A featureful virtualenv tool for Emacs. Emulates much of the functionality of Doug Hellmann's virtualenvwrapper.
- Works with the new python.el, which is the default on Emacs 24.3 and up. Does not support the older python modes.
- Python shells, interactive shells, eshell, and any other subprocesses can be made aware of your virtualenvs.
- Implements a large subset of the functionality of virtualenvwrapper.
- Obviously make sure you have virtualenv installed. You don't actually need virtualenvwrapper.sh, this is a reimplementation in Emacs lisp.
- Install from MELPA (
M-x package-install virtualenvwrapper), or just put
virtualenvwrapper.elon your load path somewhere.
(require 'virtualenvwrapper) (venv-initialize-interactive-shells) ;; if you want interactive shell support (venv-initialize-eshell) ;; if you want eshell support (setq venv-location "/path/to/your/virtualenvs/")
in your config somewhere.
M-x venv-workonto activate virtualenvs and
M-x venv-deactivatedeactivate them.
If you have your virtualenvs spread around the filesystem rather than in one directory, just set venv-location to be a list of paths to each virtualenv. For example:
(setq venv-location '("/path/to/project1-env/" "/path/to/ptoject2-env/"))
Notice that the final directory of each path has a different name. The mode uses this fact to disambiguate virtualenvs from each other, so for now it is required.
- You can also change easily the virtual environment location with
M-x venv-set-location. This is particularly useful when working with tools such as tox that generate virtual environments dynamically.
What do activating and deactivating actually do?
Many virtual environment support tools describe their functionality as "it just works" or "it's so simple". This is not descriptive enough to figure out what's wrong when something inevitably breaks, so here I will describe exactly what happens when you activate a virtualenv:
python-shell-virtualenv-pathis set to the virtualenv's directory so that when you open a new python shell, it is aware of the virtual environment's installed packages and modules.
- The virtualenv's
bindirectory is prepended to the
PATHenvironment variable so that when a process is launched from Emacs it is aware of any executables installed in the virtualenv (such as
pep8, etc.). This comes in handy because you can do
M-! noseteststo run your tests, for example.
VIRTUAL_ENVenvironment variable is set to the virtualenv's directory so that any tools that depend on this variable function correctly (one such tool is jedi).
- The virtualenv's
bindirectory is added to the
exec-path, so that Emacs itself can find the environment's installed executables. This is useful, for example, if you want to have Emacs spawn a subprocess running an executable installed in a virtualenv.
When you deactivate, all these things are undone. You can safely
exec-path while a virtualenv is active and
expect the changes not to be destroyed.
This covers everything except interactive shells, which are covered in the next section.
Support for interactive shell is turned on by calling
venv-initialize-interactive-shell. After this is done, whenever you
shell, the shell will start in the correct virtualenv. This
detects whether or not you have virtualenvwrapper.sh installed and does
the right thing in either case. Note that changing the virtualenv in
Emacs will not affect any running shells and vice-versa; they are
This feature is a pretty big hack and works by
shell function. This works fine if you haven't otherwise tricked
out or advised it, but if this is the case it may break. Please file
an issue if you encounter any bugs with this functionality, I am
interested to see how robust it is.
support for eshell is turned on by calling
After doing this, any new eshells you launch will be in the correct
virtualenv and have access to installed executables, etc. The mode
also provides a variety of virtualenvwrapper commands that work
identically to their bash/zsh counterparts (described in detail
below). Note that in contrast to how interactive shells work, Eshell
shares an environment with Emacs, so if you activate or deactivate in
one, the other is affected as well. Note that this requires the
eshell-modify-global-environment to be set to true. Running
venv-initialize-eshell causes this to occur. If this doesn't work for
you, open an issue! It's technically possible to separate the two, but
it requires some hacking around with the different namespaces that I
won't bother to do unless someone really needs it.
The commands this mode provides are prefixed with
All commands can be called interactively using
M-x. All of these
comamnds have also been aliased without prefixes as eshell functions,
so you can call them on the eshell just as you would in bash or zsh.
eshell> workon myenv eshell> deactivate eshell> cpvirtualenv env copy eshell> mkvirtualenv newenv
All will do what would expect.
Prompts for the name of a virtualenv and activates it as described
above. Can also be called noninteractively as
When called, it sets
python -m pdb so that
M-x pdb can be used inside the virtual environment.
