In addition to my last post on Python development environments, here’s a note on using the PyDev plug-in for Eclipse with our virtualenv set-up.

Assuming everything went swimmingly — virtualenv running, Django installed with a project folder (let’s call it ‘myproject’) having done something like this:

$ mkdir dev
$ cd dev
$ virtualenv --no-site-packages env
$ source env/bin/activate
(env) $ pip install django
(env) $ django-admin.py startproject myproject

First install PyDev in Eclipse under “Install New Software” with the URL: http://pydev.org/updates

Once that’s done, configure the Python interpreter. In your Preferences, under PyDev and Interpreter – Python, hit the Auto Config option to find all your libraries and populate the Python Path.

Otherwise, manually add Python and locate your interpreter, mine is under /usr/bin/python2.7.

For now, this only includes your globally-installed system-wide libraries, not those you’ve installed within the virtualenv environment.

To create a new “PyDev Django project” however, you’ll need to have Django installed globally (or otherwise configured in the above Python Path settings) so PyDev can see it. Right now ours isn’t, so we have an extra step.

Instead, we’ll create a “New PyDev project” (non-Django), add our virtualenv location containing the libraries in our local site-packages directory, then convert that to a Django Project once PyDev is satisfied we have the goods.

This method means we don’t have to install Django globally just for the sake of using this IDE.

To do this, from the File menu and New PyDev Project, I un-tick ‘Create src folder and add it to the PYTHONPATH’, instead selecting ‘Don’t configure PYTHONPATH (to be done manually later on)’.

Right-click the project folder, go to Properties and PyDev – PYTHONPATH and add a Source Folder pointing to your virtualenv site-packages. In this instance:

dev/env/lib/python2.7/site-packages

Having found Django, PyDev now let’s us convert this to a Django project. Right-click again and under the PyDev menu select Set as Django Project.

Now everything can be performed within Eclipse, rather than by the command line.

For example, to run the server we’ll add a Custom Command. Under the Django menu select Custom Command and add the following:

runserver --noreload

You may be asked to select which manage.py to run from, choose the one within your project, i.e. myproject/manage.py.

Hit Run and test http://localhost:8000/ within your browser.

Note the --noreload option allows Eclipse to maintain control over the process, rather than spawning a new thread. This function usually allows the server to reload automatically when changes are made to your code, at your convenience.

I went out for a ride and I never went back.