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Finding Odin - Part 1 - Python3 installation

(This post is part of the finding odin series.)

Read the introduction: Finding my cat Odin using Python and Elasticsearch.

We will first install the Python components we will need to create our pet finding search engine.

Objective: Install Python3.5.2 and virtualenv.

Operating system/environment

I develop in an Ubuntu 14.04 VM. I unfortunately do not have time to explain the process of creating an Ubuntu VM. Please search for tutorials on installing Ubuntu 14.04 via Vagrant for your operating system.

Python3 installation

Since I will use Python3 for developing this project, let's cover the installation process.

Download and untar the Python 3.5.2 source tarball

$ wget "https://www.python.org/ftp/python/3.5.2/Python-3.5.2.tgz"
$ tar -xf Python-3.5.2.tgz
$ cd Python-3.5.2

Install the Python3 headers

$ sudo apt-get install python3-dev

(Optionally) install readline for useful tools like ptpython

$ sudo apt-get install libreadline6 libreadline6-dev

Compile and install from source. By using altinstall, we ensure we don't override the currently installed system Python. In other words, we have to explicitly call python3.5 instead of just python to use this Python version. Once we set up our virtual environments that will not be an issue.

$ ./configure
$ make
$ sudo make altinstall

Afterward, verify the Python version is correct.

$ python3.5 --version
Python 3.5.2

Now we install setuptools so we can get access to pip, the Python package manager.

$ wget https://bootstrap.pypa.io/ez_setup.py
$ sudo python3.5 ez_setup.py

The command above installed a tool called easy_install. We will use easy_install to install pip. pip is a superior python package manager, but we have to use easy_install to initially download pip since easy_install ships directly with Python.

$ sudo easy_install pip

Now we use pip to install virtualenv, the tool for managing virtual environments. Virtual environments allow you to use isolate library installations to a specific project. This allows us to have specific library versions associated with specific projects, protecting us from breaking changes when we upgrade a library that may break backwards compatibility with a previous version.

$ sudo pip install virtualenv

Installing a virtualenv

Create a directory called .envs in the home directory. We will store virtualenvs here. cd to the directory after you create it.

$ mkdir ~/.envs
$ cd ~/.envs

Create a virtualenv called austinpetfinder. We will instruct this virtual environment to use our recently installed Python3.5.2.

~/.envs$ virtualenv --python=python3.5 austinpetfinder

We just created the virtual environment, but to use it we must "activate" it. We activate the virtualenv using the following command:

$ source ~/.envs/austinpetfinder/bin/activate

Afterwards, you should see (austinpetfinder) prepended to the shell prompt. Now verify the python version within the virtualenv is Python 3.5.2.

(austinpetfinder)$ python --version
Python 3.5.2

When you are finished working with a virtualenv (perhaps you want to switch virtualenvs), run the deactivate command. You will see the virtualenv name disappear from the shell prompt.

(austinpetfinder)$ deactivate
$ # your next command


We now have Python3.5.2 installed as well as the virtual environment manager virtualenv and the Python package manager pip.

Up next

Next we will create a "hello-world" boilerplate application that will establish the structure and convention of our pet finding search engine.

Tagged as python

(This post is part of the finding odin series.)

Date published - November 23, 2016