virtualenvwrapper Documentation

virtualenvwrapper Documentation
virtualenvwrapper Documentation
Release 4.7.3.dev12
Doug Hellmann
July 13, 2017
3.1 Installation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2 Command Reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.3 Customizing Virtualenvwrapper . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.4 Project Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.5 Tips and Tricks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.6 For Developers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.7 Existing Extensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.8 Why virtualenvwrapper is (Mostly) Not Written In Python
3.9 CHANGES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.10 Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.1 Shell Aliases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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virtualenvwrapper is a set of extensions to Ian Bicking’s virtualenv tool. The extensions include wrappers for creating
and deleting virtual environments and otherwise managing your development workflow, making it easier to work on
more than one project at a time without introducing conflicts in their dependencies.
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1. Organizes all of your virtual environments in one place.
2. Wrappers for managing your virtual environments (create, delete, copy).
3. Use a single command to switch between environments.
4. Tab completion for commands that take a virtual environment as argument.
5. User-configurable hooks for all operations (see Per-User Customization).
6. Plugin system for more creating sharable extensions (see Extending Virtualenvwrapper).
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Chapter 1. Features
The best way to explain the features virtualenvwrapper gives you is to show it in use.
First, some initialization steps. Most of this only needs to be done one time. You will want to add the command
to source /usr/local/bin/ to your shell startup file, changing the path to depending on where it was installed by pip.
$ pip install virtualenvwrapper
$ export WORKON_HOME=~/Envs
$ mkdir -p $WORKON_HOME
$ source /usr/local/bin/
$ mkvirtualenv env1
virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts Creating /Users/dhellmann/Envs/env1/bin/predeactivate
virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts Creating /Users/dhellmann/Envs/env1/bin/postdeactivate
virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts Creating /Users/dhellmann/Envs/env1/bin/preactivate
virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts Creating /Users/dhellmann/Envs/env1/bin/postactivate New python execu
(env1)$ ls $WORKON_HOME
env1 hook.log
Now we can install some software into the environment.
(env1)$ pip install django
Downloading/unpacking django
Downloading Django-1.1.1.tar.gz (5.6Mb): 5.6Mb downloaded
Running egg_info for package django
Installing collected packages: django
Running install for django
changing mode of build/scripts-2.6/ from 644 to 755
changing mode of /Users/dhellmann/Envs/env1/bin/ to 755
Successfully installed django
We can see the new package with lssitepackages:
(env1)$ lssitepackages
Of course we are not limited to a single virtualenv:
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(env1)$ ls $WORKON_HOME
(env1)$ mkvirtualenv env2
Installing setuptools...............................
........... ...............................done.
virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts Creating /Users/dhellmann/Envs/env2/bin/predeactivate
virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts Creating /Users/dhellmann/Envs/env2/bin/postdeactivate
virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts Creating /Users/dhellmann/Envs/env2/bin/preactivate
virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts Creating /Users/dhellmann/Envs/env2/bin/postactivate New python execu
(env2)$ ls $WORKON_HOME
Switch between environments with workon:
(env2)$ workon env1
(env1)$ echo $VIRTUAL_ENV
The workon command also includes tab completion for the environment names, and invokes customization scripts as
an environment is activated or deactivated (see Per-User Customization).
(env1)$ echo 'cd $VIRTUAL_ENV' >> $WORKON_HOME/postactivate
(env1)$ workon env2
(env2)$ pwd
postmkvirtualenv is run when a new environment is created, letting you automatically install commonly-used tools.
(env2)$ echo 'pip install sphinx' >> $WORKON_HOME/postmkvirtualenv
(env3)$ mkvirtualenv env3
New python executable in env3/bin/python
Installing setuptools...............................
........... ...............................done.
virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts Creating /Users/dhellmann/Envs/env3/bin/predeactivate
virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts Creating /Users/dhellmann/Envs/env3/bin/postdeactivate
virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts Creating /Users/dhellmann/Envs/env3/bin/preactivate
virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts Creating /Users/dhellmann/Envs/env3/bin/postactivate
Downloading/unpacking sphinx
Downloading Sphinx-0.6.5.tar.gz (972Kb): 972Kb downloaded
Running egg_info for package sphinx
no previously-included directories found matching 'doc/_build'
Downloading/unpacking Pygments>=0.8 (from sphinx)
Downloading Pygments-1.3.1.tar.gz (1.1Mb): 1.1Mb downloaded
Running egg_info for package Pygments
Downloading/unpacking Jinja2>=2.1 (from sphinx)
Downloading Jinja2-2.4.tar.gz (688Kb): 688Kb downloaded
Running egg_info for package Jinja2
warning: no previously-included files matching '*' found under directory 'docs/_build/doctrees'
Downloading/unpacking docutils>=0.4 (from sphinx)
Downloading docutils-0.6.tar.gz (1.4Mb): 1.4Mb downloaded
Running egg_info for package docutils
Installing collected packages: docutils, Jinja2, Pygments, sphinx
Running install for docutils
Running install for Jinja2
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Running install for Pygments
Running install for sphinx
no previously-included directories found matching 'doc/_build'
Installing sphinx-build script to /Users/dhellmann/Envs/env3/bin
Installing sphinx-quickstart script to /Users/dhellmann/Envs/env3/bin
Installing sphinx-autogen script to /Users/dhellmann/Envs/env3/bin
Successfully installed docutils Jinja2 Pygments sphinx (env3)$
(venv3)$ which sphinx-build
Through a combination of the existing functions defined by the core package (see Command Reference), third-party
plugins (see Extending Virtualenvwrapper), and user-defined scripts (see Per-User Customization) virtualenvwrapper
gives you a wide variety of opportunities to automate repetitive operations.
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Chapter 2. Introduction
Supported Shells
virtualenvwrapper is a set of shell functions defined in Bourne shell compatible syntax. Its automated tests run under
these shells on OS X and Linux:
• bash
• ksh
• zsh
It may work with other shells, so if you find that it does work with a shell not listed here please let me know. If you
can modify it to work with another shell without completely rewriting it, then send a pull request through the bitbucket
project page. If you write a clone to work with an incompatible shell, let me know and I will link to it from this page.
Windows Command Prompt
David Marble has ported virtualenvwrapper to Windows batch scripts, which can be run under Microsoft Windows
Command Prompt. This is also a separately distributed re-implementation. You can download virtualenvwrapper-win
from PyPI.
It is possible to use virtualenv wrapper under MSYS with a native Windows Python installation. In order to make it
work, you need to define an extra environment variable named MSYS_HOME containing the root path to the MSYS
export WORKON_HOME=$HOME/.virtualenvs
export MSYS_HOME=/c/msys/1.0
source /usr/local/bin/
export WORKON_HOME=$HOME/.virtualenvs
export MSYS_HOME=C:\msys\1.0
source /usr/local/bin/
Depending on your MSYS setup, you may need to install the MSYS mktemp binary in the MSYS_HOME/bin folder.
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Guillermo López-Anglada has ported virtualenvwrapper to run under Microsoft’s PowerShell. We have agreed that
since it is not compatible with the rest of the extensions, and is largely a re-implementation (rather than an adaptation),
it should be distributed separately. You can download virtualenvwrapper-powershell from PyPI.
Python Versions
virtualenvwrapper is tested under Python 2.6-3.4.
Basic Installation
virtualenvwrapper should be installed into the same global site-packages area where virtualenv is installed. You may
need administrative privileges to do that. The easiest way to install it is using pip:
$ pip install virtualenvwrapper
$ sudo pip install virtualenvwrapper
Warning: virtualenv lets you create many different Python environments. You should only ever install virtualenv
and virtualenvwrapper on your base Python installation (i.e. NOT while a virtualenv is active) so that the same
release is shared by all Python environments that depend on it.
An alternative to installing it into the global site-packages is to add it to your user local directory (usually ~/.local).
$ pip install --user virtualenvwrapper
Shell Startup File
Add three lines to your shell startup file (.bashrc, .profile, etc.) to set the location where the virtual environments should live, the location of your development project directories, and the location of the script installed with
this package:
export WORKON_HOME=$HOME/.virtualenvs
source /usr/local/bin/
After editing it, reload the startup file (e.g., run source ~/.bashrc).
Lazy Loading
An alternative initialization script is provided for loading virtualenvwrapper lazily.
Instead of sourcing directly, use If is
not on your $PATH, set VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_SCRIPT to point to it.
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Warning: When the lazy-loading version of the startup script is used, tab-completion of arguments to virtualenvwrapper commands (such as environment names) is not enabled until after the first command has been run. For
example, tab completion of environments does not work for the first instance of workon.
1. Run: workon
2. A list of environments, empty, is printed.
3. Run: mkvirtualenv temp
4. A new environment, temp is created and activated.
5. Run: workon
6. This time, the temp environment is included.
virtualenvwrapper can be customized by changing environment variables. Set the variables in your shell startup file
before loading
Location of Environments
The variable WORKON_HOME tells virtualenvwrapper where to place your virtual environments. The default is
$HOME/.virtualenvs. If the directory does not exist when virtualenvwrapper is loaded, it will be created automatically.
Location of Project Directories
The variable PROJECT_HOME tells virtualenvwrapper where to place your project working directories. The variable
must be set and the directory created before mkproject is used.
See also:
• Project Management
Project Linkage Filename
The variable VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_PROJECT_FILENAME tells virtualenvwrapper how to name the file linking
a virtualenv to a project working directory. The default is .project.
See also:
• Project Management
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Enable Project Directory Switching
The variable VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_WORKON_CD controls whether the working directory is changed during the
post activate phase. The default is 1, to enable changing directories. Set the value to 0 to disable this behavior for all
invocations of workon.
See also:
• workon
Location of Hook Scripts
The variable VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_HOOK_DIR tells virtualenvwrapper where the user-defined hooks should be
placed. The default is $WORKON_HOME.
See also:
• Per-User Customization
Location of Hook Logs
The variable VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_LOG_FILE tells virtualenvwrapper where the logs for the hook loader should
be written. The default is to not log from the hooks.
Python Interpreter, virtualenv, and $PATH
During startup, finds the first python and virtualenv programs on the $PATH and
remembers them to use later. This eliminates any conflict as the $PATH changes, enabling interpreters inside virtual
environments where virtualenvwrapper is not installed or where different versions of virtualenv are installed. Because
of this behavior, it is important for the $PATH to be set before sourcing For example:
export PATH=/usr/local/bin:$PATH
source /usr/local/bin/
To override the $PATH search, set the variable VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_PYTHON to the full path of the interpreter to
use and VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_VIRTUALENV to the full path of the virtualenv binary to use. Both variables
must be set before sourcing For example:
export VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_PYTHON=/usr/local/bin/python
export VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_VIRTUALENV=/usr/local/bin/virtualenv
source /usr/local/bin/
Default Arguments for virtualenv
If the application identified by VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_VIRTUALENV needs arguments, they can be set in
VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_VIRTUALENV_ARGS. The same variable can be used to set default arguments to be passed
to virtualenv. For example, set the value to --no-site-packages to ensure that all new environments are
isolated from the system site-packages directory.
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Temporary Files
virtualenvwrapper creates temporary files in $TMPDIR. If the variable is not set, it uses /tmp. To change the location
of temporary files just for virtualenvwrapper, set VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_TMPDIR.
Site-wide Configuration
Most UNIX systems include the ability to change the configuration for all users. This typically takes one of two forms:
editing the skeleton files for new accounts or editing the global startup file for a shell.
