If you're doing the tutorial at home

If you're doing the tutorial at home, not at one of the Django Girls events, you can completely skip this chapter now and go straight to the How the Internet works chapter.

This is because we cover these things in the whole tutorial anyway, and this is just an additional page that gathers all of the installation instructions in one place. The Django Girls event includes one "Installation evening" where we install everything so we don't need to bother with it during the workshop, so this is useful for us.

If you find it useful, you can follow through this chapter too. But if you want to start learning things before installing a bunch of stuff on your computer, skip this chapter and we will explain the installation part to you later on.

Good luck!

Installation

In the workshop you will be building a blog, and there are a few setup tasks in the tutorial which would be good to work through beforehand so that you are ready to start coding on the day.

Chromebook setup (if you're using one)

You can skip right over this section if you're not using a Chromebook. If you are, your installation experience will be a little different. You can ignore the rest of the installation instructions.

Cloud 9

Cloud 9 is a tool that gives you a code editor and access to a computer running on the Internet where you can install, write, and run software. For the duration of the tutorial, Cloud 9 will act as your local machine. You'll still be running commands in a terminal interface just like your classmates on OS X, Ubuntu, or Windows, but your terminal will be connected to a computer running somewhere else that Cloud 9 sets up for you.

  1. Install Cloud 9 from the Chrome web store
  2. Go to c9.io
  3. Sign up for an account
  4. Click Create a New Workspace
  5. Name it django-girls
  6. Select the Blank (second from the right on the bottom row with orange logo)

Now you should see an interface with a sidebar, a big main window with some text, and a small window at the bottom that looks something like this:

Cloud 9

yourusername:~/workspace $

This bottom area is your terminal, where you will give the computer Cloud 9 has prepared for you instructions. You can resize that window to make it a bit bigger.

Virtual Environment

A virtual environment (also called a virtualenv) is like a private box we can stuff useful computer code into for a project we're working on. We use them to keep the various bits of code we want for our various projects separate so things don't get mixed up between projects.

In your terminal at the bottom of the Cloud 9 interface, run the following:

Cloud 9

sudo apt update
sudo apt install python3.6-venv

If this still doesn't work, ask your coach for some help.

Next, run:

Cloud 9

mkdir djangogirls
cd djangogirls
python3.6 -mvenv myvenv
source myvenv/bin/activate
pip install django~=1.11.0

(note that on the last line we use a tilde followed by an equal sign: ~=).

Github

Make a Github account.

PythonAnywhere

The Django Girls tutorial includes a section on what is called Deployment, which is the process of taking the code that powers your new web application and moving it to a publicly accessible computer (called a server) so other people can see your work.

This part is a little odd when doing the tutorial on a Chromebook since we're already using a computer that is on the Internet (as opposed to, say, a laptop). However, it's still useful, as we can think of our Cloud 9 workspace as a place or our "in progress" work and Python Anywhere as a place to show off our stuff as it becomes more complete.

Thus, sign up for a new Python Anywhere account at www.pythonanywhere.com.

Install Python

For readers at home: this chapter is covered in the Installing Python & Code Editor video.

This section is based on a tutorial by Geek Girls Carrots (https://github.com/ggcarrots/django-carrots)

Django is written in Python. We need Python to do anything in Django. Let's start by installing it! We want you to install Python 3.6, so if you have any earlier version, you will need to upgrade it.

Windows

First check whether your computer is running a 32-bit version or a 64-bit version of Windows, by pressing the Windows key + Pause/Break key which will open your System info, and look at the "System type" line. You can download Python for Windows from the website https://www.python.org/downloads/windows/. Click on the "Latest Python 3 Release - Python x.x.x" link. If your computer is running a 64-bit version of Windows, download the Windows x86-64 executable installer. Otherwise, download the Windows x86 executable installer. After downloading the installer, you should run it (double-click on it) and follow the instructions there.

One thing to watch out for: During the installation you will notice a window marked "Setup". Make sure you tick the "Add Python 3.6 to PATH" checkbox and click on "Install Now", as shown here:

Don't forget to add Python to the Path

In upcoming steps, you'll be using the Windows Command Line (which we'll also tell you about). For now, if you need to type in some commands, go to Start menu → Windows System → Command Prompt. You can also hold in the Windows key and press the "R"-key until the "Run" window pops up. To open the Command Line, type "cmd" and press enter in the "Run" window. (On newer versions of Windows, you might have to search for "Command Prompt" since it's sometimes hidden.)

Type "cmd" in the "Run" window

Note: if you are using an older version of Windows (7, Vista, or any older version) and the Python 3.6.x installer fails with an error, you can try either:

  1. install all Windows Updates and try to install Python 3.6 again; or
  2. install an older version of Python, e.g., 3.4.6.

If you install an older version of Python, the installation screen may look a bit different than shown above. Make sure you scroll down to see "Add python.exe to Path", then click the button on the left and pick "Will be installed on local hard drive":

Add Python to the Path, older versions

OS X

Note Before you install Python on OS X, you should ensure your Mac settings allow installing packages that aren't from the App Store. Go to System Preferences (it's in the Applications folder), click "Security & Privacy," and then the "General" tab. If your "Allow apps downloaded from:" is set to "Mac App Store," change it to "Mac App Store and identified developers."

