Installing virtualenvwrapper for Python 3.4 on Ubuntu

After listening to an inspiring talk by Kenneth Reitz about transitioning from Python 2 to Python 3 at PyCon Sweden (I'll write a blog post about it sooner or later), I've decided that I should try to stick to Python 3 as much as possible.

So the first step in that direction was to set up my working environment in a Python 3 friendly way, hence to install Virtualenwrapper for Python 3. Here's how I did it.

Virtualenwrapper documentation specifies that Virtualenvwrapper has been tested under Python 2.6-3.3, but no mention of Python 3.4. Being lazy and not really willing to install a third version of Python on my computer (Ubuntu 14.04 comes with Python 2.7.6 and Python 3.4 by default), I decided to give it try with what I had. Everything seems to work flawlessly so far, just keep it in mind in case you want to try to follow these instructions.

Setting up Virtualenvwrapper

Install pip for Python 3:

sudo apt-get install python3-pip

Install Virtualenvwrapper for Python 3:

sudo pip3 install virtualenvwrapper

So far so good. Now it is time to configure Virtualenvwrapper.

Create a folder for your virtualenvs (I use ~/.virtualenvs) and set it as WORKON_HOME:

mkdir ~/.virtualenvs
export WORKON_HOME=~/.virtualenvs

Add the following lines to ~/.bashrc:

VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_PYTHON='/usr/bin/python3' # This needs to be placed before the virtualenvwrapper command
source /usr/local/bin/

Close and re-open your shell and you're ready to go. Here are the basic commands for using virtualenvwrapper:

mkvirtualenv virtualenv_name # Create virtualenv
workon virtualenv_name # Activate/switch to a virtualenv
deactivate virtualenv_name # Deactivate virtualenv

Congratulations! Your Virtualenvwrapper for Python 3 is now ready to use.


EDIT: in a previous version of this article, I suggested to use the postactivate script to automatically navigate to the project folder when activating the virtualenv. However, since I discovered that such a task is automatically performed by the projects plugin, I updated the post accordingly.

While the possibility to have isolated virtual environments just a mkvirtualenv away had immediately convinced me of the usefulness of Virtualenvwrapper, projects made me falling in love for it.

My typical workflow is to create a virtualenv and then create a project folder with the same name. So why not setting up Virtualenvwrapper to automatically do it for me every time I create a new virtualenv? Specify PROJECT_HOME in ~/.bashrc will do the trick:

PROJECT_HOME='/path/to/where/you/want/your/project/folder/to/be/created' # This needs to be placed before the virtualenvwrapper command as well
source /usr/local/bin/

Now, when typing

mkproject my_project

Virtualenvwrapper will automatically create a virtualenv and a folder called my_project.

Cherry on top, projects automaticatilly navigates to the project folder when activating the virtualenv. Thus, when typing

workon my_project

Virtualenvwrapper activates the virtualenv and teleports me to ~/Projects/my_project. Neat!

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