Understanding Pylance’s Preference for Long Imports in Python

What will you learn?

In this detailed guide, you will delve into the rationale behind Pylance’s inclination towards long import paths over shorter ones in Python. Discover the significance of clarity, maintainability, and conflict avoidance in software development practices. Uncover how embracing longer imports can enhance your codebase and streamline your development process.

Introduction to the Problem and Solution

When utilizing Python, particularly within Visual Studio Code with the Pylance extension, you may observe a tendency towards recommending or automatically implementing longer import paths for modules and packages instead of opting for concise import statements. This behavior might initially appear perplexing. Why does a tool aimed at simplifying coding steer us towards seemingly more verbose practices?

The crux lies in promoting clarity, maintainability, and mitigating name clashes � fundamental principles crucial for scalable software development. By delving into Python’s internal import mechanisms and gaining a deeper insight into namespace management, we can decipher why Pylance advocates these practices. Practical examples will illustrate scenarios where longer imports offer advantages over shorter ones, accompanied by strategies to seamlessly integrate this approach without cluttering your codebase.


# Example showcasing a long import path recommended by Pylance
from my_project.submodule.utils.file_operations import save_to_file

# Contrasted with a shorter alternative that is less explicit 
from my_project.submodule.utils import save_to_file

# Copyright PHD


Pylance favors longer import paths due to: – Clarity: Long imports distinctly indicate the source of functions or classes within your project structure. – Maintainability: Facilitates better comprehension of dependencies for future developers or yourself. – Conflict Avoidance: Reduces the risk of importing identically named functions or classes from disparate modules.

The provided example elucidates how specifying the complete path promptly reveals the origin of the save_to_file function without necessitating an extensive search through directories named utils. This methodology enhances readability and aligns with best practices tailored for extensive projects.

  1. What is Pylance?

  2. Pylance stands as an extension for Visual Studio Code offering robust support for Python programming encompassing features like auto-completion, type checking, linting, etc.

  3. Why do some developers prefer short imports?

  4. Short imports diminish verbosity which can elevate code aesthetics especially when deep nesting fails to add clarity or value.

  5. Can I configure Pylance to suggest shorter imports?

  6. While customization avenues exist within VSCode settings and pylancerc.json file concerning various facets of Pylane�s behavior; preferences regarding import length are typically guided by industry best practices rather than configurable settings.

  7. Does employing long imports impact performance?

  8. No discernible disparity in runtime performance arises between long and short imports as both resolve to identical objects post-importation.

  9. How does Python locate modules during an import statement?

  10. Python traverses directories enlisted in sys.path commencing with directories harboring built-in modules followed by those delineated by PYTHONPATH environment variable subsequently additional paths appended via sys.path.append() method if any.


Embracing elongated import statements as advocated by tools like Pylane not only fosters clearer and more comprehensible code but also lays a foundation conducive to project scalability and growth. While acclimatizing to this change may entail an adjustment period, the benefits such as reduced ambiguity and heightened transparency undoubtedly overshadow any initial inconvenience perceived. Strive for a balanced approach customized to each project’s requirements while bearing in mind overarching objectives of quality software engineering.

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