Andrew Wilkinson

Random Ramblings on Programming

Simplifying Django dependencies with virtualenv

with one comment

books in a stack (a stack of books) by austinevanvirtualenv is a tool for simplifying dependency management in Python applications. As the name suggests, virtualenv creates a virtual environment which makes it easy to install Python packages without needing root privileges to do so.

To use the packages installed in a virtual environment you run the activate script in the bin directory of the virtual environment. This is fine when you’re working on the command line, but you don’t want to have to remember this step when running the debug server, and it’s hard to get that to work when the site is deployed under mod_wsgi.

To make things easier you can add the appropriate directory from the virtual environment to Python’s path as part of, or the appropriate fcgi or wsgi control script.

import os
import sys
import site

root_dir = os.path.abspath(os.path.join(os.path.dirname(__file__), '..'))

site.addsitedir(os.path.join(root_dir, 've/lib/python%i.%i/site-packages' % (sys.version_info[0], sys.version_info[1])))

Just add the code above to the top of your file and the ve virtual environment will always be activated when you run the script.

Photo of books in a stack (a stack of books) by austinevan.


Written by Andrew Wilkinson

August 24, 2010 at 1:23 pm

One Response

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  1. Hi Andrew,

    Have you tried Doug Hellmann’s virtaulenvwrapper (

    Kalle Svensson

    August 24, 2010 at 8:36 pm

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