This tutorial assumes that Python and virtualenv are already installed and working in your system. If you need help setting this up, you should refer to the chapters on Installing Pyramid.


Please take the following steps to prepare for the tutorial. The steps are slightly different depending on whether you’re using UNIX or Windows.

Preparation, UNIX

  1. Install SQLite3 and its development packages if you don’t already have them installed. Usually this is via your system’s package manager. For example, on a Debian Linux system, do sudo apt-get install libsqlite3-dev.

  2. Use your Python’s virtualenv to make a workspace:

    $ path/to/my/Python-2.6/bin/virtualenv --no-site-packages pyramidtut
  3. Switch to the pyramidtut directory:

    $ cd pyramidtut
  4. Use easy_install to get Pyramid and its direct dependencies installed:

    $ bin/easy_install pyramid

Preparation, Windows

  1. Use your Python’s virtualenv to make a workspace:

    c:\> c:\Python26\Scripts\virtualenv --no-site-packages pyramidtut
  2. Switch to the pyramidtut directory:

    c:\> cd pyramidtut
  3. Use easy_install to get Pyramid and its direct dependencies installed:

    c:\pyramidtut> Scripts\easy_install pyramid

Making a Project

Your next step is to create a project. Pyramid supplies a variety of scaffolds to generate sample projects. We will use the alchemy scaffold, which generates an application that uses SQLAlchemy and URL dispatch.

The below instructions assume your current working directory is the “virtualenv” named “pyramidtut”.


$ bin/pcreate -s alchemy tutorial

On Windows:

c:\pyramidtut> Scripts\pcreate -s alchemy tutorial


If you are using Windows, the alchemy scaffold may not deal gracefully with installation into a location that contains spaces in the path. If you experience startup problems, try putting both the virtualenv and the project into directories that do not contain spaces in their paths.

Installing the Project in “Development Mode”

In order to do development on the project easily, you must “register” the project as a development egg in your workspace using the develop command. In order to do so, cd to the “tutorial” directory you created in Making a Project, and run the “ develop” command using virtualenv Python interpreter.


$ cd tutorial
$ ../bin/python develop

On Windows:

c:\pyramidtut> cd tutorial
c:\pyramidtut\tutorial> ..\Scripts\python develop

Success executing this command will end with a line to the console something like:

Finished processing dependencies for tutorial==0.0

Running the Tests

After you’ve installed the project in development mode, you may run the tests for the project.


$ ../bin/python test -q

On Windows:

c:\pyramidtut\tutorial> ..\Scripts\python test -q

For a successful test run, you should see output that ends like this:

Ran 1 test in 0.094s


Exposing Test Coverage Information

You can run the nosetests command to see test coverage information. This runs the tests in the same way that test does but provides additional “coverage” information, exposing which lines of your project are “covered” (or not covered) by the tests.

To get this functionality working, we’ll need to install a couple of other packages into our virtualenv: nose and coverage:


$ ../bin/easy_install nose coverage

On Windows:

c:\pyramidtut\tutorial> ..\Scripts\easy_install nose coverage

Once nose and coverage are installed, we can actually run the coverage tests.


$ ../bin/nosetests --cover-package=tutorial --cover-erase --with-coverage

On Windows:

c:\pyramidtut\tutorial> ..\Scripts\nosetests --cover-package=tutorial ^
      --cover-erase --with-coverage

If successful, you will see output something like this:

Name               Stmts   Miss  Cover   Missing
tutorial              11      7    36%   9-15
tutorial.models       17      0   100%
tutorial.scripts       0      0   100%
tutorial.tests        24      0   100%
tutorial.views         6      0   100%
TOTAL                 58      7    88%
Ran 1 test in 0.459s


Looks like our package doesn’t quite have 100% test coverage.

Initializing the Database

We need to use the initialize_tutorial_db console script to initialize our database.

Type the following command, make sure you are still in the tutorial directory (the directory with a development.ini in it):


$ ../bin/initialize_tutorial_db development.ini

On Windows:

c:\pyramidtut\tutorial> ..\Scripts\initialize_tutorial_db development.ini

The output to your console should be something like this:

2011-11-26 14:42:25,012 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine][MainThread]
                              PRAGMA table_info("models")
2011-11-26 14:42:25,013 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine][MainThread] ()
2011-11-26 14:42:25,013 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine][MainThread]
      name VARCHAR(255),
      value INTEGER,
      PRIMARY KEY (id),
      UNIQUE (name)
2011-11-26 14:42:25,013 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine][MainThread] ()
2011-11-26 14:42:25,135 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine][MainThread]
2011-11-26 14:42:25,137 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine][MainThread]
                              BEGIN (implicit)
2011-11-26 14:42:25,138 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine][MainThread]
                              INSERT INTO models (name, value) VALUES (?, ?)
2011-11-26 14:42:25,139 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine][MainThread]
                              (u'one', 1)
2011-11-26 14:42:25,140 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine][MainThread]

Success! You should now have a tutorial.db file in your current working directory. This will be a SQLite database with a single table defined in it (models).

Starting the Application

Start the application.


$ ../bin/pserve development.ini --reload

On Windows:

c:\pyramidtut\tutorial> ..\Scripts\pserve development.ini --reload

If successful, you will see something like this on your console:

Starting subprocess with file monitor
Starting server in PID 8966.
Starting HTTP server on

This means the server is ready to accept requests.

At this point, when you visit http://localhost:6543/ in your web browser, you will see the generated application’s default page.

One thing you’ll notice is the “debug toolbar” icon on right hand side of the page. You can read more about the purpose of the icon at The Debug Toolbar. It allows you to get information about your application while you develop.

Decisions the alchemy Scaffold Has Made For You

Creating a project using the alchemy scaffold makes the following assumptions:

  • you are willing to use SQLAlchemy as a database access tool
  • you are willing to use url dispatch to map URLs to code.


Pyramid supports any persistent storage mechanism (e.g. object database or filesystem files, etc). It also supports an additional mechanism to map URLs to code (traversal). However, for the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll only be using url dispatch and SQLAlchemy.