pyenv - a python equivalent to nvm and rbenv

2020-03-08

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~2 min read

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326 words

I recently had to run an application built with Python 3.6. Unfortunately, when I looked at the installed version of python on my OS, it was 2.7

$ python --version
Python 2.7.17

In Node-land, this is where something like nvm comes in handy for having different versions of node installed to easily move between them based on the project requirements.

(Side note: I got sick of using the wrong version to build my node projects, so I now check for a .nvmrc file every time I change directories.)

It turns out Python has a very similar tool called pyenv (and Ruby does too - rbenv).

Chris J Mendez has a great write-up on how use it to install multiple versions of python which was the main reference document I used to get up to speed.

The basic steps (using Homebrew) as Chris outlines them:

  1. Update homebrew

    brew update
  2. Install pyenv

    brew install pyenv
  3. Configure bash to use pyenv

    If you want pyenv to run every time you boot up your terminal, you can add it to your bash_profile like so:

    echo 'eval "$(pyenv init -)"' >> ~/.bash_profile

    Alternatively, you can add it as an alias:

    .bash_profile
    alias runpyenv='eval "\$(pyenv init -)"'

    To have these changes take effect, you’ll need to refresh your terminal.

    source ~/.bash_profile
  4. Use pyenv to install the version you need

    1. List available versions

      pyenv install --list
    2. Install the desired version

      pyenv install 3.8.0
  5. Set your version of python

    1. Review which versions are installed

      pyenv versions
    2. locally

      pyenv local 3.8.0
    3. globally

      pyenv global 2.7.0
  6. Confirm your version is what you expect

    python --version

    You may need to reload your terminal again to see the changes take effect.

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Hi there and thanks for reading! My name's Stephen. I live in Chicago with my wife, Kate, and dog, Finn. Want more? See about and get in touch!