Editing the skeleton files for new accounts means that each new user will have their private startup files preconfigured
to load virtualenvwrapper. They can disable it by commenting out or removing those lines. Refer to the documentation
for the shell and operating system to identify the appropriate file to edit.
Modifying the global startup file for a given shell means that all users of that shell will have virtualenvwrapper enabled,
and they cannot disable it. Refer to the documentation for the shell to identify the appropriate file to edit.
Upgrading to 2.9
Version 2.9 includes the features previously delivered separately by virtualenvwrapper.project. If you have
an older verison of the project extensions installed, remove them before upgrading.
Upgrading from 1.x
The shell script containing the wrapper functions has been renamed in the 2.x series to reflect the fact that shells other than bash are supported.
In your startup
source /usr/local/bin/virtualenvwrapper_bashrc
Command Reference
All of the commands below are to be used on the Terminal command line.
Managing Environments
Create a new environment, in the WORKON_HOME.
mkvirtualenv [-a project_path] [-i package] [-r requirements_file] [virtualenv options] ENVNAME
All command line options except -a, -i, -r, and -h are passed directly to virtualenv. The new environment is
automatically activated after being initialized.
$ workon
$ mkvirtualenv mynewenv
New python executable in mynewenv/bin/python
Installing setuptools.............................................
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(mynewenv)$ workon
The -a option can be used to associate an existing project directory with the new environment.
The -i option can be used to install one or more packages (by repeating the option) after the environment is created.
The -r option can be used to specify a text file listing packages to be installed. The argument value is passed to pip
-r to be installed.
See also:
• premkvirtualenv
• postmkvirtualenv
• requirements file format
Create a new virtualenv in the WORKON_HOME directory.
mktmpenv [(-c|--cd)|(-n|--no-cd)] [VIRTUALENV_OPTIONS]
A unique virtualenv name is generated.
If -c or --cd is specified the working directory is changed to the virtualenv directory during the post-activate phase,
regardless of the value of VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_WORKON_CD.
If -n or --no-cd is specified the working directory is not changed to the virtualenv directory during the post-activate
phase, regardless of the value of VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_WORKON_CD.
$ mktmpenv
Using real prefix '/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7'
New python executable in 1e513ac6-616e-4d56-9aa5-9d0a3b305e20/bin/python
Overwriting 1e513ac6-616e-4d56-9aa5-9d0a3b305e20/lib/python2.7/distutils/
with new content
Installing setuptools...............................................
This is a temporary environment. It will be deleted when deactivated.
(1e513ac6-616e-4d56-9aa5-9d0a3b305e20) $
List all of the environments.
lsvirtualenv [-b] [-l] [-h]
Brief mode, disables verbose output.
Long mode, enables verbose output. Default.
Print the help for lsvirtualenv.
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See also:
• get_env_details
Show the details for a single virtualenv.
showvirtualenv [env]
See also:
• get_env_details
Remove an environment, in the WORKON_HOME.
rmvirtualenv ENVNAME
You must use deactivate before removing the current environment.
(mynewenv)$ deactivate
$ rmvirtualenv mynewenv
$ workon
See also:
• prermvirtualenv
• postrmvirtualenv
Duplicate an existing virtualenv environment. The source can be an environment managed by virtualenvwrapper or an
external environment created elsewhere.
Warning: Copying virtual environments is not well supported. Each virtualenv has path information hard-coded
into it, and there may be cases where the copy code does not know it needs to update a particular file. Use with
Note: Target environment name is required for WORKON_HOME duplications. However, target environment name
can be ommited for importing external environments. If omitted, the new environment is given the same name as the
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$ workon
$ mkvirtualenv source
New python executable in source/bin/python
Installing setuptools.............................................
(source)$ cpvirtualenv source dest
Making script /Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/dest/bin/easy_install relative
Making script /Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/dest/bin/easy_install-2.6 relative
Making script /Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/dest/bin/pip relative
Script /Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/dest/bin/postactivate cannot be made relative (it
Script /Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/dest/bin/postdeactivate cannot be made relative (
Script /Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/dest/bin/preactivate cannot be made relative (it'
Script /Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/dest/bin/predeactivate cannot be made relative (i
(dest)$ workon
See also:
• precpvirtualenv
• postcpvirtualenv
• premkvirtualenv
• postmkvirtualenv
Run a command in all virtualenvs under WORKON_HOME.
allvirtualenv command with arguments
Each virtualenv is activated, bypassing activation hooks, the current working directory is changed to the current virtualenv, and then the command is run. Commands cannot modify the current shell state, but can modify the virtualenv.
$ allvirtualenv pip install -U pip
Controlling the Active Environment
List or change working virtual environments
workon [(-c|--cd)|(-n|--no-cd)] [environment_name|"."]
If no environment_name is given the list of available environments is printed to stdout.
If -c or --cd is specified the working directory is changed to the project directory during the post-activate phase,
regardless of the value of VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_WORKON_CD.
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If -n or --no-cd is specified the working directory is not changed to the project directory during the post-activate
phase, regardless of the value of VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_WORKON_CD.
If "." is passed as the environment name, the name is derived from the base name of the current working directory
(contributed by Matias Saguir).
$ workon
$ mkvirtualenv env1
New python executable in env1/bin/python
Installing setuptools.............................................
(env1)$ mkvirtualenv env2
New python executable in env2/bin/python
Installing setuptools.............................................
(env2)$ workon
(env2)$ workon env1
(env1)$ echo $VIRTUAL_ENV
(env1)$ workon env2
(env2)$ echo $VIRTUAL_ENV
See also:
• predeactivate
• postdeactivate
• preactivate
• postactivate
• Enable Project Directory Switching
Switch from a virtual environment to the system-installed version of Python.
Note: This command is actually part of virtualenv, but is wrapped to provide before and after hooks, just as workon
does for activate.
$ workon
$ mkvirtualenv env1
New python executable in env1/bin/python
Installing setuptools.............................................
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(env1)$ echo $VIRTUAL_ENV
(env1)$ deactivate
See also:
• predeactivate
• postdeactivate
Quickly Navigating to a virtualenv
There are two functions to provide shortcuts to navigate into the currently-active virtualenv.
Change the current working directory to $VIRTUAL_ENV.
cdvirtualenv [subdir]
Calling cdvirtualenv changes the current working directory to the top of the virtualenv ($VIRTUAL_ENV). An
optional argument is appended to the path, allowing navigation directly into a subdirectory.
$ mkvirtualenv env1
New python executable in env1/bin/python
Installing setuptools.............................................
(env1)$ echo $VIRTUAL_ENV
(env1)$ cdvirtualenv
(env1)$ pwd
(env1)$ cdvirtualenv bin
(env1)$ pwd
Change the current working directory to the site-packages for $VIRTUAL_ENV.
cdsitepackages [subdir]
the exact path to the site-packages directory in the virtualenv depends on the
of Python,
cdsitepackages is provided as a shortcut for cdvirtualenv
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lib/python${pyvers}/site-packages. An optional argument is also allowed, to specify a directory
hierarchy within the site-packages directory to change into.
$ mkvirtualenv env1
New python executable in env1/bin/python
Installing setuptools.............................................
(env1)$ echo $VIRTUAL_ENV
(env1)$ cdsitepackages PyMOTW/bisect/
(env1)$ pwd
Calling lssitepackages shows the content of the site-packages directory of the currently-active virtualenv.
$ mkvirtualenv env1
New python executable in env1/bin/python
Installing setuptools.............................................
(env1)$ $ workon env1
(env1)$ lssitepackages
Path Management
Adds the specified directories to the Python path for the currently-active virtualenv.
add2virtualenv directory1 directory2 ...
Sometimes it is desirable to share installed packages that are not in the system site-packages directory and
which should not be installed in each virtualenv. One possible solution is to symlink the source into the environment
site-packages directory, but it is also easy to add extra directories to the PYTHONPATH by including them in a
.pth file inside site-packages using add2virtualenv.
1. Check out the source for a big project, such as Django.
2. Run: add2virtualenv path_to_source.
3. Run: add2virtualenv.
4. A usage message and list of current “extra” paths is printed.
5. Use option -d to remove the added path.
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The directory names are added to a path file named _virtualenv_path_extensions.pth inside the sitepackages directory for the environment.
Based on a contribution from James Bennett and Jannis Leidel.
Controls whether the active virtualenv will access the packages in the global Python site-packages directory.
toggleglobalsitepackages [-q]
Outputs the new state of the virtualenv. Use the -q switch to turn off all output.
$ mkvirtualenv env1
New python executable in env1/bin/python
Installing setuptools.............................................
(env1)$ toggleglobalsitepackages
Disabled global site-packages
(env1)$ toggleglobalsitepackages
Enabled global site-packages
(env1)$ toggleglobalsitepackages -q
Project Directory Management
See also:
Project Management
Create a new virtualenv in the WORKON_HOME and project directory in PROJECT_HOME.
mkproject [-f|--force] [-t template] [virtualenv_options] ENVNAME
-f, --force
Create the virtualenv even if the project directory already exists
The template option may be repeated to have several templates used to create a new project. The templates are
applied in the order named on the command line. All other options are passed to mkvirtualenv to create a virtual
environment with the same name as the project.
$ mkproject myproj
New python executable in myproj/bin/python
Installing setuptools.............................................
Creating /Users/dhellmann/Devel/myproj
(myproj)$ pwd
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(myproj)$ echo $VIRTUAL_ENV
See also:
• premkproject
• postmkproject
Bind an existing virtualenv to an existing project.
setvirtualenvproject [virtualenv_path project_path]
The arguments to setvirtualenvproject are the full paths to the virtualenv and project directory. An association is made so that when workon activates the virtualenv the project is also activated.
$ mkproject myproj
New python executable in myproj/bin/python
Installing setuptools.............................................
Creating /Users/dhellmann/Devel/myproj
(myproj)$ mkvirtualenv myproj_new_libs
New python executable in myproj/bin/python
Installing setuptools.............................................
Creating /Users/dhellmann/Devel/myproj
(myproj_new_libs)$ setvirtualenvproject $VIRTUAL_ENV $(pwd)
When no arguments are given, the current virtualenv and current directory are assumed.
Any number of virtualenvs can refer to the same project directory, making it easy to switch between versions of Python
or other dependencies for testing.
Change the current working directory to the one specified as the project directory for the active virtualenv.
Managing Installed Packages
Remove all of the installed third-party packages in the current virtualenv.
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Other Commands
Print a list of commands and their descriptions as basic help output.
Customizing Virtualenvwrapper
virtualenvwrapper adds several hook points you can use to change your settings, shell environment, or other configuration values when creating, deleting, or moving between environments. These hooks are exposed in two ways.
Per-User Customization allows a user to perform generic actions for every virtualenv in your environment, including customization of virtualenv creation. Extending Virtualenvwrapper makes it possible to share common behaviors
between systems and developers.
Per-User Customization
The end-user customization scripts are either sourced (allowing them to modify your shell environment) or run as an
external program at the appropriate trigger time.
The global scripts applied to all environments should be placed in the directory named by VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_HOOK_DIR, which by default will be equal to WORKON_HOME. The local scripts should be placed in the bin
directory of the virtualenv.
Example Usage
As a Django developer, you likely want DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE to be set, and if you work on multiple
projects, you want it to be specific to the project you are currently working on. Wouldn’t it be nice if it was set based
on the active virtualenv? You can achieve this with Per-User Customization as follows.
If your WORKON_HOME is set to ~/.virtualenvs:
vim ~/.virtualenvs/premkvirtualenv
Edit the file so it contains the following (for a default Django setup):
DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE=$1.settings” >> “$1/bin/activate”
Create a new virtualenv, and you should see DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE in your env!
