Python Workspace Management

Torben Dury · March 11, 2023

Work on multiple Python projects, collaborate with others and manage Python environments effectively.


A Python environment is a self-contained package of Python and its dependencies, isolated from other environments on the same system. This way, you can ensure that each project runs on its required Python version and package versions, without conflicts or compatibility issues.

In this quick post, we’ll explore various tools and techniques for managing Python environments, including virtual environments, conda environments, pipenv, and Docker containers.

Virtual Environments

A virtual environment is a tool built into Python that allows you to create and manage isolated Python environments. To create a virtual environment, you can use the built-in venv module or third-party tools like virtualenv. Here’s an example of how to create and activate a virtual environment using venv:

python3 -m venv myenv
source myenv/bin/activate

This creates a new virtual environment named myenv and activates it. You can then install packages into this environment using pip, without affecting the global Python environment.

Conda Environments

Conda is a package management system that can be used to create and manage Python environments, as well as environments for other programming languages. Conda environments can be more complex than virtual environments, as they can include packages with compiled dependencies, such as NumPy or TensorFlow.

To create a conda environment, you can use the conda create command, like this:

conda create --name myenv python=3.8 numpy pandas

This creates a new conda environment named myenv with Python 3.8, NumPy, and Pandas installed. You can activate this environment using the conda activate command.


Pipenv is a third-party tool that aims to simplify the process of managing Python environments and dependencies. It combines virtual environments and package management into a single tool, making it fast and painless to create and manage Python projects.

To create a new Pipenv project, you can use the pipenv install command, like this:

pipenv install requests

This creates a new Pipenv environment and installs the Requests package into it. You can then run Python scripts within this environment using the pipenv run command.


Docker is a tool for building and deploying containerized applications. With Docker, you can create a self-contained environment for your Python code, including all dependencies, and deploy it to any system that has Docker installed.

To create a Docker image for your Python project, you can use a Dockerfile, which specifies the steps for building the image. Here’s an example of a Dockerfile that creates an image with Python 3.8 and Flask installed:

FROM python:3.8
COPY requirements.txt .
RUN pip install --no-cache-dir -r requirements.txt
COPY . .
CMD [ "python", "" ]

This Dockerfile installs the dependencies listed in requirements.txt and copies the source code into the container. When you run the container, it starts the Flask application.


Managing Python environments is crucial for ensuring that your code works consistently across systems and collaborators. Virtual environments, conda environments, Pipenv, and Docker containers are all powerful tools for managing Python environments, each with its own advantages and tradeoffs. By choosing the right tool for the job, you can make your Python development workflow smoother and more efficient.

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