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What's Polylith?

For a more visual quickstart, check out the short videos in the Videos & tutorials section.

Polylith is an architecture, with tooling support, originally built for Clojure. This project brings Polylith to Python.

From the official Polylith Architecture docs:

... Polylith is a software architecture that applies functional thinking at the system scale. It helps us build simple, maintainable, testable, and scalable backend systems. ...

What problems does Polylith solve?

Polylith offers a solution to the Microservice vs Monolith tradeoffs. Microservices are great, but the standard kind of setup will probably introduce a new set of problems:

  • Source code is spread out in several repositories.
  • Duplicated code.
  • Shared code need to be packaged as libraries - that means even more repositories.
  • Microservices running different versions of tools and dependencies, potentially also different Python versions.

Phew, that's a lot to maintain.

Polylith addresses these types of issues, with simplistic solutions. In addition to that, Polylith is very much about the Developer Experience. It has support for REPL Driven Development - a workflow that makes coding both joyful and interactive.

If you can improve just one thing in your software development, make it getting faster feedback. 1

This type of Architecture will also let you postpone design decisions, like going for a Monolith or REST Microservices or Serverless functions. Your team can instead choose to focus on writing code and creating features. Make the decisions on how to deploy when you are ready for it.

Well suited for Monorepos

Polylith is using a components-first architecture. You can think of it as building blocks, very much like LEGO bricks. All code lives in a Monorepo, available for reuse. Python code - the bricks - is separated from the infrastructure and the actual building of artifacts.

This may sound complicated, but it isn't.

polylith bricks

In short, Polylith is about:

  • Viewing code as bricks that can be combined into features
  • Making it easy to reuse code across apps, tools, serverless functions and services
  • Keeping it simple

Polylith for Python?

The Python tools for the Polylith Architecture is available as two options:

  • A Poetry plugin. The plugin will add Polylith specific features to Poetry.
  • A standalone CLI supporting Hatch, PDM, Rye and Pantsbuild (and Poetry).

Use cases

Microservices and apps

The main use case is to support having one or more microservices (or apps) in a Monorepo, and share code between the services.


Polylith for Python has support for building libraries to be published at PyPI, even if it isn't the main use case. More details about how to package libraries in Packaging & deploying.

Structure for simplicity

Organizing, sorting and structuring things is difficult. Is there one folder structure to rule them all?

There should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious way to do it. 2

A good folder structure is one that makes it simple to reuse existing code and makes it easy to add new code. You shouldn't have to worry about these things. The Polylith Architecture offers a way to organize code that is simple, framework agnostic and scalable as projects grow.

See The Polylith Workspace for how such a structure looks like.

polylith developer experience

Simple is better

The main takeaway is to view code as small, reusable bricks, that ideally does one thing only. A brick is not the same thing as a library. So, what's the difference? Well, a library is a full blown feature. A brick can be a single function, or a parser. It can also be a thin wrapper around a third party tool.

Simple is better than complex. 2

In Python, a file is a module. One or more modules in a folder becomes a package. A good thing with this is that the code will be namespaced when importing it. Where does the idea of bricks fit in here? Well, a brick is a Python namespace package. Simple as that.

Namespaces are one honking great idea -- let's do more of those! 2

If you want to dig a bit deeper, you will find a lot more information about the Polylith Architecture in general from the official docs.

  1. Dave Farley on twitter 

  2. From the Zen of Python