Using wheel files with conda

If you have software in a Python wheel file and want to use it with conda or install it in a conda environment, there are three ways.

The best way is to obtain the source code for the software and build a conda package from the source and not from a wheel. This helps ensure that the new package uses other conda packages to satisfy its dependencies.

The second best way is to build a conda package from the wheel file. This tells conda more about the files present than a pip install. It is also less likely than a pip install to cause errors by overwriting (or “clobbering”) files. Building a conda package from the wheel file also has the advantage that any clobbering is more likely to happen at build time and not runtime.

The third way is to use pip to install a wheel file into a conda environment. Some conda users have used this option safely. The first two ways are still the safest and most reliable.

Building a conda package from a wheel file

To build a conda package from a wheel file, install the .whl file in the conda recipe’s bld.bat or build.sh file.

You may download the .whl file in the source section of the conda recipe’s meta.yaml file.

You may instead put the URL directly in the pip install command.

EXAMPLE: The conda recipe for TensorFlow has a pip install command in build.sh with the URL of a .whl file. The meta.yaml file does not download or list the .whl file.

NOTE: It is important to pip install only the one desired package. Whenever possible, install dependencies with conda and not pip.

We strongly recommend using the --no-deps option in the pip install command.

If you run pip install without the --no-deps option, pip will often install dependencies in your conda recipe and those dependencies will become part of your package. This wastes space in the package and increases the risk of file overlap, file clobbering, and broken packages.