Obviously such an amendment would need a PEP.
I’d be concerned that we are normalising the idea of reading metadata directly from
pyproject.toml, rather than reading it from the core metadata fields in an actual metadata file (
PKG-INFO in a sdist, and
METADATA in a wheel or installed project). The
pyproject.toml file is by definition less reliable than those places, because fields can be dynamic in
pyproject.toml and filled in later, for those other locations. I don’t have a specific issue here, just a general feeling that we’re taking a risk, and we should be cautious about assuming everything will be OK.
Even just looking at dependencies, tools can’t reliably get a project’s dependencies without invoking the build backend unless they are willing to reject any project that declares its dependencies as dynamic. And editable installs are explicitly allowed to inject additional dependencies even if the
pyproject.toml states that the dependencies are static. How would a PEP 621 spec change address that?
The idea of making name and version optional would be quite problematic, unless it was tightly constrained. Many tools (for example, pip) rely on the idea that a package is uniquely identified by its name and version. If we combine making those fields optional with the idea of tools reading metadata from
pyproject.toml, we could end up with tools that can’t tell if two projects are identical or not.
Basically, I think this would be quite a complex and risky PEP to write with sufficient precision to ensure we don’t cause problems because people misinterpret the spec, or read it in different, incompatible ways.
And I’m sorry to go on about this again, but this still seems to be motivated mostly by a sense of “it would be nice if we could…” and not by actual user requirements or use cases. This is one of my biggest reservations with PEP 723, and it sounds like you’re now simply proposing to push that problem a step further back, and apply it to the definition of
pyproject.toml as well.
I’m not against amending PEP 621 if we need to. There’s an ongoing discussion in Projects that aren't meant to generate a wheel and `pyproject.toml`, which may well result in a proposal for a change to that spec. But that discussion needs to run its course and get some sort of consensus, and then someone needs to write a PEP proposing the agreed changes to the spec. If PEP 723 relies on modifications to PEP 621, then I don’t see how we can reasonably call PEP 723 ready for approval before that happens. And conversely, if it allows embedding of something that looks like
pyproject.toml, but to which different rules apply, it’s both misleading and harmful to claim it’s proposing an “embedded