Your Python Environment#

Choosing between Docker and Native Python#

You can either run Python in a Docker container or natively on your development machine.

Docker is easier to set up and provides a more consistent way to package your application, however it is slower, takes more resources, and is more complex to integrate with IDEs, debuggers, and other development tools.

Native Python can be more difficult to set up, especially on Windows, but once it is working it is typically easier to work with.

If you’re not sure which you want, it’s recommended to start with Docker and switch to native Python if you are unhappy with the Docker experience.

Using Docker#

See the Docker documentation to set up your development environment with Docker.

Using Native / System Python (with Virtual Environments)#

If you’re not using Docker, it’s strongly recommended that you set up your project in a virtual environment, which avoids dependency conflicts and makes it easier to run multiple Python apps on your machine.

Follow one of the sections below depending on how you want to manage your virtualenvs.

Using your IDE#

Many IDEs will manage your environments for you. This is a great and simple option that you won’t have to fiddle with. Check your specific IDE’s docs for guidance on how to do this.

Be sure to choose Python 3.11 when setting up your virtual environment. If you don’t see 3.11 as an option, you may need to install it first.

Manually managing environments#

Follow these steps if you want to manage your virtual environments outside your IDE. Using venv is recommended if you’re not sure which option to use.

Using venv#

The easiest way to set up a virtual environment manually is to use Python’s built in venv tool:

python3.11 -m venv /path/to/environment

In the command below, you should replace python3.11 with the Python version you are using (3.9 or higher), and /path/to/environment/ with the location on your system where you want to store the environment. This location can be somewhere in your project directory or anywhere else on your system. /home/<user>/.virtualenvs/<project> is a common choice that works well with virtualenvwrapper (see below).

To activate/use the environment run:

source /path/to/environment/bin/activate

You will need to activate this environment every time you work on your project.

Using virtualenv#

virtualenv is an alternate option to venv. On later versions of Python there’s no real reason to use it, but if you’re familiar with it you can keep using it without any issues. First make sure it’s installed and then run the following command:

virtualenv -p python3.11 /path/to/environment

Like above, you should replace the python3.11 variable with the version you want to use (3.9 or higher), and the /path/to/environment with wherever you want to set up the environment.

Like with venv, to activate the environment run:

source /path/to/environment/bin/activate

And, like venv, you will need to activate this environment every time you work on your project.

Using virtualenvwrapper#

Virtualenvwrapper is an optional convenience tool that helps manage virtural environments. You can use it with either venv or virtualenv above.

If you choose to use virtualenvwrapper you can use the following command to create your environment. This can be run from anywhere since virtualenvwrapper manages the location of your envs for you (usually in /home/<user>/.virtualenvs/).

mkvirtualenv -p python3.11 {{ project_name }}

Then to activate the environment you use:

workon {{ project_name }}

You can use virtualenvwrapper no matter how you created the environment. It provides a nice set of helper tools, but can be a bit finicky to set up.

Working with Python Packages#

Pegasus uses pip tools to manage Python dependencies. This allows for more explicit dependency management than a standard requirements.txt file.

Requirements Files#

Pegasus has multiple requirements files, which live in the requirements/ folder. For each set of requirements there are two files, one ending in .in and the other ending in .txt.

The files ending in have the first-class packages your app depends on. They do not have versions in them, though you can add version numbers if you want to. These are the files that you should edit when adding/removing packages.

The files ending in requirements.txt have the full list of packages your app depends on, including the dependencies of your dependencies (recursively). This file is automatically generated from the .in counterpart, and should typically not be edited by hand.

The files are the main requirements for your application, files are requirements for development-only, and are for production-only.

Working with requirements#

To modify the requirements files, you first need to install pip-tools. It is included as a dependency in the dev-requirements.txt file so if you’ve followed the local setup steps it should already be installed.

Then follow the instructions below, depending on what you want to do:

Adding or removing a package#

To add a package, add the package name to requirements/ To remove a package, remove it from requirements/

After finishing your edits, rebuild your requirements.txt file by running:

# native version
pip-compile requirements/

# docker version
docker compose exec web pip-compile requirements/

After running this you should see the package and its dependencies added to the requirements.txt file.

From there you can install the new dependencies, as described below.

Upgrading a package#

To upgrade a package, you can run the following command. In this example we are upgrading django:

# native version
pip-compile --upgrade-package django requirements/

# docker version
docker compose exec web pip-compile --upgrade-package django requirements/

To upgrade all packages, you can run:

# native version
pip-compile --upgrade requirements/

# docker version
docker compose exec web pip-compile --upgrade requirements/

From there you can install the new dependencies, as described below.

Installing Packages#

If you’re running Python natively, you can install your packages with the following command. Run this after activating your virtual environment:

pip install -r requirements/requirements.txt

In Docker your Python packages are installed at container build time. This means that any time you want to change your installed new packages, you have to rebuild your container.

You can do this by running

docker compose build

Confusingly, running pip install or docker compose exec web pip install does not work.

The make requirements shortcut for Docker#

Pegasus ships with a convenience target for rebuilding requirements with Docker. Any time you make changes to a file you can run it with:

make requirements

Behind the scenes this will:

  1. Rebuild all your -requirements.txt files from your files with pip-compile.

  2. Rebuild your containers (installing the new packages).

  3. Restart your containers.

For more information, see the docker documentation.