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Welcome to Python Workshop’s documentation!

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Getting Started

In this workshop you will learn about several technologies that can be used for developing web mapping applications with Python. Some of them are general-purpose web development technologies while other are geospatial-specific. Here are these technologies:

Start the virtual machine

For this workshop the Debian GNU/Linux operating system will be used. It will be executed in a VirtualBox virtual machine. To start the Debian operating system open VirtualBox and start the system named python_workshop.


If there’s no system named python_workshop you will have to create one in VirtualBox, using the python_workshop.vdi file as the Hard Disk.

Use workshop as the username and password to log into the system.

Open the documentation

This document (the one you’re reading right now) is available in the Debian system in HTML form. To view it launch FireFox and open http://localhost/python_workshop.

Create a directory for the workshop

Open a terminal, and create a directory for this workshop:

$ mkdir python_workshop

This directory will be your working directory for this workshop.

Create the Python environment

The various Python packages that you will use in this workshop will be installed in a virtual Python environment.

A virtual Python environment is a Python environment isolated from the main, system-wide Python environment. A virtual Python environment allows, among other things, to install Python packages as a regular user (with no admin priviledges).

You’re going to create the virtual environment in the python_workshop directory so start by changing to this directory:

$ cd python_workshop

You can now create the virtual environment using the virtualenv command. For example, to create a virtual environment named vp use this command:

$ virtualenv --no-site-packages vp

The --no-site-packages option is used to fully isolate the virtual environment from the main environment; although not mandatory this option is recommended.

The virtualenv command should have created a directory named vp, make sure this is the case.

Activate the Python environment

Now activate the virtual environment with:

$ source vp/bin/activate

Your prompt should now be changed, it should look like this:

(vp) $

With the virtual environment activated if you enter python the Python interpreter from the virtual environment will be executed.

Miscellaneous notes

You will use PostgreSQL in this workshop. You can use pgAdmin to connect to the PostgreSQL database and verify the creation of tables, rows, etc. (pgAdmin should be installed in the Debian image, and a button to start it is probably available in the desktop’s top panel.)

You will create an application named WorkshopApp in this workshop, the final version of the application is available in the Debian system in /usr/local/workshops/python_workshop/materials/WorkshopApp.