When you’re first introduced to Python, the concept of a virtual environment might not be the first thing you encounter. However, as you dive deeper into Python development, especially when dealing with multiple projects, understanding and using virtual environments becomes essential.
What is a Python virtual environment?
A Python virtual environment is an isolated environment where you can install packages and dependencies that are separate from those installed in other virtual environments and your system’s default Python environment. Each virtual environment has its own Python binary and can have its own unique set of installed Python packages in its site directories.
In essence, it’s like having a container solely dedicated to your Python project, where you have everything you need and nothing you don’t, without interfering with the other containers (or global environment).
Why Do We Need?
Let’s consider a scenario: You are working on two web-based Python projects, one requires Django 2.0, and the other needs Django 3.0. If you install both versions of Django in the global environment, there will be a conflict. This is where virtual environments come to the rescue.
By using a separate virtual environment for each project, you can install the appropriate version of Django (or any other package) in each one, and the two projects will remain independent of each other, preventing any conflicts.
In summary, Python virtual environments allow developers to:
- Maintain project dependencies separately.
- Avoid package version conflicts between projects.
- Keep the global site-packages directory clean and manageable.
How to create a Python virtual environment step-by-step
Ensure Python is installed
First, ensure that Python is installed on your system. You can do this by typing the following command into your terminal or command prompt:
Install the virtualenv package
Python includes a built-in module for creating virtual environments since version 3.4. If you are using a version older than 3.4, you will need to use the virtualenv package. You…