Global/Local both
Argument(s) env name
Sourced/Run run
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$VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_HOOK_DIR/get_env_details is run when workon is run with no arguments and a
list of the virtual environments is printed. The hook is run once for each environment, after the name is printed, and
can print additional information about that environment.
Global/Local global
Argument(s) None
Sourced/Run sourced
$VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_HOOK_DIR/initialize is sourced when is loaded into
your environment. Use it to adjust global settings when virtualenvwrapper is enabled.
Global/Local global
Argument(s) name of new environment
Sourced/Run run
$VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_HOOK_DIR/premkvirtualenv is run as an external program after the virtual environment is created but before the current environment is switched to point to the new env. The current working
directory for the script is $WORKON_HOME and the name of the new environment is passed as an argument to the
Global/Local global
Argument(s) none
Sourced/Run sourced
$VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_HOOK_DIR/postmkvirtualenv is sourced after the new environment is created and
activated. If the -a <project_path> flag was used, the link to the project directory is set up before this script is sourced.
Global/Local global
Argument(s) name of original environment, name of new environment
Sourced/Run run
$VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_HOOK_DIR/precpvirtualenv is run as an external program after the source environment is duplicated and made relocatable, but before the premkvirtualenv hook is run or the current environment is switched to point to the new env. The current working directory for the script is $WORKON_HOME and the
names of the source and new environments are passed as arguments to the script.
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Global/Local global
Argument(s) none
Sourced/Run sourced
$VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_HOOK_DIR/postcpvirtualenv is sourced after the new environment is created and
Global/Local global, local
Argument(s) environment name
Sourced/Run run
The global $VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_HOOK_DIR/preactivate script is run before the new environment is enabled. The environment name is passed as the first argument.
The local $VIRTUAL_ENV/bin/preactivate hook is run before the new environment is enabled. The environment name is passed as the first argument.
Global/Local global, local
Argument(s) none
Sourced/Run sourced
The global $VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_HOOK_DIR/postactivate script is sourced after the new environment is
enabled. $VIRTUAL_ENV refers to the new environment at the time the script runs.
This example script adds a space between the virtual environment name and your old PS1 by making use of
PS1="(`basename \"$VIRTUAL_ENV\"`) $_OLD_VIRTUAL_PS1"
The local $VIRTUAL_ENV/bin/postactivate script is sourced after the new environment is enabled.
$VIRTUAL_ENV refers to the new environment at the time the script runs.
This example script for the PyMOTW environment changes the current working directory and the PATH variable to
refer to the source tree containing the PyMOTW source.
cd $pymotw_root
Global/Local local, global
Argument(s) none
Sourced/Run sourced
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The local $VIRTUAL_ENV/bin/predeactivate script is sourced before the current environment is deactivated,
and can be used to disable or clear settings in your environment. $VIRTUAL_ENV refers to the old environment at
the time the script runs.
The global $VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_HOOK_DIR/predeactivate script is sourced before the current environment is deactivated. $VIRTUAL_ENV refers to the old environment at the time the script runs.
Global/Local local, global
Argument(s) none
Sourced/Run sourced
The $VIRTUAL_ENV/bin/postdeactivate script is sourced after the current environment is deactivated, and
can be used to disable or clear settings in your environment. The path to the environment just deactivated is available
Global/Local global
Argument(s) environment name
Sourced/Run run
The $VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_HOOK_DIR/prermvirtualenv script is run as an external program before the
environment is removed. The full path to the environment directory is passed as an argument to the script.
Global/Local global
Argument(s) environment name
Sourced/Run run
The $VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_HOOK_DIR/postrmvirtualenv script is run as an external program after the
environment is removed. The full path to the environment directory is passed as an argument to the script.
Global/Local global
Argument(s) name of new project
Sourced/Run run
$WORKON_HOME/premkproject is run as an external program after the virtual environment is created and after
the current environment is switched to point to the new env, but before the new project directory is created. The current
working directory for the script is $PROJECT_HOME and the name of the new project is passed as an argument to the
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Global/Local global
Argument(s) none
Sourced/Run sourced
$WORKON_HOME/postmkproject is sourced after the new environment and project directories are created and
the virtualenv is activated. The current working directory is the project directory.
Extending Virtualenvwrapper
Long experience with home-grown solutions for customizing a development environment has proven how valuable
it can be to have the ability to automate common tasks and eliminate persistent annoyances. Carpenters build jigs,
software developers write shell scripts. virtualenvwrapper continues the tradition of encouraging a craftsman to modify
their tools to work the way they want, rather than the other way around.
There are two ways to attach your code so that virtualenvwrapper will run it: End-users can use shell scripts or other
programs for personal customization, e.g. automatically performing an action on every new virtualenv (see Per-User
Customization). Extensions can also be implemented in Python by using Setuptools entry points, making it possible
to share common behaviors between systems and developers.
Use the hooks provided to eliminate repetitive manual operations and streamline your development workflow. For
example, set up the pre_activate and post_activate hooks to trigger an IDE to load a project file to reload files from
the last editing session, manage time-tracking records, or start and stop development versions of an application server.
Use the initialize hook to add entirely new commands and hooks to virtualenvwrapper. And the pre_mkvirtualenv and
post_mkvirtualenv hooks give you an opportunity to install basic requirements into each new development environment, initialize a source code control repository, or otherwise set up a new project.
Defining an Extension
Virtualenvwrapper is delivered with a plugin for creating and running the user customization scripts
(user_scripts). The examples below are taken from the implementation of that plugin.
Code Organization
The Python package for virtualenvwrapper is a namespace package. That means multiple libraries can install
code into the package, even if they are not distributed together or installed into the same directory. Extensions can
(optionally) use the virtualenvwrapper namespace by setting up their source tree like:
• virtualenvwrapper/
And placing the following code in
"""virtualenvwrapper module
Note: Extensions can be loaded from any package, so using the virtualenvwrapper namespace is not required.
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Extension API
After the package is established, the next step is to create a module to hold the extension code. For example,
virtualenvwrapper/ The module should contain the actual extension entry points. Supporting code can be included, or imported from elsewhere using standard Python code organization techniques.
The API is the same for every extension point. Each uses a Python function that takes a single argument, a list of
strings passed to the hook loader on the command line.
def function_name(args):
# args is a list of strings passed to the hook loader
The contents of the argument list are defined for each extension point below (see Extension Points).
Extension Invocation
Direct Action Plugins can attach to each hook in two different ways. The default is to have a function run and do
some work directly. For example, the initialize() function for the user scripts plugin creates default user scripts
when is loaded.
def initialize(args):
for filename, comment in GLOBAL_HOOKS:
make_hook(os.path.join('$WORKON_HOME', filename), comment)
Modifying the User Environment There are cases where the extension needs to update the user’s environment (e.g.,
changing the current working directory or setting environment variables). Modifications to the user environment must
be made within the user’s current shell, and cannot be run in a separate process. To have code run in the user’s shell
process, extensions can define hook functions to return the text of the shell statements to be executed. These source
hooks are run after the regular hooks with the same name, and should not do any work of their own.
The initialize_source() hook for the user scripts plugin looks for a global initialize script and causes it to be
run in the current shell process.
def initialize_source(args):
return """
# Run user-provided scripts
[ -f "$WORKON_HOME/initialize" ] && source "$WORKON_HOME/initialize"
Warning: Because the extension is modifying the user’s working shell, care must be taken not to corrupt the environment by overwriting existing variable values unexpectedly. Avoid creating temporary variables where possible,
and use unique names where variables cannot be avoided. Prefixing variables with the extension name is a good
way to manage the namespace. For example, instead of temp_file use user_scripts_temp_file. Use
unset to release temporary variable names when they are no longer needed.
Warning: virtualenvwrapper works under several shells with slightly different syntax (bash, sh, zsh, ksh). Take
this portability into account when defining source hooks. Sticking to the simplest possible syntax usually avoids
problems, but there may be cases where examining the SHELL environment variable to generate different syntax
for each case is the only way to achieve the desired result.
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Registering Entry Points
The functions defined in the plugin need to be registered as entry points in order for virtualenvwrapper’s hook loader
to find them. Entry points are configured in the (or setup.cfg when using pbr) for your package by
mapping the entry point name to the function in the package that implements it.
This partial copy of virtualenvwrapper’s setup.cfg
initialize_source() entry points are configured.
virtualenvwrapper.initialize =
user_scripts = virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts:initialize
project = virtualenvwrapper.project:initialize
virtualenvwrapper.initialize_source =
user_scripts = virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts:initialize_source
virtualenvwrapper.pre_mkvirtualenv =
user_scripts = virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts:pre_mkvirtualenv
virtualenvwrapper.post_mkvirtualenv_source =
user_scripts = virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts:post_mkvirtualenv_source
virtualenvwrapper.pre_cpvirtualenv =
user_scripts = virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts:pre_cpvirtualenv
virtualenvwrapper.post_cpvirtualenv_source =
user_scripts = virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts:post_cpvirtualenv_source
virtualenvwrapper.pre_rmvirtualenv =
user_scripts = virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts:pre_rmvirtualenv
virtualenvwrapper.post_rmvirtualenv =
user_scripts = virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts:post_rmvirtualenv
virtualenvwrapper.project.pre_mkproject =
project = virtualenvwrapper.project:pre_mkproject
virtualenvwrapper.project.post_mkproject_source =
project = virtualenvwrapper.project:post_mkproject_source
virtualenvwrapper.pre_activate =
user_scripts = virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts:pre_activate
virtualenvwrapper.post_activate_source =
project = virtualenvwrapper.project:post_activate_source
user_scripts = virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts:post_activate_source
virtualenvwrapper.pre_deactivate_source =
user_scripts = virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts:pre_deactivate_source
virtualenvwrapper.post_deactivate_source =
user_scripts = virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts:post_deactivate_source
virtualenvwrapper.get_env_details =
user_scripts = virtualenvwrapper.user_scripts:get_env_details
warnerrors = true
universal = true
source-dir = docs/source
build-dir = docs/build
all_files = 1
The entry_points section maps the group names to lists of entry point specifiers. A different group name is
defined by virtualenvwrapper for each extension point (see Extension Points).
The entry point specifiers are strings with the syntax name = package.module:function. By convention, the
name of each entry point is the plugin name, but that is not required (the names are not used).
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See also:
• namespace packages
• Extensible Applications and Frameworks
The Hook Loader
Extensions are run through a command line application implemented in virtualenvwrapper.hook_loader.
Because is the primary caller and users do not typically need to run the app directly, no
separate script is installed. Instead, to run the application, use the -m option to the interpreter:
$ python -m virtualenvwrapper.hook_loader -h
Usage: virtualenvwrapper.hook_loader [options] <hook> [<arguments>]
Manage hooks for virtualenvwrapper
-h, --help
-s, --source
show this help message and exit
Print the shell commands to be run in the current
-l, --list
Print a list of the plugins available for the given
-v, --verbose
Show more information on the console
-q, --quiet
Show less information on the console
-n NAMES, --name=NAMES
Only run the hook from the named plugin
To run the extensions for the initialize hook:
$ python -m virtualenvwrapper.hook_loader -v initialize
To get the shell commands for the initialize hook:
$ python -m virtualenvwrapper.hook_loader --source initialize
In practice, rather than invoking the hook loader directly it is more convenient to use the shell function,
virtualenvwrapper_run_hook to run the hooks in both modes.:
$ virtualenvwrapper_run_hook initialize
All of the arguments given to shell function are passed directly to the hook loader.
