From virtualenv to virtualenvwrapper

October 22, 2014

While virtualenv (VE) is a very valuable tool, one quickly realizes that there might be a need for some usability tweaks.

Namely, activating and deactivating a VE should be quick and intuitive, much in the same way as any other shell commands are.

Enter (*drumroll*) virtualenvwrapper. This tool allows you to create, activate and deactivate and remove VEs with a single command each.

  • mkvirtualenv
  • workon : if you switch between independent Python installations, workon  lets you see the available VEs and switch between them, rather than deactivating one VE and activating the next one.
  • rmvirtualenv

Very handy.

After installation of VEW, we need to set up a couple of environment variables in our .bashrc or .profile file, and then we’re good to go.

Physically, the VEs created with VEW all reside in a single folder, which should be hidden from regular usage by e.g. giving it a dotted name ( e.g. ~/.virtualenvs ). This effectively hides the VE engine room details from sight, so developers can better focus on the task at hand (or, as someone says, this tool “reduces cognitive load”).

You can also find a convincing screencast here.

So go ahead and try it !

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