Deactivates your current virtualenv, undoing everything that
did. This can also be called noninteractively as
When called, it sets
gud-pdb-command-name to its default value
Prompt for a name and create a new virtualenv. If your virtualenvs are
all kept in the same directory (i.e.
venv-location is a string),
then the new virtualenv will be created in that directory. If you keep
your virtualenvs in different places (i.e.
venv-location is a
list), then the new virtualenv will be created in the current default
directory. Also callable noninteractively as
Prompt for the name of a virutalenv and delete it. Also callable
Display all available virtualenvs in a help buffer. Also callable
Change the current default directory to the current virtualenv's
directory. If called noninteractively, you can optionally provide an
argument, which is interpreted as a subdirectory. For example, to go
bin directory of the currently active virtualenv, call
Makes a new virtualenv that is a copy of an existing one. Prompts for the names of both. WARNING This comes with the same caveat as the corresponding command in the original virtualenvwrapper, which is that some packages hardcode their locations when being installed, so creating new virtualenvs in this manner may cause them to break. Use with caution.
There is a
venv-with-virtualenv macro, which takes the name of a
virtualenv and then any number of forms and executes those forms with
that virtualenv active, in that virtualenv's directory. For example:
(venv-with-virtualenv "myenv" (message default-directory))
Will message the path of
myenv's directory. There's also a
venv-all-virtualenv macro, which takes a series of forms, activates
each virtualenv in turn, moves to its directory, and executes the
Since it's common to want to execute shell commands, there are
venv-allvirtualenv-shell-command, which take a string, interpreted
as a shell command, and do exactly what you'd expect. So for example,
you can do
(venv-allvirtualenv-shell-command "pip install pep8") to
pep8 in all virtualenvs.
can also be called interactively and will prompt for a command to run
The eshell supports using this command just like in bash or zsh, so at an eshell prompt, you can just do:
eshell> allvirtualenv pip install pep8
And it will do what you expect.
This mode doesn't screw with things you probably have customized yourself, such as your mode line, keybindings, mode-hooks, etc. in order to provide stuff like automatically turning on virtualenvs in certain projects, show the virtualenv on the mode line, etc. Instead, you can do all these things pretty easily using tools already provided by Emacs. How to do some of them are described below.
This mode doesn't provide any. I don't presume to know how you want your keybindings, you can bind them to whatever you want! Go crazy!
Virtualenvwrapper lets you write shell scripts that run as hooks after you take certain actions, such as creating or deleting a virtualenv. This package provides Emacs hooks, to achieve the same thing. The complete list of hooks is:
venv-premkvirtualenv-hook venv-postmkvirtualenv-hook venv-prermvirtualenv-hook venv-postrmvirtualenv-hook venv-preactivate-hook venv-postactivate-hook venv-predeactivate-hook venv-postdeactivate-hook
each of which is run when you would expect based on the name.
For example, to install commonly used packages when a new virtualenv is
created you could modify the
venv-postmkvirtualenv-hook as follows:
(add-hook 'venv-postmkvirtualenv-hook (lambda () (shell-command "pip install nose flake8 jedi")))
Automatically activating a virtualenv in a particular project
It's also common to want to have a virtualenv automatically activated
when you open a file in a certain project. This mode provides no
special way to do this because once again Emacs has already done it in
the form of
per-directory local variables
mode hooks. In
order to have a virtualenv automatically activated when you open a
python file in a particular project, you could put a
.dir-locals.el in the
project's root directory with something like:
((python-mode . ((project-venv-name . "myproject-env"))))
Now whenever you open one of this project's python files, you will
have a variable
project-venv-name set to the name of the project's
virtualenv. In order to cause this venv to be activated
automatically, we can just add a python-mode hook:
(add-hook 'python-mode-hook (lambda () (hack-local-variables) (when (boundp 'project-venv-name) (venv-workon project-venv-name))))
The call to
hack-local-variables is necessary because by default
mode-hooks are run before directory local variables are set, so we
have to do that explicitly in the hook in order to have access to
Displaying the currently active virtualenv on the mode line
The name of the currently active virtualenv is stored in the variable
venv-current-name. If you want to have it displayed on your custom
mode line you can just add
(:exec (list venv-current-name)))
somewhere in your
mode-line-format. If you don't customize your mode
line and just want to have the current virtualenv displayed, you can
(setq-default mode-line-format (cons '(:exec venv-current-name) mode-line-format))
Eshell prompt customization
You also might want to have the name of your current virtualenv appear
on the eshell prompt. You can do this by a pretty similar mechanism,
venv-current-name in your
somewhere. Here is a simple example of a prompt that includes the
current virtualenv name followed by a dollar sign:
(setq eshell-prompt-function (lambda () (concat venv-current-name " $ ")))
Make sure you also adjust your
eshell-prompt-regexp if you do this.
More about customizing the eshell prompt on the EmacsWiki.
Bugs / Comments / Contributions
Open an issue or a PR! I'm happy to pull in contributions or take suggestions for improvements.
- install cask
- Install dependacies with
cask install --dev
- Verify that the tests pass with
cask exec ert-runner
The tests are pretty rudimentary integration tests but they verify that all the basic functionality works.
If you're planning on submitting a PR, please make sure that the tests pass before you do so. Thanks!
Copyright (C) 2013 James J. Porter
Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:
The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.
THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.