You need to go to the website https://www.python.org/downloads/release/python-361/ and download the Python installer:

  • Download the Mac OS X 64-bit/32-bit installer file,
  • Double click python-3.6.1-macosx10.6.pkg to run the installer.

Linux

It is very likely that you already have Python installed out of the box. To check if you have it installed (and which version it is), open a console and type the following command:

command-line

$ python3 --version
Python 3.6.1

If you have a different 'micro version' of Python installed, e.g. 3.6.0, then you don't have to upgrade. If you don't have Python installed, or if you want a different version, you can install it as follows:

Debian or Ubuntu

Type this command into your console:

command-line

$ sudo apt-get install python3.6

Fedora

Use this command in your console:

command-line

$ sudo dnf install python3

If you're on older Fedora versions you might get an error that the command dnf is not found. In that case you need to use yum instead.

openSUSE

Use this command in your console:

command-line

$ sudo zypper install python3

Verify the installation was successful by opening a command prompt and running the python3 command:

command-line

$ python3 --version
Python 3.6.1

NOTE: If you're on Windows and you get an error message that python3 wasn't found, try using python (without the 3) and check if it still might be a version of Python 3.6.


If you have any doubts, or if something went wrong and you have no idea what to do next, please ask your coach! Sometimes things don't go smoothly and it's better to ask for help from someone with more experience.

Set up virtualenv and install Django

Part of this section is based on tutorials by Geek Girls Carrots (https://github.com/ggcarrots/django-carrots).

Part of this section is based on the django-marcador tutorial licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The django-marcador tutorial is copyrighted by Markus Zapke-Gründemann et al.

Virtual environment

Before we install Django we will get you to install an extremely useful tool to help keep your coding environment tidy on your computer. It's possible to skip this step, but it's highly recommended. Starting with the best possible setup will save you a lot of trouble in the future!

So, let's create a virtual environment (also called a virtualenv). Virtualenv will isolate your Python/Django setup on a per-project basis. This means that any changes you make to one website won't affect any others you're also developing. Neat, right?

All you need to do is find a directory in which you want to create the virtualenv; your home directory, for example. On Windows it might look like C:\Users\Name\ (where Name is the name of your login).

NOTE: On Windows, make sure that this directory does not contain accented or special characters; if your username contains accented characters, use a different directory, for example C:\djangogirls.

For this tutorial we will be using a new directory djangogirls from your home directory:

command-line

$ mkdir djangogirls
$ cd djangogirls

We will make a virtualenv called myvenv. The general command will be in the format:

command-line

$ python3 -m venv myvenv

Windows

To create a new virtualenv, you need to open the command prompt and run python -m venv myvenv. It will look like this:

command-line

C:\Users\Name\djangogirls> python -m venv myvenv

Where myvenv is the name of your virtualenv. You can use any other name, but stick to lowercase and use no spaces, accents or special characters. It is also good idea to keep the name short – you'll be referencing it a lot!

Linux and OS X

Creating a virtualenv on both Linux and OS X is as simple as running python3 -m venv myvenv. It will look like this:

command-line

$ python3 -m venv myvenv

myvenv is the name of your virtualenv. You can use any other name, but stick to lowercase and use no spaces. It is also good idea to keep the name short as you'll be referencing it a lot!

NOTE: On some versions of Debian/Ubuntu you may receive the following error:

command-line

The virtual environment was not created successfully because ensurepip is not available.  On Debian/Ubuntu systems, you need to install the python3-venv package using the following command.
   apt-get install python3-venv
You may need to use sudo with that command.  After installing the python3-venv package, recreate your virtual environment.

In this case, follow the instructions above and install the python3-venv package:

command-line

$ sudo apt-get install python3-venv

NOTE: On some versions of Debian/Ubuntu initiating the virtual environment like this currently gives the following error:

command-line

Error: Command '['/home/eddie/Slask/tmp/venv/bin/python3', '-Im', 'ensurepip', '--upgrade', '--default-pip']' returned non-zero exit status 1

To get around this, use the virtualenv command instead.

command-line

$ sudo apt-get install python-virtualenv
$ virtualenv --python=python3.6 myvenv

NOTE: If you get an error like

command-line

E: Unable to locate package python3-venv

then instead run:

command-line

sudo apt install python3.6-venv

Working with virtualenv

The command above will create a directory called myvenv (or whatever name you chose) that contains our virtual environment (basically a bunch of directory and files).

