This is an optional method for initializing conanfile values, designed for inheritance from python_requires. Assuming we have a base/1.1 recipe:

from conan import ConanFile

class MyConanfileBase:
    license = "MyLicense"
    settings = "os", # tuple!

class PyReq(ConanFile):
    name = "base"
    version = "1.1"
    package_type = "python-require"

We could reuse and inherit from it with:

from conan import ConanFile

class Pkg(ConanFile):
    license = "MIT"
    settings = "arch", # tuple!
    python_requires = "base/1.1"
    python_requires_extend = "base.MyConanfileBase"

    def init(self):
        base = self.python_requires["base"].module.MyConanfileBase
        self.settings = base.settings + self.settings  # Note, adding 2 tuples = tuple
        self.license = base.license  # License is overwritten

The final Pkg conanfile will have both os and arch as settings, and MyLicense as license.

To extend the options of the base class, it is necessary to call the self.options.update() method:

from conan import ConanFile

class BaseConan:
    options = {"base": [True, False]}
    default_options = {"base": True}

class PyReq(ConanFile):
    name = "base"
    version = "1.0.0"
    package_type = "python-require"

When the init() is called, the self.options object is already initialized. Then, updating the self.default_options is useless, and it is necessary to update the self.options with both the base class options and the base class default options values:

from conan import ConanFile

class DerivedConan(ConanFile):
    name = "derived"
    python_requires = "base/1.0.0"
    python_requires_extend = "base.BaseConan"
    options = {"derived": [True, False]}
    default_options = {"derived": False}

    def init(self):
        base = self.python_requires["base"].module.BaseConan
        # Note we pass the base options and default_options
        self.options.update(base.options, base.default_options)

This method can also be useful if you need to unconditionally initialize class attributes like license or description or any other from datafiles other than conandata.yml. For example, you can have a json file containing the information about the license, description and author for the library:

{"license": "MIT", "description": "This is my awesome library.", "author": "Me"}

Then, you can load that information from the init() method:

import os
import json
from conan import ConanFile
from import load

class Pkg(ConanFile):
    exports = "data.json" # Important that it is exported with the recipe

    def init(self):
        data = load(self, os.path.join(self.recipe_folder, "data.json"))
        d = json.loads(data)
        self.license = d["license"]
        self.description = d["description"] = d["author"]


Best practices

  • Try to keep your python_requires as simple as possible, and do not reuse attributes from them (the main need for the init() method), trying to avoid the complexity of this init() method. In general inheritance can have more issues than composition (or in other words “use composition over inheritance” as a general programming good practice), so try to avoid it if possible.

  • Do not abuse init() for other purposes other than listed here, nor use the Python private ConanFile.__init__ constructor.

  • The init() method executes at recipe load time. It cannot contain conditionals on settings, options, conf, or use any dependencies information other than the above python_requires.