The hook loader configures logging so that messages are written to $WORKON_HOME/hook.log. Messages also
may be written to stderr, depending on the verbosity flag. The default is for messages at info or higher levels to be
written to stderr, and debug or higher to go to the log file. Using logging in this way provides a convenient mechanism
for users to control the verbosity of extensions.
To use logging from within your extension, simply instantiate a logger and call its info(), debug() and other
methods with the messages.
import logging
log = logging.getLogger(__name__)
def pre_mkvirtualenv(args):
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log.debug('pre_mkvirtualenv %s', str(args))
# ...
See also:
• Standard library documentation for logging
• PyMOTW for logging
Extension Points
The extension point names for native plugins follow a naming convention with several parts:
virtualenvwrapper.(pre|post)_<event>[_source]. The <event> is the action taken by the
user or virtualenvwrapper that triggers the extension. (pre|post) indicates whether to call the extension before or
after the event. The suffix _source is added for extensions that return shell code instead of taking action directly
(see Modifying the User Environment).
The virtualenvwrapper.get_env_details hooks are run when workon is run with no arguments and a
list of the virtual environments is printed. The hook is run once for each environment, after the name is printed, and
can be used to show additional information about that environment.
The virtualenvwrapper.initialize hooks are run each time is loaded into
the user’s environment. The initialize hook can be used to install templates for configuration files or otherwise prepare
the system for proper plugin operation.
The virtualenvwrapper.pre_mkvirtualenv hooks are run after the virtual environment is created, but
before the new environment is activated. The current working directory for when the hook is run is $WORKON_HOME
and the name of the new environment is passed as an argument.
The virtualenvwrapper.post_mkvirtualenv hooks are run after a new virtual environment is created and
activated. $VIRTUAL_ENV is set to point to the new environment.
The virtualenvwrapper.pre_activate hooks are run just before an environment is enabled. The environment name is passed as the first argument.
The virtualenvwrapper.post_activate hooks are run just after an environment is enabled.
$VIRTUAL_ENV is set to point to the current environment.
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The virtualenvwrapper.pre_deactivate hooks are run just before an environment is disabled.
$VIRTUAL_ENV is set to point to the current environment.
The virtualenvwrapper.post_deactivate hooks are run just after an environment is disabled. The name
of the environment just deactivated is passed as the first argument.
The virtualenvwrapper.pre_rmvirtualenv hooks are run just before an environment is deleted. The name
of the environment being deleted is passed as the first argument.
The virtualenvwrapper.post_rmvirtualenv hooks are run just after an environment is deleted. The name
of the environment being deleted is passed as the first argument.
Adding New Extension Points
Plugins that define new operations can also define new extension points. No setup needs to be done to allow the hook
loader to find the extensions; documenting the names and adding calls to virtualenvwrapper_run_hook is
sufficient to cause them to be invoked.
The hook loader assumes all extension point names start with virtualenvwrapper. and new plugins will want
to use their own namespace qualifier to append to that. For example, the project extension defines new events around
creating project directories (pre and post). These are called virtualenvwrapper.project.pre_mkproject
and virtualenvwrapper.project.post_mkproject. These are invoked with:
virtualenvwrapper_run_hook project.pre_mkproject $project_name
virtualenvwrapper_run_hook project.post_mkproject
Project Management
A project directory is associated with a virtualenv, but usually contains the source code under active development rather
than the installed components needed to support the development. For example, the project directory may contain the
source code checked out from a version control system, temporary artifacts created by testing, experimental files not
committed to version control, etc.
A project directory is created and bound to a virtualenv when mkproject is run instead of mkvirtualenv. To bind an
existing project directory to a virtualenv, use setvirtualenvproject.
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Using Templates
A new project directory can be created empty, or populated using one or more template plugins. Templates should be
specified as arguments to mkproject. Multiple values can be provided to apply more than one template. For example,
to check out a Mercurial repository from a project on bitbucket and create a new Django site, combine the bitbucket
and django templates.
$ mkproject -t bitbucket -t django my_site
See also:
• Templates
• Location of Project Directories
• Project Linkage Filename
• Enable Project Directory Switching
Tips and Tricks
This is a list of user-contributed tips for making virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper even more useful. If you have tip to
share, drop me an email or post a comment on this blog post and I’ll add it here.
zsh Prompt
From Nat (was
Using zsh, I added some bits to $WORKON_HOME/post(de)activate to show the active virtualenv on the right
side of my screen instead.
in postactivate:
RPROMPT="%{${fg_bold[white]}%}(env: %{${fg[green]}%}`basename \"$VIRTUAL_ENV\"`%{${fg_bold[white]}%})
and in postdeactivate:
Adjust colors according to your own personal tastes or environment.
Updating cached $PATH entries
From Nat (was
$WORKON_HOME/postdeactivate as I was having some problems with zsh not picking up the new paths
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Creating Project Work Directories
Via James:
In the postmkvirtualenv script I have the following to create a directory based on the project name, add that
directory to the python path and then cd into it:
proj_name=$(basename $VIRTUAL_ENV)
mkdir $HOME/projects/$proj_name
add2virtualenv $HOME/projects/$proj_name
cd $HOME/projects/$proj_name
In the postactivate script I have it set to automatically change to the project directory when I use the workon
proj_name=$(basename $VIRTUAL_ENV)
cd ~/projects/$proj_name
Automatically Run workon When Entering a Directory
Justin Abrahms posted about some code he added to his shell environment to look at the directory each time he runs
cd. If it finds a .venv file, it activates the environment named within. On leaving that directory, the current virtualenv
is automatically deactivated.
Harry Marr wrote a similar function that works with git repositories.
Installing Common Tools Automatically in New Environments
Via rizumu (was
I have this postmkvirtualenv to install the get a basic setup.
$ cat postmkvirtualenv
#!/usr/bin/env bash
curl -O />python
easy_install pip==dev
pip install Mercurial
Then I have a pip requirement file with my dev tools.
$ cat developer_requirements.txt
Then each project has it’s own pip requirement file for things like PIL, psycopg2, django-apps, numpy, etc.
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Changing the Default Behavior of cd
Via mae:
This is supposed to be executed after workon, that is as a postactivate hook. It basically overrides cd to know
about the VENV so instead of doing cd to go to ~ you will go to the venv root, IMO very handy and I can’t live
without it anymore. If you pass it a proper path then it will do the right thing.
cd () {
if (( $# == 0 ))
builtin cd $VIRTUAL_ENV
builtin cd "[email protected]"
And to finally restore the default behaviour of cd once you bailout of a VENV via a deactivate command, you
need to add this as a postdeactivate hook:
unset -f cd
Clean up environments on exit
Via Michael:
When you use a temporary virtualenv via mktmpenv or if you have a post_deactivate hook, you have to actually run
deactivate to clean up the temporary environment or run the hook, respectively. It’s easy to forget and just exit
the shell. Put the following in ~/.bash_logout (or your shell’s equivalent file) to always deactivate environments
before exiting the shell:
[ "$VIRTUAL_ENV" ] && deactivate
For Developers
If you would like to contribute to virtualenvwrapper directly, these instructions should help you get started. Patches,
bug reports, and feature requests are all welcome through the BitBucket site. Contributions in the form of patches or
pull requests are easier to integrate and will receive priority attention.
Note: Before contributing new features to virtualenvwrapper core, please consider whether they should be implemented as an extension instead.
Building Documentation
The documentation for virtualenvwrapper is written in reStructuredText and converted to HTML using Sphinx. The
build itself is driven by make. You will need the following packages in order to build the docs:
• Sphinx
• docutils
• sphinxcontrib-bitbucket
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Once all of the tools are installed into a virtualenv using pip, run make html to generate the HTML version of the
$ make html
rm -rf virtualenvwrapper/docs
(cd docs && make html SPHINXOPTS="-c sphinx/pkg")
sphinx-build -b html -d build/doctrees -c sphinx/pkg source build/html
Running Sphinx v0.6.4
loading pickled environment... done
building [html]: targets for 2 source files that are out of date
updating environment: 0 added, 2 changed, 0 removed
reading sources... [ 50%] command_ref
reading sources... [100%] developers
looking for now-outdated files... none found
pickling environment... done
checking consistency... done
preparing documents... done
writing output... [ 33%] command_ref
writing output... [ 66%] developers
writing output... [100%] index
writing additional files... search
copying static files... WARNING: static directory '/Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/plugins/d
dumping search index... done
dumping object inventory... done
build succeeded, 1 warning.
Build finished. The HTML pages are in build/html.
cp -r docs/build/html virtualenvwrapper/docs
The output version of the documentation ends up in ./virtualenvwrapper/docs inside your sandbox.
Running Tests
The test suite for virtualenvwrapper uses shunit2 and tox. The shunit2 source is included in the tests directory, but
tox must be installed separately (pip install tox).
To run the tests under bash, zsh, and ksh for Python 2.4 through 2.7, run tox from the top level directory of the hg
To run individual test scripts, use a command like:
$ tox tests/
To run tests under a single version of Python, specify the appropriate environment when running tox:
$ tox -e py27
Combine the two modes to run specific tests with a single version of Python:
$ tox -e py27 tests/
Add new tests by modifying an existing file or creating new script in the tests directory.
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Creating a New Template
virtualenvwrapper.project templates work like virtualenvwrapper plugins.
The entry point group name is
virtualenvwrapper.project.template. Configure your entry point to refer to a function that will run
(source hooks are not supported for templates).
The argument to the template function is the name of the project being created. The current working directory is the
directory created to hold the project files ($PROJECT_HOME/$envname).
Help Text
One difference between project templates and other virtualenvwrapper extensions is that only the templates specified
by the user are run. The mkproject command has a help option to give the user a list of the available templates.
The names are taken from the registered entry point names, and the descriptions are taken from the docstrings for the
template functions.
Existing Extensions
Below is a list of some of the extensions available for use with virtualenvwrapper.
Emacs desktop-mode lets you save the state of emacs (open buffers, kill rings, buffer positions, etc.) between sessions.
It can also be used as a project file similar to other IDEs. The emacs-desktop plugin adds a trigger to save the current
desktop file and load a new one when activating a new virtualenv using workon.
The user_scripts extension is delivered with virtualenvwrapper and enabled by default. It implements the user
customization script features described in Per-User Customization.
vim-virtualenv is Jeremey Cantrell’s plugin for controlling virtualenvs from within vim. When used together with
virtualenvwrapper, vim-virtualenv identifies the virtualenv to activate based on the name of the file being edited.
Below is a list of some of the templates available for use with mkproject.
The bitbucket extension automatically clones a mercurial repository from the specified bitbucket project.
The django extension automatically creates a new Django project.
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Song Jin has created a template plugin for automatically generating the project files used by SublimeText. See the
sublime_projectfile_maker page for details.
See also:
• Creating a New Template
Why virtualenvwrapper is (Mostly) Not Written In Python
If you look at the source code for virtualenvwrapper you will see that most of the interesting parts are implemented as
shell functions in The hook loader is a Python app, but doesn’t do much to manage the
virtualenvs. Some of the most frequently asked questions about virtualenvwrapper are “Why didn’t you write this as a
set of Python programs?” or “Have you thought about rewriting it in Python?” For a long time these questions baffled
me, because it was always obvious to me that it had to be implemented as it is. But they come up frequently enough
that I feel the need to explain.
tl;dr: POSIX Made Me Do It
The choice of implementation language for virtualenvwrapper was made for pragmatic, rather than philosophical,
reasons. The wrapper commands need to modify the state and environment of the user’s current shell process, and the
only way to do that is to have the commands run inside that shell. That resulted in me writing virtualenvwrapper as a
set of shell functions, rather than separate shell scripts or even Python programs.
