This is an old copy of the Python FAQ. The information here may be outdated.

What is __init__.py used for?

Files named __init__.py are used to mark directories on disk as a Python package directories. If you have the files

mydir/spam/__init__.py
mydir/spam/module.py

and mydir is on your path, you can import the code in module.py as:

import spam.module

or

from spam import module

If you remove the __init__.py file, Python will no longer look for submodules inside that directory, so attempts to import the module will fail.

The __init__.py file is usually empty, but can be used to export selected portions of the package under more convenient names, hold convenience functions, etc. Given the example above, the contents of the __init__ module can be accessed as

import spam

CATEGORY: programming

 

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