Difference Between Module and Package in Python

Difference Between Module and Package in Python

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Vikram
Vikram Singh
Assistant Manager - Content
Updated on Jan 24, 2024 14:48 IST

Confused with modules and packages in Python, then this article is for you. This article briefly discusses the Difference Between Modules and Packages in Python.

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If you have a basic knowledge of Python or you have created any program in Python, you must have come across different Python packages such as ‘numpy’, ‘pandas’, ‘matplotlib’, ‘seaborn’, etc., and Python modules such as ‘math’, ‘random’, ‘datetime’ etc. Even using them frequently, we often need clarification about modules and packages in Python. 

In Python, both modules and packages organize and structure the code but serve different purposes.

In simple terms, a module is a single file containing Python code, whereas a package is a collection of modules that are organized in a directory hierarchy.

Let’s explore the differences between them.

Table of Content

Difference Between Module and Package in Python

Parameter

Module

Package

Definition

It can be a simple Python file (.py extensions) that contains collections of functions and global variables.

A Package is a collection of different modules with an _init_.py file.

Purpose

Code organization

Code distribution and reuse

Organization

Code within a single file

Related modules in a directory hierarchy

Sub-modules

None

Multiple sub-modules and sub-packages

Required Files

Only Python File(.py format)

‘_init_.py’ file and python files

How to import

import module_name

import package_name.module_name

Example

math, random, os, datetime, csv

Numpy, Pandas, Matplotlib, django

What is a Module in Python?

In Python, a module is a single file containing Python definitions and statements. These definitions and statements can include variables, functions, and classes and can be used to organize related functionality into a single, reusable package. Module organizes and reuses code in Python by grouping related code into a single file.

Modules can be imported and used in other Python files using the import statement.

Some popular modules in Python are math, random, csv, and datetime. 

Example: Consider a Python module math.py that contains a function to calculate the square of a number.


 
#math.py module
def square(i):
return x**2
Copy code

This module can be imported and used in the different files as follows:


 
#main.py file
import math
print(math.square(5)) #output 25
Copy code

Must Check: Types of Modules in Python

Must Check: Working with Python datetime module 

What is a Package in Python?

Python Packages are collections of modules that provide a set of related functionalities, and these modules are organized in a directory hierarchy. In simple terms, packages in Python are a way of organizing related modules in a single namespace.

  • Packages in Python are installed using a package manager like pip (a tool for installing and managing Python packages).
  • Each Python package must contain a file named _init_.py. 
    • _init_ file may be empty.
    • This file contains the initialization code for the corresponding package.
    • Some popular Python packages are: NumPy, Pandas, and Matplotlib.

Example: Let there be any package (named my_package) that contains two sub-modules (mod_1, and mod_2)


 
my_package/
_init_.py
mod_1.py
mod_2.py
Copy code

Note: init.py file is required to make Python treat the dictionary as a package.

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Key Difference Between Python Module and Python Package

  • The module is a single Python file that can be imported into another module. In contrast, a package is a collection of modules organized into a directory hierarchy.
  • A package can have multiple sub-packages and modules, and each module and sub-package has its own namespace, whereas when modules are imported, their content is placed inside a namespace.
  • The module is initialized when first imported into a program, whereas the package is initialized when one of its modules is imported.
    •  Both package and module remain in the memory until the program exits.
  • A package is installed using the import keyword followed by the package name, and you can access the module and sub-packages within the package name using dot notation. In contrast, the module can be directly installed using the import keyword followed by the module name.

Conclusion

Python packages and modules play an important role when writing any program in Python. In this article, we have discussed the difference between modules and packages in Python.

Hope you will like the article.

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FAQs on Difference Between Modules and Packages in Python

What is a Module in Python?

A Python module is essentially a .py file containing Python code, which may include functions, classes, or variables. Modules are used to break down large programs into smaller, manageable, and organized sections.

What is a Package in Python?

A package in Python is a collection of Python modules. It is essentially a directory with a file named __init__.py, which may be empty but signifies to Python that this directory is a package. Packages allow for a hierarchical structuring of the module namespace.

How are Modules and Packages Imported in Python?

Modules can be imported using the import statement. For example, import module_name will import a module. Similarly, to import a module from a package, you use import package_name.module_name.

Can You Import Everything from a Module at Once?

Yes, you can import every object in a module using the asterisk (*) operator, for example, from module_name import *. However, this is not considered best practice as it can lead to conflicts and readability issues.

How Does Python Locate a Module or Package to Import?

When importing a module or package, Python first searches the current directory, then the directories in the PYTHONPATH environment variable, and finally the default paths. If the module or package is not found, a ModuleNotFoundError is raised.

How to Install a Python Package?

Python packages can be installed using pip, the Python package manager. For instance, pip install package_name installs the latest version of a package, and pip install package_name==version_number installs a specific version.

How to Update a Python Package?

To update a specific package, use the command pip install --upgrade package_name. You can also update all installed packages using a combination of pip freeze and pip install --upgrade.

What's the Difference Between a Module and a Package?

The key difference is that a module is a single Python file, while a package is a directory that contains multiple modules and possibly sub-packages. A package requires an __init__.py file, but a module does not.

Are There Any Best Practices for Using Modules and Packages?

Yes, it's important to maintain readability and avoid namespace conflicts. For example, avoid using from module_name import * and prefer importing specific functions or using aliases to maintain clarity.

About the Author
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Vikram Singh
Assistant Manager - Content

Vikram has a Postgraduate degree in Applied Mathematics, with a keen interest in Data Science and Machine Learning. He has experience of 2+ years in content creation in Mathematics, Statistics, Data Science, and Mac... Read Full Bio