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How To Create Custom Rules for Libraries?

The majority of Sourcery's default and optional rules are about Python built-in functions. But you can create rules for libraries as well.

A custom rule helps you follow the best practices for your libraries. It can remind you to:

  • set optional but recommended parameters
  • avoid functions or options with known issues
  • replace deprecated functions with new ones

The guidelines here are valid for all kinds of libraries:

  • The modules of the Python standard library.
  • PyPI packages.
  • Your internal libraries.


  • pattern can contain a fully qualified name.
  • replacement shouldn't contain a fully qualified name.

Rules Without a Replacement

Let's say you want to write a rule that flags all usages of a deprecated parameter. For example, you want to ensure that calls to pandas.read_csv() don't use the deprecated argument prefix.

In such a rule, you can refer to the pandas.read_csv function. Sourcery will recognize it, even if you import pandas with an alias like pd.

  - id: deprecated-csv-prefix
    description: Argument `prefix` for `read_csv` has been deprecated
    pattern: pandas.read_csv(..., prefix=${pre}, ...)
    explanation: |
      See the [pandas docs for read_csv](
      - match: |
          import pandas
          df = pandas.read_csv("data.csv", prefix="ab")
      - match: |
          import pandas as pd
          df = pd.read_csv("data.csv", prefix="ab")
      - no-match: |
          import pandas as pd
          df = pd.read_csv("data.csv")

Rules With an Empty Replacement

It's also possible to delete a piece of code matching a pattern by providing an empty replacement. In these rules, you can again reference the library with its fully qualified name ("dot syntax").

For example, this optional rule (contributed by lasinludwig) removes all usages of the debugging function streamlist.show_experiment:

  - id: flag-streamlit-show
    description: Don't use Streamlit's `experimental_show` in production code
    explanation: |
      `st.experimental_show` should be used only for debugging purposes. See the [Streamlit docs]( Use `st.write()` in production
    pattern: streamlit.experimental_show(...)
    replacement: ''
      - match: |
          import streamlit as st
      - match: |
          import streamlit as st
          def some_function():
      - match: |
          import streamlit
      - no-match: |
          import streamlit as st
      - match: |
          from streamlit import experimental_show
      - match: |
          from streamlit import experimental_show as exp_show
      - no-match: other_package.experimental_show()
      - no-match: |
          import st_other_package as st
          def some_function():
      - no-debug
      - streamlit

Library Rules With a Replacement

This is where things get tricky.

Caveat: The replacement field is interpreted literally. Even if it contains dots.

If you have conventions that you always import a library with a specific alias, you might use replacements with that alias. E.g. this works, if you always import pandas with the alias pd:

  - id: deprecated_csv_squeeze_false
    description: The parameter `squeeze` for `pandas.read_csv()` has been deprecated
    pattern: pd.read_csv(${before*}, squeeze=False, ${after*})
    replacement: pd.read_csv(${before}, ${after})
    explanation: |
      False is the default value for squeeze.
      You can just omit this argument.


Custom rules are helpful to make those "you should remember" caveats of internal and external libraries explicit.

  • In the pattern field, you can use fully qualified names. Sourcery will resolve the imports and flag any code that matches the pattern.

  • Defining a replacement for library rules is more tricky. It works only with simple replacements or if your code follows strict import conventions.