Let's get our tutorial environment setup. Most of the setup work is in standard Python development practices (install Python, make an isolated environment, and setup packaging tools.)


Pyramid encourages standard Python development practices with packaging tools, virtual environments, logging, and so on. There are many variations, implementations, and opinions across the Python community. For consistency, ease of documentation maintenance, and to minimize confusion, the Pyramid documentation has adopted specific conventions.

This Quick Tutorial is based on:

  • Python 3.3. Pyramid fully supports Python 3.2+ and Python 2.6+. This tutorial uses Python 3.3 but runs fine under Python 2.7.
  • pyvenv. We believe in virtual environments. For this tutorial, we use Python 3.3's built-in solution, the pyvenv command. For Python 2.7, you can install virtualenv.
  • setuptools and easy_install. We use setuptools and its easy_install for package management.
  • Workspaces, projects, and packages. Our home directory will contain a tutorial workspace with our Python virtual environment(s) and Python projects (a directory with packaging information and Python packages of working code.)
  • Unix commands. Commands in this tutorial use UNIX syntax and paths. Windows users should adjust commands accordingly.


Pyramid was one of the first web frameworks to fully support Python 3 in October 2011.


  1. Install Python 3.3 or greater
  2. Create a project directory structure
  3. Set an Environment Variable
  4. Create a Virtual Environment
  5. Install setuptools (Python packaging tools)
  6. Install Pyramid

Install Python 3.3 or greater

Download the latest standard Python 3.3+ release (not development release) from

Windows and Mac OS X users can download and run an installer.

Windows users should also install the Python for Windows extensions. Carefully read the README.txt file at the end of the list of builds, and follow its directions. Make sure you get the proper 32- or 64-bit build and Python version.

Linux users can either use their package manager to install Python 3.3 or may build Python 3.3 from source.

Create a project directory structure

We will arrive at a directory structure of workspace->project->package, with our workspace named quick_tutorial. The following tree diagram shows how this will be structured and where our virtual environment will reside as we proceed through the tutorial:

└── ~
    └── projects
        └── quick_tutorial
            ├── env
            └── step_one
                ├── intro
                │   ├──
                │   └──

For Linux, the commands to do so are as follows:

# Mac and Linux
$ cd ~
$ mkdir -p projects/quick_tutorial
$ cd projects/quick_tutorial

For Windows:

# Windows
c:\> cd \
c:\> mkdir projects\quick_tutorial
c:\> cd projects\quick_tutorial

In the above figure, your user home directory is represented by ~. In your home directory, all of your projects are in the projects directory. This is a general convention not specific to Pyramid that many developers use. Windows users will do well to use c:\ as the location for projects in order to avoid spaces in any of the path names.

Next within projects is your workspace directory, here named quick_tutorial. A workspace is a common term used by integrated development environments (IDE) like PyCharm and PyDev that stores isolated Python environments (virtualenvs) and specific project files and repositories.

Set an Environment Variable

This tutorial will refer frequently to the location of the virtual environment. We set an environment variable to save typing later.

# Mac and Linux
$ export VENV=~/projects/quick_tutorial/env

# Windows
# TODO: This command does not work
c:\> set VENV=c:\projects\quick_tutorial\env

Create a Virtual Environment


The current state of isolated Python environments using pyvenv on Windows is suboptimal in comparison to Mac and Linux. See for a discussion of the issue and PEP 453 for a proposed resolution.

pyvenv is a tool to create isolated Python 3.3 environments, each with its own Python binary and independent set of installed Python packages in its site directories. Let's create one, using the location we just specified in the environment variable.

# Mac and Linux
$ pyvenv $VENV

# Windows
c:\> c:\Python33\python -m venv %VENV%

See also

See also Python 3's venv module, Python 2's virtualenv package, Installing Pyramid on a Windows System

Install setuptools (Python packaging tools)

The following command will download a script to install setuptools, then pipe it to your environment's version of Python.

# Mac and Linux
$ wget -O - | $VENV/bin/python

# Windows
# Use your web browser to download this file:
# ...and save it to:
# c:\projects\quick_tutorial\
# Then run the following command:

c:\> %VENV%\Scripts\python

If wget complains with a certificate error, then run this command instead:

# Mac and Linux
$ wget --no-check-certificate -O - | $VENV/bin/python

Install Pyramid

We have our Python standard prerequisites out of the way. The Pyramid part is pretty easy:

# Mac and Linux
$ $VENV/bin/easy_install "pyramid==1.5.8"

# Windows
c:\> %VENV%\Scripts\easy_install "pyramid==1.5.8"

Our Python virtual environment now has the Pyramid software available.

You can optionally install some of the extra Python packages used during this tutorial:

# Mac and Linux
$ $VENV/bin/easy_install nose webtest deform sqlalchemy \
   pyramid_chameleon pyramid_debugtoolbar waitress \
   pyramid_tm zope.sqlalchemy

# Windows
c:\> %VENV%\Scripts\easy_install nose webtest deform sqlalchemy pyramid_chameleon pyramid_debugtoolbar waitress pyramid_tm zope.sqlalchemy


Why easy_install and not pip? Pyramid encourages use of namespace packages, for which pip's support is less-than-optimal. Also, Pyramid's dependencies use some optional C extensions for performance: with easy_install, Windows users can get these extensions without needing a C compiler (pip does not support installing binary Windows distributions, except for wheels, which are not yet available for all dependencies).

See also

See also Installing Pyramid on a UNIX System. For instructions to set up your Python environment for development using Windows or Python 2, see Pyramid's Before You Install.

See also Python 3's venv module, the setuptools installation instructions, and easy_install help.