Windows

Start your virtual environment by running:

command-line

C:\Users\Name\djangogirls> myvenv\Scripts\activate

NOTE: on Windows 10 you might get an error in the Windows PowerShell that says execution of scripts is disabled on this system. In this case, open another Windows PowerShell with the "Run as Administrator" option. Then try typing the following command before starting your virtual environment:

command-line

C:\WINDOWS\system32> Set-ExecutionPolicy -ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned
    Execution Policy Change
    The execution policy helps protect you from scripts that you do not trust. Changing the execution policy might expose you to the security risks described in the about_Execution_Policies help topic at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=135170. Do you want to change the execution policy? [Y] Yes  [A] Yes to All  [N] No  [L] No to All  [S] Suspend  [?] Help (default is "N"): A

Linux and OS X

Start your virtual environment by running:

command-line

$ source myvenv/bin/activate

Remember to replace myvenv with your chosen virtualenv name!

NOTE: sometimes source might not be available. In those cases try doing this instead:

command-line

$ . myvenv/bin/activate

You will know that you have virtualenv started when you see that the prompt in your console is prefixed with (myvenv).

When working within a virtual environment, python will automatically refer to the correct version so you can use python instead of python3.

OK, we have all important dependencies in place. We can finally install Django!

Installing Django

Now that you have your virtualenv started, you can install Django.

Before we do that, we should make sure we have the latest version of pip, the software that we use to install Django:

command-line

(myvenv) ~$ pip install --upgrade pip

Then run pip install django~=1.11.0 (note that we use a tilde followed by an equal sign: ~=) to install Django.

command-line

(myvenv) ~$ pip install django~=1.11.0
Collecting django~=1.11.0
  Downloading Django-1.11.3-py2.py3-none-any.whl (6.8MB)
Installing collected packages: django
Successfully installed django-1.11.3

Windows

If you get an error when calling pip on Windows platform, please check if your project pathname contains spaces, accents or special characters (for example, C:\Users\User Name\djangogirls). If it does, please consider using another place without spaces, accents or special characters (suggestion: C:\djangogirls). Create a new virtualenv in the new directory, then delete the old one and try the above command again. (Moving the virtualenv directory won't work since virtualenv uses absolute paths.)

Windows 8 and Windows 10

Your command line might freeze after when you try to install Django. If this happens, instead of the above command use:

command-line

C:\Users\Name\djangogirls> python -m pip install django~=1.11.0

Linux

If you get an error when calling pip on Ubuntu 12.04 please run python -m pip install -U --force-reinstall pip to fix the pip installation in the virtualenv.

That's it! You're now (finally) ready to create a Django application!

Install a code editor

There are a lot of different editors and it largely boils down to personal preference. Most Python programmers use complex but extremely powerful IDEs (Integrated Development Environments), such as PyCharm. As a beginner, however, that's probably less suitable; our recommendations are equally powerful, but a lot simpler.

Our suggestions are below, but feel free to ask your coach what their preferences are – it'll be easier to get help from them.

Gedit

Gedit is an open-source, free editor, available for all operating systems.

Download it here

Sublime Text 3

Sublime Text is a very popular editor with a free evaluation period. It's easy to install and use, and it's available for all operating systems.

Download it here

Atom

Atom is an extremely new code editor created by GitHub. It's free, open-source, easy to install and easy to use. It's available for Windows, OS X and Linux.

Download it here

Why are we installing a code editor?

You might be wondering why we are installing this special code editor software, rather than using something like Word or Notepad.

The first reason is that code needs to be plain text, and the problem with programs like Word and Textedit is that they don't actually produce plain text, they produce rich text (with fonts and formatting), using custom formats like RTF (Rich Text Format).

The second reason is that code editors are specialized for editing code, so they can provide helpful features like highlighting code with color according to its meaning, or automatically closing quotes for you.

We'll see all this in action later. Soon, you'll come to think of your trusty old code editor as one of your favorite tools. :)

Install Git

Git is a "version control system" used by a lot of programmers. This software can track changes to files over time so that you can recall specific versions later. A bit like the "track changes" feature in Microsoft Word, but much more powerful.

Installing Git

Windows

You can download Git from git-scm.com. You can hit "next" on all steps except for one; in the fifth step entitled "Adjusting your PATH environment", choose "Use Git and optional Unix tools from the Windows Command Prompt" (the bottom option). Other than that, the defaults are fine. Checkout Windows-style, commit Unix-style line endings is good.

Do not forget to restart the command prompt or powershell after the installation finished successfully.

OS X

Download Git from git-scm.com and just follow the instructions.

Note If you are running OS X 10.6, 10.7, or 10.8, you will need to install the version of git from here: Git installer for OS X Snow Leopard

Debian or Ubuntu

command-line

$ sudo apt-get install git

Fedora

command-line

$ sudo dnf install git

openSUSE

command-line

$ sudo zypper install git

Create a GitHub account

Go to GitHub.com and sign up for a new, free user account.

Create a PythonAnywhere account

Next it's time to sign up for a free "Beginner" account on PythonAnywhere.

Note When choosing your username here, bear in mind that your blog's URL will take the form yourusername.pythonanywhere.com, so choose either your own nickname, or a name for what your blog is all about.

Start reading

Congratulations, you are all set up and ready to go! If you still have some time before the workshop, it would be useful to start reading a few of the beginning chapters:

Enjoy the workshop!

When you begin the workshop, you'll be able to go straight to Your first Django project! because you already covered the material in the earlier chapters.

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