User Tools

Site Tools


Python Virtual Environments

What and Why

A Virtual Environment is a tool to keep the dependencies required by different projects in separate places, by creating virtual Python environments for them. It solves the “Project X depends on version 1.x but, Project Y needs 4.x” dilemma, and keeps your global site-packages directory clean and manageable. For example, you can work on a project which requires Django 1.3 while also maintaining a project which requires Django 1.0. 1)

Other things you should know

Using Virtual Environments

The python virtual environment package is installed by default on most CS machines. To make sure you can do the following:

user@computer:~/projects$ which virtualenv

Creating a new project

user@hester:~/projects$ virtualenv --no-site-packages exampleproject
The --no-site-packages flag is deprecated; it is now the default behavior.
New python executable in exampleproject/bin/python
Installing pip...............done.
user@computer:~/projects$ ls -l exampleproject/
total 4
drwxrwxr-x 2 user group 4096 Nov 25 10:16 bin
drwxrwxr-x 2 user group   30 Nov 25 10:16 include
drwxrwxr-x 3 user group   30 Nov 25 10:16 lib
drwxrwxr-x 2 user group   56 Nov 25 10:16 local
user@computer:~/projects$ cd exampleproject/


Now you need to activate your virtual environment. This will setup some path variables to make the environments bin and lib directory to be the default.

user@computer:~/projects/exampleproject$ source bin/activate

Installing Modules

After activating the virtual environment you will notice that your prompt changed a little. This is not the only thing that has changed. Your $PATH and default python have changed as well (just checkout the bin/activate script to see what else it does).

Notice that the 'bin' directory in your virtual environment has been prepended to $PATH and the python and pip executables are inside the bin directory.

(exampleproject)user@computer:~/projects/exampleproject$ echo $PATH
(exampleproject)user@computer:~/projects/exampleproject$ which python
(exampleproject)user@computer:~/projects/exampleproject$ which pip

So to actually install your own python modules you can use 'pip' or 'easy_install' to do so:

(exampleproject)user@computer:~/projects/exampleproject$ pip install docopt
Downloading/unpacking docopt
  Downloading docopt-0.6.2.tar.gz
  Running egg_info for package docopt

Installing collected packages: docopt
  Running install for docopt

Successfully installed docopt
Cleaning up...

Notice where docopt was installed (~/projects/exampleproject/local/lib/python2.7/site-packages):

(exampleproject)user@computer:~/projects/exampleproject$ ls -l local/lib/python2.7/site-packages/docopt*
-rw------- 1 user group 19946 Mar  8 23:12 local/lib/python2.7/site-packages/
-rw------- 1 user group 26140 Mar  8 23:12 local/lib/python2.7/site-packages/docopt.pyc

total 40
-rw------- 1 user group     1 Mar  8 23:12 dependency_links.txt
-rw------- 1 user group    86 Mar  8 23:12 installed-files.txt
-rw------- 1 user group 21525 Mar  8 23:12 PKG-INFO
-rw------- 1 user group   651 Mar  8 23:12 SOURCES.txt
-rw------- 1 user group     7 Mar  8 23:12 top_level.txt


To deactivate or stop working on your environment use the function that gets sourced when you activate your environment:

(exampleproject)user@computer:~/projects/exampleproject$ deactivate
/var/lib/dokuwiki/data/pages/python/virtual_environments.txt · Last modified: 2016/06/30 11:56 by kauffman

Donate Powered by PHP Valid HTML5 Valid CSS Driven by DokuWiki