Where Do POSIX Processes Come From?
New POSIX processes are created when an existing process invokes the fork() system call. The invoking process
becomes the “parent” of the new “child” process, and the child is a full clone of the parent. The semantic result of
fork() is that an entire new copy of the parent process is created. In practice, optimizations are normally made
to avoid copying more memory than is absolutely necessary (frequently via a copy-on-write system). But for the
purposes of this explanation it is sufficient to think of the child as a full replica of the parent.
The important parts of the parent process that are copied include dynamic memory (the stack and heap), static stuff (the
program code), resources like open file descriptors, and the environment variables exported from the parent process.
Inheriting environment variables is a fundamental aspect of the way POSIX programs pass state and configuration
information to one another. A parent can establish a series of name=value pairs, which are then given to the
child process. The child can access them through functions like getenv(), setenv() (and in Python through
The choice of the term inherit to describe the way the variables and their contents are passed from parent to child is
significant. Although a child can change its own environment, it cannot directly change the environment settings of its
parent because there is no system call to modify the parental environment settings.
How the Shell Runs a Program
When a shell receives a command to be executed, either interactively or by parsing a script file, and determines that
the command is implemented in a separate program file, is uses fork() to create a new process and then inside that
process it uses one of the exec functions to start the specified program. The language that program is written in
doesn’t make any difference in the decision about whether or not to fork(), so even if the “program” is a shell script
written in the language understood by the current shell, a new process is created.
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On the other hand, if the shell decides that the command is a function, then it looks at the definition and invokes it
directly. Shell functions are made up of other commands, some of which may result in child processes being created,
but the function itself runs in the original shell process and can therefore modify its state, for example by changing the
working directory or the values of variables.
It is possible to force the shell to run a script directly, and not in a child process, by sourcing it. The source command
causes the shell to read the file and interpret it in the current process. Again, as with functions, the contents of the file
may cause child processes to be spawned, but there is not a second shell process interpreting the series of commands.
What Does This Mean for virtualenvwrapper?
The original and most important features of virtualenvwrapper are automatically activating a virtualenv when it is
created by mkvirtualenv and using workon to deactivate one environment and activate another. Making these
features work drove the implementation decisions for the other parts of virtualenvwrapper, too.
Environments are activated interactively by sourcing bin/activate inside the virtualenv. The activate script
does a few things, but the important parts are setting the VIRTUAL_ENV variable and modifying the shell’s search
path through the PATH variable to put the bin directory for the environment on the front of the path. Changing the
path means that the programs installed in the environment, especially the python interpreter there, are found before
other programs with the same name.
Simply running bin/activate, without using source doesn’t work because it sets up the environment of the
child process, without affecting the parent. In order to source the activate script in the interactive shell, both
mkvirtualenv and workon also need to be run in that shell process.
Why Choose One When You Can Have Both?
The hook loader is one part of virtualenvwrapper that is written in Python. Why? Again, because it was easier. Hooks
are discovered using setuptools entry points, because after an entry point is installed the user doesn’t have to take any
other action to allow the loader to discover and use it. It’s easy to imagine writing a hook to create new files on the
filesystem (by installing a package, instantiating a template, etc.).
How, then, do hooks running in a separate process (the Python interpreter) modify the shell environment to set variables
or change the working directory? They cheat, of course.
Each hook point defined by virtualenvwrapper actually represents two hooks. First, the hooks meant to be run in
Python are executed. Then the “source” hooks are run, and they print out a series of shell commands. All of those
commands are collected, saved to a temporary file, and then the shell is told to source the file.
Starting up the hook loader turns out to be way more expensive than most of the other actions virtualenvwrapper takes,
though, so I am considering making its use optional. Most users customize the hooks by using shell scripts (either
globally or in the virtualenv). Finding and running those can be handled by the shell quite easily.
Implications for Cross-Shell Compatibility
Other than requests for a full-Python implementation, the other most common request is to support additional shells.
fish comes up a lot, as do various Windows-only shells. The officially Supported Shells all have a common enough
syntax that the same implementation works for each. Supporting other shells would require rewriting much, if not all,
of the logic using an alternate syntax – those other shells are basically different programming languages. So far I have
dealt with the ports by encouraging other developers to handle them, and then trying to link to and otherwise promote
the results.
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Not As Bad As It Seems
Although there are some special challenges created by the the requirement that the commands run in a user’s interactive
shell (see the many bugs reported by users who alias common commands like rm and cd), using the shell as a
programming language holds up quite well. The shells are designed to make finding and executing other programs
easy, and especially to make it easy to combine a series of smaller programs to perform more complicated operations.
As that’s what virtualenvwrapper is doing, it’s a natural fit.
See also:
• Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment by W. Richard Stevens & Stephen A. Rago
• Fork (operating system) on Wikipedia
• Environment variable on Wikipedia
• Linux implementation of fork()
• Merged in dougharris/virtualenvwrapper (pull request #53)
• Merged in kk6/virtualenvwrapper/fix/wipeenv_ignore_setuptools_dependencies (pull request #57)
• Merged in erickmk/virtualenvwrapper/erickmk/command_refrst-edited-online-with-bitbuc-1491225971803
(pull request #58)
• Update sentence to make it more clear
• command_ref.rst edited online with Bitbucket
• Fixes Issue #291 wipeenv ignore setuptools’s dependencies
• Fixed case where alternate deactivate didn’t exist
• Makes workon more selective in its search for ‘deactivate‘ #285
• Merged in sambrightman/virtualenvwrapper (pull request #52)
• Fix spelling mistake in error message
• Merged in lonetwin/virtualenvwrapper (pull request #48)
• Baseline testing to python27
• Fixing naming in tests
• Merged in phd/virtualenvwrapper (pull request #46)
• Ignore *.pyo byte-code files
• Fix docs: fix URLs whenever possible, change protocol to https
• Add wipeenv and allvirtualenv for lazy loading
• Remove one-time functions from the environment
• Fix the problem with lazy completion for bash
• Last set of docs
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• Docs fixes
• Updating to virtualenvwrapper
• Last set of docs
• Docs fixes
• Merged in fix/issue-282-link-to-virtualenvwrapper (pull request #49)
• Updating to virtualenvwrapper
• Unset previously defined cd function rather than redefine it
• Merged
ismailsunni/virtualenvwrapper/ismailsunni/command_refrst-edited-online-with-bitbuc1454377958615 (pull request #44)
• command_ref.rst edited online with Bitbucket Adding -d for remove extra path
• use a ref instead of hard-coded link in new tip
• Merged in kojiromike/virtualenvwrapper/deactivate-on-logout-tip (pull request #43)
• Add Deactivate-on-Logout Tip
• update REAMDE with new bug tracker URL
• more dir fixes for El Capitan
• add testing for python 3.5
• temporary dir fixes for OS X El Capitan (10.11)
• update to work with tox 2.1.1
• Merged in jveatch/virtualenvwrapper/fix-py26-logging (pull request #41)
• Pass stream as arg rather than kwarg to avoid py26 conflict. Fixes issue #274. StreamHandler arg was named
strm in python 2.6
• enhance verbose output of hook loader
• Merged in erilem/virtualenvwrapper/user-scheme-installation (pull request #38)
• Change install docs to use –user
• Merged in gnawybol/virtualenvwrapper/support_MINGW64 (pull request #36)
• Detect MSYS if MSYSTEM is MINGW64
• Merged in kdeldycke/virtualenvwrapper/kdeldycke/restore-overridden-cd-command-to-its-def-1435073839852
(pull request #34)
• Restore overridden cd command to its default builtin behaviour
• remove some explicit tox environments
• Merged in jessamynsmith/virtualenvwrapper/py34 (pull request #30)
• quiet some of the lsvirtualenv tests
• add test for previous patch
Chapter 3. Details
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• Merged in robsonpeixoto/virtualenvwrapper/bug/265 (pull request #33)
• Removes empty when list all virtualenvs
• Merged
justinabrahms/virtualenvwrapper/justinabrahms/update-links-and-name-for-venv-post1431982402822 (pull request #32)
• Update links and name for venv post
• Added testing and updated docs for python 3.4
• Merged in jessamynsmith/virtualenvwrapper/env_with_space (pull request #28)
• Changes as per code review
• Added tests to verify that cpvirtualenv, lsvirtualenv, and mkproject work with spaces in env names
• Made rmvirtualenv work with spaces
• Added tests for leading spaces (trailing spaces don’t work in Linux, so don’t test them)
• Made lsvirtualenv and allvirtualenv work with spaces in env names
• Made cd command work with space in virtualenv name
• Fixed ordering in asserts for workon tests
• Made workon fully support virtualenvs with spaces in names
• Add -c/-n options to mktmpenv
• update mktmpenv test to assert changed directory
• Add test for creating venv with space in name
• Touch temporary file after a name is created
• document ‘workon .’ and give attribution
• Support “workon .”
• fix pep8 error
• make cd after workon optional
• fix sphinx build
• Merged in hjwp/virtualenvwrapper (pull request #25)
• Stop mangling the python argument to virtualenv
• ignore -f lines in pip freeze output
• Merged in bittner/virtualenvwrapper (pull request #22)
• hacked attempt to get round MSYS_HOME environ dependency on windows/git-bash/msys
• Change “distribute” to “setuptools” in docs
• Merged in jessamynsmith/virtualenvwrapper (pull request #23)
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• Override tox’s desire to install pre-releases
• Reworded the documentation around user scripts vs plugin creation, to make it more clear which one you need.
