Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder
Futureproofing Your Python Tools
The people who maintain Python and key Python platforms want to help you protect the code you write and depend on.
If you write software in Python, or depend on something that's in Python, this is for you.
Some of you are writing Python 2, or you still have software you depend on that is written in Python 2. January 1st, 2020, is the day that official support for Python 2 stops. So this is a fresh heads-up that you should really have a migration plan and start working on it, to move to Python 3. A lot of stuff you depend on already works on Python 3, and is even pledging to end Python 2 support in or before 2020. And it's easier than it's ever been to port your own code from 2 to 3.
You should probably upgrade to Python 3.7. If you want to test out 3.8, it has some changes in how it does warnings, and the first release candidate is out.
But, speaking of futureproofing:
Code authors move in and out of projects and companies. Six months or 18 months later, maybe you want to update and re-use, re-release or re-deploy code someone else wrote. Or you want your team to be able to reuse what you did after you leave, which means you need the code to run, and you need them to have the password so they can update stuff.
Have you written Python code that they have published as a package on the Python Package Index, pypi.org, so other people can use pip install to install it?
(And if you want to do that but don't know how? Check out this recently improved tutorial to help you do that.)
Publishing that package is a great way of making it so other people can run and deploy it, even within other parts of your organization.
But -- who actually has the keys to the castle? Who can upload a new version, or delete a version that has a problem?
You should probably make sure multiple people have either "owner" or "maintainer" privileges on the project on PyPI.
And you should review your project security history display, which lists sensitive events (such as "file removed from release version 1.0.1") in your PyPI user account and your PyPI project. We just added this display, so you can look at things that have happened in your user account or project, and check for signs someone's stolen your credentials.
And then how do you make it a little harder for vandals, spammers, and thieves to take over your account and upload malware or delete all the packages? Add two-factor auth for your login, like you would with your bank. Use an app on your phone to give you a six-digit code, or use a physical security device like a Yubikey.
And how do you make it easier to automate publishing new versions of your package, and make it safer to save your credential in the cloud? We've made it possible for you to create an "API token" where all it can do is upload, so you can use that instead of your PyPI password.
With well-tested Python 3 migration tools and new PyPI security features, now is a great moment to invest in robustness for Python software that you make or depend on.
[This blog post is kind of unwieldy, because it's about too many different things. I won't be publicizing it that much and instead will probably reuse text from it in more focused announcements elsewhere. But I'm publishing it here as a summary of my recent work, because management and communications for the projects above are what I've been working on recently for the Python Software Foundation. (A different kind of summary is on the Clients page for Changeset Consulting.)]