Django "Stack" Install with ActivePython on Win/Mac

A current project involves Django, PostgreSQL, and git; three softwares I was pretty much unfamiliar with as a LAMP developer. After some poking around and initial love affair with Python and the idea of Django...well, Django is super-sweet on *nix OSs like Ubuntu, but not so fun to install and use on Windows and the "unix-like" Darwin-based Mac OS. So here's the start of my install guide for Windows. It can easily be applied to Mac since ActivePython is available for Mac as well.

So, the requirements: Python is easy to install; Django is easy to install; MySQL is generally pretty easy to install; the adapters that allow Python to talk to MySQL? Not so much. And what if you want to manage all those python modules you install? Or have virtual environments that match your target deployment environment? Enter ActivePython. ActivePython is essentially a distribution of Python and a number of other programs for managing python and python modules/package. I highly recommend you start with that:

Install ActivePython:

I just installed to C:\Python (/Python on Mac).

Now, the creators of the code I'm working with for this project use an application called "pip" (bundled with ActivePython) that allows you to install a list of dependancies from a standard requirements file. You can "install" packages, svn repositories, git repositories, and more. This is easily one of the coolest ways to distribute code I've ever seen. I fully expect this to be a standard development method in the next few years. Anyway, to import these files into pip require require you to have a command line version of git and subversion, so:

Install Git for windows

Options for the install:
- Install git as cmd line tool (not in bash shell)
- Checkout as-is, commit as Unix-style endings

Install Git for OSX

Install Subversion Command line client (CollabNet Subversion Command-Line Client v1.6.11 (for Windows))

On OSX you should have svn already and you shouldn't need to worry too much about line endings. Feel free to upgrade to the latest and greatest.

Now we have what we need to get going: from ActivePython; virtualenv, pip, and pypm; svn; and git.

Make sure you can run both. Open up a cmd prompt or Terminal on OSX:

$ git --version
git version

$ svn --version
svn, version 1.6.11

Ok, we're good to go. Switch to your drive root or wherever you want to create your virtual environments:

$ mkdir virtualenvs
$ cd virtualenvs

# create a virtual enviroment called "myenv"
$ virtualenv myenv

# OR, if you want the env to not inherit your globally installed python site packages
# which you probably want since installing mysql and postgre plugins in a virtual
# environment is tough since you have to compile them
$ virtualenv --no-site-packages myenv

# activate the environment (windows):
$ myenv\Scripts\activate.bat

# activate the environment (mac):
# note that scripts are created in "bin" instead of "Scripts"
$ source myenv/bin/activate
(myenv)virtualenvs $

Now running pip will use the pip created when the virtual environment was created, installing packages only in that working environment. So you can have different environments with different packages installed.

Let's install Django as a test first.

# latest
(myenv)virtualenvs $ pip install Django

# or install a specific version
(myenv)virtualenvs $ pip install Django==1.1
Downloading/unpacking Django==1.1
  Downloading Django-1.1.tar.gz (5.6Mb): 5.6Mb downloaded
  Running egg_info for package Django
Installing collected packages: Django
  Running install for Django
Successfully installed Django

Next step in my install process was getting the codebase from the client. They used github for version control (replacing client name with dummy copy):

# clone the git repository
(myenv)virtualenvs $ cd D:\Projects\Client\
(myenv)virtualenvs $ git clone

The client's repo had a requirments formatted file that I can then use to install with pip.

# back in our virtual environment, now install the requirements
# the -E flag tells pip which environment to install to.
(myenv)virtualenvs $ pip install -E myenv -r D:\Projects\Client\repository\requirements.txt

This is neat because pip's requirements format allows svn, git, and pypm (pythom package manager) hints in this file. It'll automatically pull in the dependancies using the method specified. Here's an example:

-e svn+
-e git://

So we're installing Django 1.1, copying down an svn repo from googlecode, cloning a git repo from github and installing a number of python mods using PyPm. Pretty badass for one command!

If we were on unix or mac (with xcode installed) we could also use pip to compile the mysqldb module, but we have some binary install options on windows. This will install it for all python environments. Not sure how to use this to install to a specific virtual environment: Download MySQL-python-1.2.2.win32-py2.6.exe (1,022.8 KiB). Run the installer and select your ActivePython install when prompted. To test if it works, open cmd prompt and type

$ python
>>> import MySQLdb 

If there's no errors; hey, it worked. On MacOS, it's not quite as fun. I used Macports to download the MySQL5 headers, then I did the following:

# only download the package
(myenv)virtualenvs $ pip install --no-install MySQL-python

Then open the downloaded package and edit site.cfg and uncomment line 13 and add the path to your mysql_config (for me this ended up pointing to the bin folder and mysql_config I downloaded with Macports). After than you can run:

python build
python install

There's also a Windows port of the psycopg2 module (PostgreSQL for Python). We happen to be using this for the client project. You'll need to install Postgre 8.x first. Then install this guy. Not going to go into Postgre installation and whatnot since I only know a bit of the basics myself. It was enough to get my Django project up and running:

cd /Projects/Client/repository/web
python syncdb
pyhton runserver

Command line is fun. Now, getting WSGI to work with MAMP will be the real challenge.

May 14th, 2010 | Permalink