command @code{package-install-file}, creates a subdirectory of
@code{package-user-dir} named @file{@var{name}-@var{version}}, where
@var{name} is the package's name and @var{version} its version
(e.g. @file{~/.emacs.d/elpa/auctex-11.86/}).  We call this the
package's @dfn{content directory}.  It is where Emacs puts the
package's contents (the single Lisp file for a simple package, or the
files extracted from a multi-file package).

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@cindex package autoloads
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  Emacs then searches every Lisp file in the content directory for
autoload magic comments (@pxref{Autoload}).  These autoload
definitions are saved to a file named @file{@var{name}-autoloads.el}
in the content directory.  They are typically used to autoload the
principal user commands defined in the package, but they can also
perform other tasks, such as adding an element to
@code{auto-mode-alist} (@pxref{Auto Major Mode}).  During this time,
Emacs will also byte-compile the Lisp files.

  After installation, and (by default) each time Emacs is started, the
installed package is @dfn{activated}.  During activation, Emacs adds
the package's content directory to @code{load-path}, and evaluates the
autoload definitions in @file{@var{name}-autoloads.el}.

  Note that a package typically does @emph{not} autoload every
function and variable defined within it---only the handful of commands
typically called to begin using the package.
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@node Simple Packages
@section Simple Packages
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@cindex single file package
@cindex simple package
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  A simple package consists of a single Emacs Lisp source file.  The
file must conform to the Emacs Lisp library header conventions
(@pxref{Library Headers}).  The package's attributes are taken from
the various headers, as illustrated by the following example:
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@example
@group
;;; superfrobnicator.el --- Frobnicate and bifurcate flanges
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;; Copyright (C) 2011 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
@end group
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;; Author: J. R. Hacker <jrh@@example.com>
;; Version: 1.3
;; Package-Requires: ((flange "1.0"))
;; Keywords: frobnicate
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@dots{}
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;;; Commentary:
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;; This package provides a minor mode to frobnicate and/or
;; bifurcate any flanges you desire.  To activate it, just type
@dots{}
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;;;###autoload
(define-minor-mode superfrobnicator-mode
@dots{}
@end example
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  The name of the package is the same as the base name of the file, as
written on the first line.  Here, it is @samp{superfrobnicator}.
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  The brief description is also taken from the first line.  Here, it
is @samp{Frobnicate and bifurcate flanges}.
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  The version number comes from the @samp{Package-Version} header, if
it exists, or from the @samp{Version} header otherwise.  One or the
other @emph{must} be present.  Here, the version number is 1.3.
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  If the file has a @samp{;;; Commentary:} section, this section is
used as the long description.  (When displaying the description, Emacs
omits the @samp{;;; Commentary:} line, as well as the leading comment
characters in the commentary itself.)
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  If the file has a @samp{Package-Requires} header, that is used as
the package dependencies.  In the above example, the package depends
on the @samp{flange} package, version 1.0 or higher.  @xref{Library
Headers}, for a description of the @samp{Package-Requires} header.  If
the header is omitted, the package has no dependencies.
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  The file ought to also contain one or more autoload magic comments,
as explained in @ref{Packaging Basics}.  In the above example, a magic
comment autoloads @code{superfrobnicator-mode}.
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  @xref{Package Archives}, for a explanation of how to add a
single-file package to a package archive.
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@node Multi-file Packages
@section Multi-file Packages
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@cindex multi-file package
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  A multi-file package is less convenient to create than a single-file
package, but it offers more features: it can include multiple Emacs
Lisp files, an Info manual, and other file types (such as images).

  Prior to installation, a multi-file package is stored in a package
archive as a tar file.  The tar file must be named
@file{@var{name}-@var{version}.tar}, where @var{name} is the package
name and @var{version} is the version number.  Its contents, once
extracted, must all appear in a directory named
@file{@var{name}-@var{version}}, the @dfn{content directory}
(@pxref{Packaging Basics}).  Files may also extract into
subdirectories of the content directory.

  One of the files in the content directory must be named
@file{@var{name}-pkg.el}.  It must contain a single Lisp form,
consisting of a call to the function @code{define-package}, described
below.  This defines the package's version, brief description, and
requirements.

  For example, if we distribute version 1.3 of the superfrobnicator as
a multi-file package, the tar file would be
@file{superfrobnicator-1.3.tar}.  Its contents would extract into the
directory @file{superfrobnicator-1.3}, and one of these would be the
file @file{superfrobnicator-pkg.el}.
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@defun define-package name version &optional docstring requirements
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This function defines a package.  @var{name} is the package name, a
string.  @var{version} is the version, as a string of a form that can
be understood by the function @code{version-to-list}.  @var{docstring}
is the brief description.

