Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

Workingenv is dead, long live Virtualenv!

A lot of people have found workingenv useful, but it’s always been a bit fragile. If you’ve seen the …/site.py is not a setuptools-generated site.py; please remove it. message, you know what I mean.

For a while I tried to refactor and improve workingenv, but it didn’t go very well. So I decided to ditch it completely and revisit the ideas of virtual-python.py. That script works by copying the Python executable, and in doing so change sys.prefix — it’s pretty consistent that all other paths in Python derive from sys.prefix.

The result is virtualenv, which I think is now featureful enough for general use. It might still be buggy, but it’s worked well for some of us, and I expect the bugs to all be much easier than they were in workingenv.

Unlike virtual-python.py, virtualenv works on Windows and in the latest release also Mac framework builds. It also handles site-packages better, so you can manage some of your packages using packages from your OS distribution (e.g., debs or rpms), while also installing environment-local packages.

So, in summary: use virtualenv, don’t use workingenv. And if you were using the —requirements option to workingenv, the package PoachEggs lets you do a similar batch installation after you’ve created the environment.

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This is the personal site of Ian Bicking. It should (but I fear cannot) go without saying that the opinions expressed here are my own.