Also added a simple example of user scripts
• do not install distribute in test environments
• Correct spelling of “Bitbucket”
• Update issue tracker URL
• build universal wheels
• Merged in das_g/virtualenvwrapper/das_g/removed-gratuitous-preposition-1413208408920 (pull request #19)
• removed gratuitous preposition
• Fix test invocation for zsh
• add -q option to cd for zsh
• make run_tests use the SHELL var to run test script
• pep8 and test updates for previous commit
• Make postmkproject use VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_HOOK_DIR
• Tell tox it is ok to run shells not installed in the virtualenv
• Set VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_SCRIPT correctly for different shells
• Merged in nishikar/virtualenvwrapper (pull request #14)
• changed phrasing of environment not found message
• Add tests for wipenv with editable packages
• Remove obsolete information about pip environment vars
• Replace manually maintained history with ChangeLog
• Update doc build to fail if there are warnings
• remove announce.rst; move to blogging repository
• Merged in erikb85/virtualenvwrapper/erikb85/run-user-postactivate-after-changing-dir-1401272364804 (pull
request #15)
• Run User Postactivate after changing dirs
• add link to sublimetext extension
• moved environment exists check below active environment check
• added no such environment prompt to rmvirtualenv if it does not exist
• updated pep8
Chapter 3. Details
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• clean up script mode changes
• forgotten comment
• trailing whitespace removed
• tabs expanded; mode difference
• changed comments and mode for sourced scripts
• ignore bin, include, lib
• mode constant for sourced-only files
• do not specify a version for pbr
• Merged in mjbrooks/virtualenvwrapper (pull request #12)
• Extract basic help text from the script
• Add list of commands as basic help output
• update author email
• clean up comment about zsh behavior in lazy
• Fix syntax error (empty ‘if‘ block)
• update docs for 4.2 release
• update history for previous change; fix syntax issue in previous change
• update history
• Do not create hooks for rmproject
• make setvirtualenvproject honor relative paths
• Ensure hook directory exists
• fix indentation in
• use valid syntax for creating tmpdir under linux
• stop python 3.2 tests
• stop using distribute for packaging the test templates
• fix merge issue from previous commit
• Fix mkvirtualenv -a relative paths
• minor: tabs to spaces
• Fix zsh crash caused by lazily loading the completions
• Fix hint in error message, when virtualenvwrapper_run_hook failed
• changed spelling of proj_name calculation
• Fix ‘which‘ with
• use virtualenvwrapper_cd in project plugin
• document new force option in history
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• Merged in claymcclure/virtualenvwrapper (pull request #2)
• update history for doc fix from dirn
• Merged in dirn/virtualenvwrapper/dirn/fix-documentation-for-allvirtualenv-the-1375587964876 (pull request
• update history for cd command fix
• consolidate ‘ls’ tests
• update test to handle change easy_install
• ignore any egg directories created while packaging
• add tests to make sure we override cd properly
• Merged in isbadawi/virtualenvwrapper (pull request #5)
• Always use virtualenvwrapper_cd instead of cd
• Fix documentation for allvirtualenv
• Document ‘mkproject –force‘ usage
• Mention sphinxcontrib-bitbucket requirement
• Merged in mrdbr/virtualenvwrapper (pull request #3)
• add tmp- prefix to temporary envs
• Preserve quoting for allvirtualenv command arguments
• Add ‘mkproject –force‘ option
• Remove extraneous punctuation
• update history for 4.1.1
• Merged in mordred/virtualenvwrapper (pull request #1)
• Take advantage of pbr 0.5.19
• Working on packaging issue with 4.1 release
• prep for 4.1 release
• fix pep8 issue in
• quiet cdproject test
• one more parallel test issue
• use pbr for packaging
• Allow tests to run in parallel
• Fix virtualenv detection with spaces in WORKON_HOME
• add license file
• Fix problem lsvirtualenv after previous commit
Chapter 3. Details
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• Add allvirtualenv command
• Ensure that -p and –python options are consistent
• quiet tests
• add test for mkvirtualenv w/ site-packages
• ignore emacs TAGS file
• Provide a way to extend the lazy-loader
• Add wipeenv command
• Update ignore file
• remove trailing whitespace in tox.ini
• Quote paths
• Skip pushd/popd test under ksh
• Run the cdproject test in a subshell
• Show more details when running under zsh
• add doc explaining implementation choices
• add a warning to cpvirtualenv command docs
• fix rst in announcement file
• fix home page url
• add python 3.3 classifier
• Added tag 4.0 for changeset 2ba65a13f804
• Prepare for 4.0 release
• Update Python 3 compatibility
• assume setuptools is available during the installation
• update tested-under version lists
• add attribution for previous fix to the history file
• Correct script name in error message
• reorg test runner to remove redundant test runs
• flake8 fixes for
• Prep 3.7.1 release
• Make –python option to mkvirtualenv not sticky
• Fix project template listing when none installed
• note change in the history file
• better prefix and fix for other help functions
• prevent workon_help from polluting the global namespace
• Fixed broken screencast link
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• Merged in dasevilla/virtualenvwrapper/link-fix (pull request #33)
• Update link to requirements docs
• Added tag 3.7 for changeset 303ff1485acb
• update version number
• Apply style to sphinx config file
• add link to flake8 in history
• use flake8 instead of pep8 for style checking
• Turn off logging by default
• Add help option to workon
• Add –help option to mkproject
• merge readme filename change
• Merged in jeffbyrnes/virtualenvwrapper (pull request #32)
• merge Add complete-time load to lazy loader
• Merged in upsuper/virtualenvwrapper (pull request #29)
• fix issue with toggleglobalsitepackages tests that was hidden by old test virtualenv
• show which virtualenv is used in tests
• do not check in test output
• Use $_VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_API instead of listing functions
• merge exclusion rules for doc build artifacts
• Added tag 3.6.1 for changeset c180ccae77b4
• prepare 3.6.1 release
• Rename READMEs to be RST
• Added exclusion for docs/en, docs/es, and docs/ja to .hgignore
• Add complete-time load to lazy loader
• Fix link to setvirtualenvproject command
• merge fix for relative python interpreter option to mkvirtualenv
• Replace realpath with a more portable way of converting a relative path to an absolute path
• Fix typo in documentation
• Fix –python switch for virtualenv
• fix markup typo in announcement
• Added tag 3.6 for changeset 002a0ccdcc7a
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• update version number before release, 2
• update version number before release
• fix pep8 issues with
• fix pep8 issues with sphinx conf file
• Fix virtualenvwrapper_show_workon_options under zsh with chpwd
• update history for previous change
• Update documentation to point to the real file where add2virtualenv command adds directories to PYTHONPATH
• update the links to the translated versions of the documentation
• change to the default theme for
• move es and ja versions of docs to their own repositories
• add attribution to history file for previous patch
• fix issue with add2virtualenv and noclobber setting in shell; fixes #137
• pep8 cleanup
• fix lazy-loader function definitions under zsh; fixes #144
• use the right virtualenv binary to get help; fixes #148
• convert hook loader to use stevedore
• fix reference in announcement
• Added tag 3.5 for changeset c93b81815391
• bump version number and update announcement text
• fix whitespace and rename a few worker functions to be consistent with the rest
• document previous changes
• Use “command” to avoid aliases or functions that mask common utilities. fixes #119
• quiet some test operations and check for error codes before continuing
• allow the caller to control which shells are used for tests; unset variables that might be inherited and give the
wrong idea about what the current shell is for a test; export SHELL to point to the current shell
• add test for lazy loading via workon; addresses #144
• update docs with link to virtualenvwrapper-win port; fixes #140
• clean up cpvirtualenv documentation
• if cpvirtualenv fails to create the target directory, return an error code
• document cpvirtualenv addition
• merged upstream
• Forgot to uncommit the remove workon_home in teardown
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• update README with supported python versions
• Did not mean to commit isitepackages
• Update cpvirtualenv utilizing virtualenv-clone and allowing for external virutalenvs to be added to
• fix xref endpoint used in install.rst
• Added tag 3.4 for changeset 07905d9135ac
• bump version
• update announcement
• clarify warning on tab completion
• add lazy loader
• move error reporting for bad python interpreter closer to where the error occurs
• Invoke the initialization hooks directly when testing for error with Python
• hide error messages
• fix section heading in announce blog post so the version number does not appear twice
• update announcement file for 3.3 release
• fix the requirement name
• remove old copy of requirements file
• add requirements file to try readthedocs again
• Added tag 3.3 for changeset 45877370548e
• prepare 3.3 release
• attribution for previous merge
• Merged in agriffis/virtualenvwrapper (pull request #22)
• clean up RST formatting
• attribution for previous merge
• Merged in barberj/vew/fix_installing_requirements_after_cd (pull request #21)
• Use spaces for indentation consistently instead of mixed spaces/tabs. No functional changes
• Quoting arguments to expandpath to allow for spaces in the arguments
• Update to get fully qualified path of requirments in case a directory change occurs before pip is called
• Clean up the temporary file in the virtualenvwrapper_run_hook error returns
• attribution for previous merge
• Merged in agriffis/virtualenvwrapper (pull request #20)
Chapter 3. Details
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• Fix error handling in virtualenvwrapper_tempfile; the typeset builtin will return success even if the commandsubstitution fails, so put them on separate lines
• catch –help option to mkvirtualenv; fixes #136
• Remove the trap from virtualenvwrapper_tempfile; the function is called in a command substitution, so the trap
fires immediately to remove the file. There are ways to accomplish this, but they’re complex and the caller is
already explicitly rm’ing the file
• attribution for merging pull request 17
• merge in hook listing and pep8 fixes
• pep8 changes
• Merged in bwanamarko/virtualenvwrapper (pull request #17)
• print the list of core hooks if no hook name is given in list mode
• attribution for previous merges
• Check that required test shells are available ahead of running tests. This avoids accidentally running tests with
/bin/sh (dash) on Debian, which eventually deletes the ~/.virtualenvs directory. (Whoops.)
• Enforce running run_tests under tox by setting/checking an env var
• another fix for msys users * using lssitepackages * keep $site_packages in quotes in case of spaces
• fix bug for MSYS users - makes several folders, fails on shell startup * if $WORKON_HOME not
defined, or folder missing, then when mkdir called must * pass $WORKON_HOME in double-quotes
“$WORKON_HOME” because there might be * spaces that will be interpretted separately * e.g. C:Documents
and Settings.virtualenv makes 3 folders: * “C:Documents”, “~/and” & “~/Settings/.virtualenv”
• update
• attribution for documentation work
• reset the default language
• revised the Japanese translation in plugins.rst
• revised the Japanese translation in index.rst
• merged the changes (r369:550) in extensions.rst
• merged the changes (r369:550) for Japanese translation in projects.rst
• merged the changes (r369:550) for Japanese translation in extensions.rst
• merged the changes (r369:550) for Japanese translation in developers.rst
• merged the changes (r369:550) for Japanese translation in tips.rst
• merged the changes (r369:550) for Japanese translation in scripts.rst
• merged the changes (r369:550) for Japanese translation
• merged the changes (r369:550) for Japanese translation
• changed LANGUAGE settings “en” to “ja”
• merged from original
• add attribution to history file for ralphbean’s changes
• merge in permission changes from ralphbean
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• Bypass the test for missing virtualenv if the user has it installed to the subset of the path needed for the shunit2 framework to function properly. Add a test for having VIRTUALENVWRAPER_VIRTUALENV set to a
program that does not exist
• Removed shebangs from scripts non-executable site-packages files
• Removed execution bit on
• update announcement blog post for 3.2
• Added tag 3.2 for changeset dccf1a1abf4e
• bump version number
• Add a link target name for the rmvritualenv command
• Use distutils to get the site-packages directory. Fixes #112
• more global test header cleanup
• Centralize setup of variables for tests. Change WORKON_HOME and PROJECT_HOME for tests to make
them unique across runs, allowing simultaneous test runs in different sandboxes
• update history for previous merge
• Merged in ciberglo/virtualenvwrapper (pull request #13)
• add history details about license classification change
• Merged in ralphbean/virtualenvwrapper (pull request #14)
• attribution for previous commit
• Fix typo in documentation reported by Nick Martin
• Changed trove classifiers from BSD to MIT (like the README indicates.)
• add test for removing several environments
• changing rmvirtualenv message: Erasing –> Removing
• support to remove several environments at once
• remove blank spaces
• use typeset instead of local and provide attribution for the original fix
• Make project_dir local so it doesn’t clobber other variables
• Added tag 3.1 for changeset ebbb3ba81687
• prepare release 3.1
• quote the path as we are editing the pth file; fixes #132
• update history file for previous change
• associate project before enabling the new virtualenv; fixes #122
• add tags to announce.rst
• add a couple of debugging lines to the generated scripts
Chapter 3. Details
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• Added tag 3.0.1 for changeset 14cf7e58d321
• package release 3.0.1; fixes #126
• Add test files to the sdist package. Addresses #126
• Remove /usr/bin since apparently there are times when virtualenv is installed there due to vendor packages.
