Setting up Python development environment on Mac OS X

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Setting up Python on Mac OS X takes a few steps, which will allow you to configure a sane environment that won’t mess up the pre-shipped version of Python.

Remove any old environments

Make sure to remove old installations of Python, if previously installed on your system, except for the one installed by Mac OS X. For example, if we previously installed Python from homebrew, then the uninstall commands are:

If you installed python via the OS’s python (for example, the one coming from Mac), then:

A side effect of removing previous Python installations is also removing project-specific virtualenv‘s. If you have created requirements.txt files for these environments, it should be straightforward to rebuild them later.

Installing the new environments

Since many versions of Python have been shipped, it’s wise to choose a recent installation of 2.7 and 3.5. We’ll use a environment tool to properly build and install the right version of Python. We will be using pyenv tool. We don’t use homebrew because it doesn’t list all available versions.

1. Install homebrew for Mac if you don’t have it.


2. Install pyenv using homebrew:


3. Let’s configure Pyenv correctly in your terminal’s ~/.bash_profile (~/.bashrc on Ubuntu). Add the following lines if not already there in the file:


4. After installing the prerequisites, now we’ll use pyenv to install Python. Please choose one of the following steps to follow, depending on which Python you wish to install. Also, if you are using certain packages such as bcrypt, use the alternative install steps.

Regular install steps for Python 2.7.

Steps for installing Python with bcrypt package (see bug report).

Regular install steps for Python 3.5.


5. To configure virtual environments for project-specific Python dependencies:

Gotcha: We have to use the pyenv version of virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper. The non-pyenv version won’t work: it will stop your terminal from opening (See bug report).