When you first start working with Python, you will very quickly start using Pipenv, Pip Install and Virtual Environments.
This can be tricky and hard to comprehend at first, so in this article I want to break it down so it is easy to understand at a fundamental level for beginners.
What Is Pipenv?
Pipenv is a tool that helps manage your Python application’s dependencies. It combines the functionality of Pip and Virtualenv into a single command, making it easier to work with different versions of Python and libraries. This can be especially helpful when working on projects with multiple developers.
To understand Pipenv, it is best to look at a problem it solves.
Let’s assume you are working on a development project and have a requirements.txt file.
A requirements.txt file is a text file that contains a list of Python packages that your application requires. For example, you may be running external third-party packages such as scipy, and you want to ensure that package is installed with your development.
But there is a problem with requirements.txt files and that is keeping them up to date or frozen in time.
Let’s say you release a version of your code to production and run a “pip install – requirements.txt” to install your external packages such as scipy.
In this instance, pip will get the latest release of the packages such as scipy and not the version you developed your code with.
As a result, your code could break due to a conflict of versions.
You could specify versions of third-party code in your requirements.txt file, but of course, this will create a very manual version control system of third-party packages which you will be responsible for.
This is all very manual and labour intensive, with a lot of thought involved. This is where Pipenv can help.
Simply install Pipenv using the following code, and now Pipenv will replace Pip.
pip install pipenv
From Pipenv we get two new features, Pipfile and Pipfile.lock which I will explain in more detail later.
What Is The Difference Between Pip and Pipenv?
The main difference between Pip and Pipenv is that Pip is a standalone tool, while Pipenv is a tool that combines pip and virtualenv. Pipenv is also specifically designed for managing Python application dependencies.
The global command, pip install, will install a pip package on Python projects.
This is fine if you are working alone, but if you are working in a development team, using pip install in isolation will result in different developers having different versions of packages, which is not a good idea at all.
Pip is typically used to install packages into a virtual environment and typically uses the requirements.txt file to control dependencies.
Pipenv on the other hand, generates a Pipfile which controls dependencies.
A Pipfile is a file that contains a list of Python packages that your application requires. Pipenv can use this file to install all the required packages automatically.
In addition, Pipenv can be used to create virtual environments, which is excellent for managing different Python programme projects.
Is Pipenv Better Than Pip?
Pipenv has extra functionality that is not found in pip.
For beginners, Pip is far easier to get started with.
The downside of Pipenv is that it is complex for beginners. I was thrown in the deep end when I first started programming with Python, and it took me a long time to comprehend the differences between Pipenv and Pip.
As a beginner, you should start with Pip to get things going. Too much time can be wasted on Pipenv as a beginner.
For experienced programmers, Pipenv is definitely better than pip. It combines the functionality of Pip and Virtualenv into a single command, making it easier to work with different versions of Python and libraries. This can be especially helpful when working on projects with multiple developers.
What Is A Virtual Environment In Python?
A virtual environment is a tool that allows you to create isolated Python environments. This can be helpful when working on multiple projects with different dependencies, or if you want to keep your development environment separate from your production environment.
Is Pipenv A Virtual Environment?
Pipenv is a tool that allows you to create a virtual environment. It allows you to create isolated Python environments, which can be helpful when working on multiple projects with different dependencies.
Using a Pipfile, the Pipenv will automatically manage your project packages.
In addition, Pipenv will generate the Piplfile.lock.
A Pipfile.lock is a file that contains a list of the exact versions of Python packages that were installed in your Pipenv environment. This can be helpful when reproducing a development environment or when sharing your project with others.
How Do You Install Pipenv?
Assuming that you already have Python and pip installed, to install Pipenv to your home directory on Windows, open the command prompt (Windows+R) and enter the following.
pip install --user pipenv
Pipenv is a great tool for managing Python dependencies.
If you’re just starting out with Python development, using just Pip will be easier. However, it is a good idea to get familiar using Pipenv to manage your project dependencies, especially if you plan to progress your coding career to become a professional.
It’s a great tool that can make your life a lot easier! However, if you’re already comfortable using Pip and Virtualenv separately, there’s no need to switch to Pipenv as a beginner.