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@var{requirements} is a list of required packages and their versions.
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Each element in this list should have the form @code{(@var{dep-name}
@var{dep-version})}, where @var{dep-name} is a symbol whose name is
the dependency's package name, and @var{dep-version} is the
dependency's version (a string).
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@end defun

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  If the content directory contains a file named @file{README}, this
file is used as the long description.
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  If the content directory contains a file named @file{dir}, this is
assumed to be an Info directory file made with @command{install-info}.
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@xref{Invoking install-info, Invoking install-info, Invoking
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install-info, texinfo, Texinfo}.  The relevant Info files should also
be present in the content directory.  In this case, Emacs will
automatically add the content directory to @code{Info-directory-list}
when the package is activated.
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  Do not include any @file{.elc} files in the package.  Those are
created when the package is installed.  Note that there is no way to
control the order in which files are byte-compiled.
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  Do not include any file named @file{@var{name}-autoloads.el}.  This
file is reserved for the package's autoload definitions
(@pxref{Packaging Basics}).  It is created automatically when the
package is installed, by searching all the Lisp files in the package
for autoload magic comments.
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  If the multi-file package contains auxiliary data files (such as
images), the package's Lisp code can refer to these files via the
variable @code{load-file-name} (@pxref{Loading}).  Here is an example:
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@smallexample
(defconst superfrobnicator-base (file-name-directory load-file-name))

(defun superfrobnicator-fetch-image (file)
  (expand-file-name file superfrobnicator-base))
@end smallexample
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@node Package Archives
@section Creating and Maintaining Package Archives
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@cindex package archive

  Via the Package Menu, users may download packages from @dfn{package
archives}.  Such archives are specified by the variable
@code{package-archives}, whose default value contains a single entry:
the archive hosted by the GNU project at @url{elpa.gnu.org}.  This
section describes how to set up and maintain a package archive.

@cindex base location, package archive
@defopt package-archives
The value of this variable is an alist of package archives recognized
by the Emacs package manager.

Each alist element corresponds to one archive, and should have the
form @code{(@var{id} . @var{location})}, where @var{id} is the name of
the archive (a string) and @var{location} is its @dfn{base location}
(a string).

If the base location starts with @samp{http:}, it is treated as a HTTP
URL, and packages are downloaded from this archive via HTTP (as is the
case for the default GNU archive).

Otherwise, the base location should be a directory name.  In this
case, Emacs retrieves packages from this archive via ordinary file
access.  Such ``local'' archives are mainly useful for testing.
@end defopt

  A package archive is simply a directory in which the package files,
and associated files, are stored.  If you want the archive to be
reachable via HTTP, this directory must be accessible to a web server.
How to accomplish this is beyond the scope of this manual.

  A convenient way to set up and update a package archive is via the
@code{package-x} library.  This is included with Emacs, but not loaded
by default; type @kbd{M-x load-library @kbd{RET} package-x @kbd{RET}}
to load it, or add @code{(require 'package-x)} to your init file.
@xref{Lisp Libraries,, Lisp Libraries, emacs, The GNU Emacs Manual}.
Once loaded, you can make use of the following:

@defopt package-archive-upload-base
The value of this variable is the base location of a package archive,
as a directory name.  The commands in the @code{package-x} library
will use this base location.

The directory name should be absolute.  You may specify a remote name,
such as @file{/ssh:foo@@example.com:/var/www/packages/}, if the
package archive is on a different machine.  @xref{Remote Files,,
Remote Files, emacs, The GNU Emacs Manual}.
@end defopt

@deffn Command package-upload-file filename
This command prompts for @var{filename}, a file name, and uploads that
file to @code{package-archive-upload-base}.  The file must be either a
simple package (a @file{.el} file) or a multi-file package (a
@file{.tar} file); otherwise, an error is raised.  The package
attributes are automatically extracted, and the archive's contents
list is updated with this information.

If @code{package-archive-upload-base} does not specify a valid
directory, the function prompts interactively for one.  If the
directory does not exist, it is created.  The directory need not have
any initial contents (i.e., you can use this command to populate an
initially empty archive).
@end deffn

@deffn Command package-upload-buffer
This command is similar to @code{package-upload-file}, but instead of
prompting for a package file, it uploads the contents of the current
buffer.  The current buffer must be visiting a simple package (a
@file{.el} file) or a multi-file package (a @file{.tar} file);
otherwise, an error is raised.
@end deffn

@noindent
After you create an archive, remember that it is not accessible in the
Package Menu interface unless it is in @code{package-archives}.