Fixes #127
• Added tag 3.0 for changeset 434b87ebc24a
• fix version info in trove classifiers, take 2
• fix version info in trove classifiers
• use the version of python in the current virtualenv to install the template project into the tox virtualenv during
the test
• merge in support for python 3.2
• bump version number, update history, prepare announcement
• remove redundant test
• use the version of python in the virtualenv instead of depending on the PATH
• use packages available for python 3
• use packages that can be installed under python 3 to test the -i option to mkvirtualenv
• get the output in a way that makes it work properly with grep
• include virtualenv in the test dependencies
• fix shell expression to get the python version
• fix indentation
• py3k compatibility
• py3k compatibility
• py3k compatibility
• Added tag 2.11.1 for changeset 12a1e0b65313
• update history and version number for bug release
• Skiping re-initialization in subshells breaks tab completion, so go ahead and take the performance hit. Closes
• quiet some tests
• announcement for 2.11 release
• Added tag 2.11 for changeset ff4d492c873c
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• bump version number for release
• make log files group writable; resolves #62
• shortcut initialization if it has run before
• Remove support for Python 2.4 and 2.5. Update tests to work with virtualenv 1.7, where –no-site-packages is
now the default
• Add note about -a option to history file and clarify its description in the docs a bit
• documentation for -a <project_path> flag
• test for ‘mkvirtualenv -a <project_path>’
• add -a project_path to mkvirtualenv usage summary
• associate a project with a venv at creation
• fix link to Justin Lily’s helper post
• Added tag 2.10.1 for changeset 9e10c201a500
• bump version to 2.10.1; closes #114
• improve test for mktmpenv with options; addresses #114
• change mktmpenv to always create an env name for the user; addresses #114
• update announcement text
• bump version number
• document previous fix in history
• strip spaces from template names; fixes #111
• fix template listing for python 2.4, which does not support the -m option with namespace packages
• if uuid is not available, use random to generate a name for the new environment
• Use old style string formatting instead of the format method to retain python 2.4 and 2.5 support
• add test to ensure templates are applied correctly
• get the version number from the packaging scripts
• add mktmpenv command from virtualenvwrapper.tmpenv
• add -i option to mkvirtualenv
• more test quieting
• quiet tests and add intermediate check for delete
• fix use of sed in add2virtualenv to be more portable
• quiet test
• Merged in miracle2k/virtualenvwrapper (pull request #6)
• merge in linux changes
Chapter 3. Details
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• ignore temporary files created by editor
• variable name changes and other cleanup so the script does not bomb under ksh on ubunutu 11.04
• run each test script in every shell before moving to the next script
• Make add2virtualenv tests work again, add new test code for new features
• Update lssitepackages to work with new pth filename
• Merged upstream
• add link to changelog in readme
• fix version number in history
• update announcement file
• Upgrade instructions
• Clean up help functions. Add documentation for new -r option to mkvirtualenv
• Add -r option to mkvirtualenv to install base requirements after the environment is created. Fix argument
processing in mkproject so the correct template names are preserved
• merge virtualenvwrapper.project features into virtualenvwrapper
• convert function definition format so typeset works under ksh
• Merged upstream
• add link to powershell port
• Added tag 2.8 for changeset 279244c0fa41
• set version in history and update announcement
• Added tag 2.8 for changeset 7e0abe005937
• bump version number
• merge in patches from noirbizarre to add support for MSYS environment; clean up doc addition; fix resulting
problem is lsvirtualenv
• Identify another –no-site-packages test and add one for cpvirtualenv using the default args variable; addresses
• add test for –no-site-packages flag after cpvirtualenv; addresses #102
• Escape uses of cd in case it is aliased. addresses #101
• add a test to verify pushd/popd behavior; addresses #101
• Set is_msys to False when not in MSYS shell
• Avoid declaring the ‘command_exists’ function for a one shot use
• Replaced all remaining ‘bin’ occurences by $VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_ENV_BIN_DIR
• Use VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_VIRTUALENV in cpvirtualenv. fixes #104
• Merged in sharat87/virtualenvwrapper (pull request #1)
• Update documentation about mktemp
• VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_VIRTUALENV_ARGS not working with >1 args on zsh
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• User scripts should be called based on new $VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_ENV_BIN_DIR variable
• add some debugging and a test to try to reproduce problem with log directory variable; addresses #95
• move tab completion initialization; expand support for tab completion in zsh (fixes #97)
• Added support for getopts with fallback on getopt
• Improved variable name: VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_ENV_BIN_DIR instead of script_folder and is_msys instead of msys
• Document MSys installation
• Allow Win32 and Unix paths for MSYS_HOME variable
• Added msys paths support
• update announce file
• Added tag 2.7.1 for changeset b20cf787d8e1
• bump version number for bug release
• set log dir and hook dir variables after WORKON_HOME is set; fixes #94
• link to documentation about installing into user directory
• further installation doc clarification
• add a warning about installing into a virtualenv
• clarify instructions for running tests; fixes #92
• report an error if there are no test scripts
• Added tag 2.7 for changeset ea378ef00313
• update version and draft announcement
• add grep fix to history
• remove -e option from all calls to grep for better portability; fixes #85
• nicer titles for configuration section
• reorg install docs to separate the customization stuff; add some comments about site-wide installation; fixes #87
• make it possible to remove a virtualenv while inside it; fixes #83
• pass
PER_VIRTUALENV; fixes #89; fixes #87
• add link to vim-virtualenv
• enable tab completion for showvirtualenv; fixes #78
• clean up test instructions for developers; fixes #75
• clear configuration variables before running tests
• fix typo in cpvirtualenv; fixes #71
Chapter 3. Details
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• Use VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_HOOK_DIR to control where the hooks are defined
• fix tests to work under ksh on ubuntu 10.10 by using alternate syntax for capturing messages sent to stderr
• fix tempdir tests to work on ubuntu 10.10
• merge pmclanahan’s test changes and toggleglobalsitepackages
• Add attribution for recent patches to the history file
• fix tests for changes to virtualenvwrapper_verify_workon_home
• suppress hook loader messages in tests
• change verbosity level when creating hook scripts so the messages can be suppressed in tests
• Added docs for the toggleglobalsitepackages command
• Added “toggleglobalsitepackages” command. Added tests for the new command
• Modified the test runner to reliably use the intended shells
• fix arg handling for lsvirtualenv under zsh - fixes issue #86
• remove the custom functions from the sphinx config, since rtd does not support them
• trying readthedocs again
• ignore .orig files created by hg
• fix lsvirtualenv to read args in zsh
• remove the download url since I upload packages to pypi now
• translated 2.6.2/2.6.3 history into Japanese
• fixes issue 79 by enclosing WORKON_HOME in quotes
• merged from original
• Added tag 2.6.3 for changeset 246ce68795ea
• tweak history
• Added tag 2.6.3 for changeset e7582879df06
• more doc build changes
• add upload target
• Added tag 2.6.2 for changeset 625d85d3136f
• fix doc build for
• add test for space in WORKON_HOME to address #79
• add a test to verify that when virtualenv fails to create an environment the hook scripts are not run. see #76
• merged a few fixes and updated history
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• update history
• merge in japanese translation of documentation, with a few markup fixes; disable spelling extension until there
is a python 2.7 installer for it
• add spelling extension
• Added Japanese translation for the documentation Added to make html/website for the Japanese documentation
Added the Japanese documentation link in original English index.rst
• restore download url
• Added tag 2.6.1 for changeset 445a58d5a05a
• version 2.6.1
• fixes issue #73 by changing virtualenvwrapper_get_python_version to only include the major and minor numbers
• add supported version info to readme so it appears on pypi page
• Added tag 2.6 for changeset b0f27c65fa64
• bump version to 2.6 and document updates
• avoid specifying text mode when creating hook scripts (fixes #68)
• closes #70 by adding a list of supported shells and python versions to documentation and trove classifiers
• fix #60 by setting install_requires instead of requires
• change the way we determine the python version
• convert test scripts to use tox instead of home-grown multi-version system in the Makefile
• create the WORKON_HOME dir if it doesn’t exist
• fix platforms definition so upload to pypi will work
• Added tag 2.5.3 for changeset dc74f106d8d2
• point release before uploading sdist
• Added tag 2.5.2 for changeset f71ffbb996c4
• Make lsvirtualenv work under zsh using patch from Zach Voase. Fixes #64
• Added tag 2.5.1 for changeset 2ab678413a29
Chapter 3. Details
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• fix workon to list in brief mode
• Added tag 2.5 for changeset 80e2fcda77ac
• bump version
• add docs for showvirtualenv
• add showvirtualenv and re-implement lsvirtualenv with it
• Added tag 2.4 for changeset a85d80e88996
• tweak history file
• Added tag 2.4 for changeset 64f858d461d4
• add lsvirtualenv command with -l option
• Added tag 2.3 for changeset b9d4591458bb
• add get_env_details hook
• Added tag 2.2.2 for changeset 266a166f80da
• bump version to 2.2.2
• check exit code of virtualenv before proceeding (fixes #56)
• use single quotes around regex with $ (see #55)
• update history with changes (see #57)
• escape more commands (see #57)
• incorporate patch from fredpalmer to escape grep calls (fixes #57)
• Added tag 2.2.1 for changeset 87d60f20a715
• fix #50 by escaping rm before calling it
• Added tag 2.2.1 for changeset 66a89d019905
• bump version to 2.2.1
• convert path deriving code in startup of script to function so it is easier to test
• escape dollar sign in regex to resolve #53
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• add tests for GREP_OPTIONS problem (ref #51)
• unset GREP_OPTIONS before to use grep
• add support and bug tracker link to readme and docs
• ignore missing files in trap cleanup (see #38)
• address #37 with wording change in docs
• update history
• address issue #46 by escaping the calls to which
• Added tag 2.2 for changeset d5c5faecc92d
• bump version number
• more test refinements
• add trap to remove temporary file, see #38
• more tempfile fixes
• changes to make the tests run on my linux host
• mention changes to address ticket 35 in history
• addresses ticket 35 by adding debugging instrumentation
• since we always use the same config dir, set it once
• unify sphinx config files
• use the sphinxcontrib.bitbucket extension for links to the issues and changesets in history.rst
• update history with recent changes
• fix tests; clean up contributed changes
• Fixing a bug in the call to mktemp
• Some cleanup after talking with dhellmann
• First pass at speeding things up by making fewer calls into Python. Needs review
• review for text added by Doug about the translation
• show python version in test progress messages
• fix #44 by updating the tests to run with python 2.7b1
• fix #43 by switching the way the hook loader is run
• Added tag 2.1.1 for changeset 7540fc7d8e63
• setting up for a release
• fix #42 by quieting the errors/warnings
• fix #41 by using the cached python where the wrappers are installed
• fix formatting of seealso block
Chapter 3. Details
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• link to Manuel’s home page instead of just the translation
• add link back to english docs
• add attribution for Manuel
• add link from english to spanish docs; update history
• shift output directory for html build so the sdist package looks nicer
• merge in spanish translation
• another attempt to address #35
• added italic to deactivation
• announce translation
• english paragraph removed
• README translated
• first revision
• index revision
• markup fix
• aspell to plugins and fix some paragraphs
• aspell for script
• aspell to install
• aspell to index
• aspell to hooks
• aspell for extensions
• aspell for developers
• aspell for command_ref
• another paragraph
• almost done for plugins.rst
• continue the translation
• continue the translation of plugins.rst
• remove the option that copy the static files: we don’t have file to copy and it generate a WARNING in the sphinx
• markup fixed
• remove translation from the toctree
• scripts.rst tranlated to spanish
• remove old version of translations.rst, we don’t need this file anymore
• I don’t think that we need to translate the ChangeLog
• extensions.rst translated
• tips.rst translated
• rst markup fixed
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• typo fixed on english documentation
• fix the Makefile to generate the website documentation for ‘en’ and ‘es’ languages
• reorder the documents files in docs/LANGUAGE folders and modify the rules in the Makefile to build the
