Upgrading CKAN’s dependencies

The Python modules that CKAN depends on are pinned to specific versions, so we can guarantee that whenever anyone installs CKAN, they’ll always get the same versions of the Python modules in their virtual environment.

Our dependencies are defined in three files:


This file is only used to create a new version of the requirements.txt file when upgrading the dependencies. Contains our direct dependencies only (not dependencies of dependencies) with loosely defined versions. For example, python-dateutil>=1.5.0,<2.0.0.


This is the file that people actually use to install CKAN’s dependencies into their virtualenvs. It contains every dependency, including dependencies of dependencies, each pinned to a specific version. For example, simplejson==3.3.1.


Contains those dependencies only needed by developers, not needed for production sites. These are pinned to a specific version. For example, factory-boy==2.1.1.

We haven’t created a dev-requirements.in file because we have too few dev dependencies, we don’t update them often, and none of them have a known incompatible version.

Steps to upgrade

These steps will upgrade all of CKAN’s dependencies to the latest versions that work with CKAN:

  1. Create a new virtualenv: virtualenv --no-site-packages upgrading

  2. Install the requirements with unpinned versions: pip install -r requirements.in

  3. Save the new dependencies versions: pip freeze > requirements.txt. We have to do this before installing the other dependencies so we get only what was in requirements.in

  4. Install CKAN: python setup.py develop

  5. Install the development dependencies: pip install -r dev-requirements.txt

  6. Run the tests to make sure everything still works (see Testing CKAN).

    • If not, try to fix the problem. If it’s too complicated, pinpoint which dependency’s version broke our tests, find an older version that still works, and add it to requirements.in (i.e., if python-dateutil 2.0.0 broke CKAN, you’d add python-dateutil>=1.5.0,<2.0.0). Go back to step 1.

  7. Navigate a bit on CKAN to make sure the tests didn’t miss anything. Review the dependencies changes and their changelogs. If everything seems fine, go ahead and make a pull request (see Making a pull request).