• merge from Doug commit. Added the base.html template to make the website documentation
• Makefile modified to build “es” documentation
• put the base template in the repository
• developers.rst translated
• typo fixed
• continue plugins.rst translation
• Fix typo found by humitos
• starting with “Defining an Extension”
• start to translate plugins.rst
• hooks translated
• translations in the index page
• added some translated topics
• added the translation for install.rst
• index.rst translated to spanish
• fixed the right bug :)
• update announcement for 2.1
• add emacs directive to readme
• Added tag 2.1 for changeset 241df6c36860
• bump version
• rotate log file when it grows too big
• do not include website html in sdist
• do not include html docs inside virtualenvwrapper dir to avoid conflicts with other packages using that namespace
• fix mkvirtualenv -h
• doc updates
• add references to new extensions
• add -n and -l options to hook loader
• update docs with examples
• handle empty workon_home dir properly
• support nondescructive argument to deactivate
• include a date value in the filename
Chapter 3. Details
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• fix #34 by using python’s tempfile module instead of a shell command
• add hooks for cpvirtualenv; make deactivate work better under ksh
• Update docs for mkvirtualenv to fix #30
• fix #33 with improved installation instructions and a better error message
• use tempfile to create temporary files instead of the process id so the filenames are less predictable
• update contributing info
• add attribution for research work for ksh port
• add support for ksh (fixes #25)
• copy dist file to desktop after building
• Added tag 2.0.2 for changeset 6a51a81454ae
• update version and history
• fix #32 by removing use of ‘with’ ; add tests for python 2.6 and 2.5
• sort ignore lines and add build directory
• Added tag 2.0.1 for changeset 91e1124c6831
• update version and history
• add documentation about temp files
• fix #29 by checking TMPDIR and using a default if no value is found
• save draft of email for announcing new releases on python-announce
• Added tag 2.0 for changeset 54713c4552c2
• fix install dir for web docs
• Added tag 2.0 for changeset 485e1999adf0
• move todo list out of hg repo
• add namespace package declaration
• include more motivational background
• add help to Makefile
• merge 2.0 changes into tip
• status update
• even more doc cleanup
• doc restructuring
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• remove rudundant ‘source’ from cli
• more doc cleanup
• more doc cleanup
• update extension entry point docs
• move make_hooks functionality into user_scripts, since they are related
• start overhauling doc content
• test cleanup and enhancement
• add VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_LAST_VIRTUAL_ENV variable for postdeactivate scripts
• use the user’s current shell as the default interpreter in the hook script
• quiet hook loader
• minor doc updates and formatting changes
• comment out debug logging
• all existing tests are passing again
• convert more hooks; stop running tests when we see a failure or error
• implement initialize hooks
• start implementing hook loader and a couple of sample hooks
• rename wrapper script
• add register rule
• update installation test
• don’t need any more
• add rules for updating website
• set version in Makefile before building html
• more tasks
• add test rules
• start moving from paver back to make and distribute
• reorg todo list
• add todo list and design notes for hook scripts
• Added tag 1.27 for changeset d64869519c2e
• add explicit check for virtualenv in the test
• Added tag 1.27 for changeset 3edf5f224815
• bump version; pre-release code cleanup
• add note about relocatable side-effect
• undo merge, tests moved to separate files
• touch up tests
Chapter 3. Details
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• flush formatting prints
• quiet tests
• ignore build files created by tests
• added test that copied virtualenv exists
• resolve conflict on tests dispatch
• added script to
• add testpackage
• Added tag 1.26 for changeset 51eef82a39d4
• preparing version 1.26 for release
• fix #26 by quieting the error message during init and only showing it when an action is explicitly taken by the
• remove directories likely to contain a site-wide virtualenv installation and hide the error message because we
expect mkvirtualenv to fail
• break up the tests to make it easier to run only part of them
• run all tests on all shells
• Added tag 1.25 for changeset 06229877a640
• add cdsitepackages arg handling from William McVey
• Added test for cdsitepackages with argument
• Updated with expanded capability of cdsitepackages to cd to a subdir
• Added tab completion and pathname argument handling to cdsitepackages
• I didn’t know about ‘sed -i’, makes this a lot easier
• When echoing the current list of paths, do not include the ‘import’ lines
• Test for existance of path file was broken, used the wrong test
• New -d option to ‘add2virtualenv’ which allows removal of a path previously added
• Make sure that paths added via ‘add2virtualenv’ always end up being listed *before* regularily installed packages in sys.path. This ensures that you can always use the command to replace an installed package with a
out-of-virtualenv version
• Added tag 1.24.2 for changeset f31869779141
• update history and bump version
• update history
• add user-provided tips to the docs
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• switch doc theme for packaged docs; add link to Rich Leland’s screencast
• Added tag 1.24.1 for changeset 4a8870326d84
• bump version num before new release
• add license and home page info to top of script
• Added tag 1.24 for changeset b243d023094b
• bump version and update history
• fix preactivate scripts; warn for existing scripts that need to be executable but are not
• Added tag 1.23 for changeset e55e8a54de7b
• prep for release
• test both mkvirtualenv hooks
• fix the postmkvirtualenv hook
• Added tag 1.22 for changeset c50385e9c99b
• bump version
• Added tag 1.22 for changeset eddb2921783c
• automatically create hook scripts
• add mode specification for emacs
• update README instructions
• Added tag 1.21 for changeset 2190584becc7
• update version for new release
• Added tag 1.21 for changeset c11ee7913230
• verify that virtualenv is installed; correct use of python to fix the WORKON_HOME value; more tests
• improve handling for missing WORKON_HOME variable or directory; add test for #18 - can’t reproduce
• Added tag 1.20 for changeset ed873ac408ff
Chapter 3. Details
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• prepare release
• minor code cleanup
• added simple lssitepackages test
• lssitepackages now also shows contents of virtualenv_path_extensions.pth, if that file exists
• added a white-line at the end
• added lssitepackages info
• added lssitepackages command
• moved main website source files
• Added tag 1.19 for changeset 8af191bfa3c8
• fix for ticket #14: relative paths don’t work with add2virtualenv
• incorporate patch from Sascha Brossmann to fix #15
• Applying my own ridiculous formatting to the README file. Give me 72 characters or give me death!
• Added tag 1.18 for changeset 24190e878fa8
• bump version number
• don’t forget the destdir info
• add basic developer info to the documentation
• add docs for deactivate to resolve issue #12
• fix issue #10 by removing warning and using an error at runtime
• Added tag 1.17.1 for changeset 10fbaab7da41
• update pavement to use sphinxcontrib.paverutils
• Added tag 1.17 for changeset 749030a692a0
• add installation test task
• incorporate personal site templates into a build that lets me generate hosted docs
• formatting tweaks
• add feature list; clean up hook list; fix bug in warning message generation
• cannot run package from command line, so just warn on import
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• create a simple python package and include the documentation in it so it is installed by default
• clean up and update docs, reduce size of readme, start working on packaging changes
• import documentation contribution from Steve Steiner
• run the tests under zsh as well as explicitly invoking bash
• Added tag 1.16 for changeset 7d9dbc84f25d
• bump version
• remove todo list
• Redirect all error messages from stdout to stderr Added directory completion for cdvirtualenv
• Allow cdvirtualenv to take an argument which is a directory under the virtualenv root to change into
• Added tag 1.15 for changeset bddfac3c8fde
• prep release 1.15
• error handling in mkvirtualenv
• add tests to sdist package
• Added tag 1.14 for changeset 6e54ea32a9d1
• use dist_dir option for sdist command
• Added tag 1.14 for changeset caf3f2a31fdd
• update version #
• Added tag 1.14 for changeset e31542a0d946
• update change list
• fix virtualenvwrapper_show_workon_options to use find again
• rewrite tests using shutil2
• experimental version of deactivate wrapper
• Added tag 1.13 for changeset 7c40caf6ce6f
• add to manifest
• Added tag 1.13 for changeset 8e73805a97e1
• fix for issue #5
• Added tag 1.12 for changeset dda0e4d36a91
Chapter 3. Details
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• fix verification in navigation functions and add tests
• Add a couple of quick-navigation helper functions
• add attribution
• check return code from virtualenvwrapper_verify_workon_home everywhere and return an error code if validation fails
• Update quick setup instructions to make them a little easier to follow and to fix a mistake in the order of some
of the steps
• Added tag 1.11 for changeset 511994f15d58
• run global postactivatehook before local; move release not to the correct version
• merge ChrisHas35’s postactivatehook changes
• start 1.11 with optimization suggestion from ChrisHas35
• Added tag 1.10 for changeset 274d4576d606
• add global postactivate hook. related to #3
• remove unnecssary egrep calls on show_workon_options. fixes #4
• update change history
• Updated ‘workon’ to use find, to avoid problems with colorized ‘ls’ output
• Added tag 1.9 for changeset d8112e52eadc
• add more hooks based on suggestion from Chris Hasenpflug; add documentation
• Added tag 1.8.1 for changeset 8417344df8ff
• bump version number
• Added tag 1.8.1 for changeset dca76424222e
• fix argument processing in mkvirtualenv
• Added tag 1.8 for changeset ea5f27af83bb
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• Fix for processing the argument list in mkvirtualenv from jorgevargas (#1)
• Added tag 1.7 for changeset 32f2a081d649
• Clean up TODO list and svn keywords. Add license section to README
• Added tag 1.7 for changeset 54aa96a1c09f
• Ignore files generated by paver and the build process. Use a fixed version string in the file
• update tags
• convert from make to paver 1.0
• patches to rmvirtualenv to make it work with zsh from Byron Clark
• add note about zsh completion support
• add zsh completion support, courtesy of Ted Leung
• add docs; fix space issues
• remove premature release
• add path management feature contributed by James Bennett
• fix another typo, TEST, then add another useful message when the user tries to remove an active environment
• fix spelling mistake
• bug fix from John Shimek
• Add tab completion based on Arthur Koziel’s version at
• fix the download url
• add and related pieces, including minimal docs
• usability patches from Alex Satrapa
• notes about what I still need to do
• cleanup
• predeactivate and postactivate hooks
• go ahead and change to the environment after creating it
• look for the workdir script and run it if we find it
• update comments
• add attribution
Chapter 3. Details
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
• keywords
• first copy
• start new project
project directory Directory associated with a virtualenv, usually located elsewhere and containing more permanent
development artifacts such as local source files, test data, etc. (see Location of Project Directories)
template Input to mkproject that configures the project directory to contain default files. (see Extending Virtualenvwrapper)
3.10. Glossary
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
Chapter 3. Details
virtualenv, from Ian Bicking, is a pre-requisite to using these extensions.
For more details, refer to the column I wrote for the May 2008 issue of Python Magazine: virtualenvwrapper | And
Now For Something Completely Different.
Rich Leland has created a short screencast showing off the features of virtualenvwrapper.
Manuel Kaufmann has translated this documentation into Spanish.
Tetsuya Morimoto has translated this documentation into Japanese.
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
Chapter 4. References
Join the virtualenvwrapper Google Group to discuss issues and features.
Report bugs via the bug tracker on BitBucket.
Shell Aliases
Since virtualenvwrapper is largely a shell script, it uses shell commands for a lot of its actions. If your environment
makes heavy use of shell aliases or other customizations, you may encounter issues. Before reporting bugs in the bug
tracker, please test without your aliases enabled. If you can identify the alias causing the problem, that will help make
virtualenvwrapper more robust.
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
Chapter 5. Support
Copyright Doug Hellmann, All Rights Reserved
Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software and its documentation for any purpose and without fee
is hereby granted, provided that the above copyright notice appear in all copies and that both that copyright notice
and this permission notice appear in supporting documentation, and that the name of Doug Hellmann not be used in
advertising or publicity pertaining to distribution of the software without specific, written prior permission.
virtualenvwrapper Documentation, Release 4.7.3.dev12
Chapter 6. License
project directory, 69
template, 69
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