Before you begin

This tutorial assumes that you have already followed the steps in Installing Pyramid, except do not create a virtualenv or install Pyramid. Thereby you will satisfy the following requirements.

Create directory to contain the project

We need a workspace for our project files.


$ mkdir ~/pyramidtut

On Windows

c:\> mkdir pyramidtut

Create and use a virtual Python environment

Next let's create a virtualenv workspace for our project. We will use the VENV environment variable instead of the absolute path of the virtual environment.


$ export VENV=~/pyramidtut
$ virtualenv $VENV
New python executable in /home/foo/env/bin/python
Installing setuptools.............done.

On Windows

c:\> set VENV=c:\pyramidtut

Versions of Python use different paths, so you will need to adjust the path to the command for your Python version.

Python 2.7:

c:\> c:\Python27\Scripts\virtualenv %VENV%

Python 3.2:

c:\> c:\Python32\Scripts\virtualenv %VENV%

Install Pyramid into the virtual Python environment


$ $VENV/bin/easy_install pyramid

On Windows

c:\> %VENV%\Scripts\easy_install pyramid

Install SQLite3 and its development packages

If you used a package manager to install your Python or if you compiled your Python from source, then you must install SQLite3 and its development packages. If you downloaded your Python as an installer from, then you already have it installed and can proceed to the next section Making a project..

If you need to install the SQLite3 packages, then, for example, using the Debian system and apt-get, the command would be the following:

$ sudo apt-get install libsqlite3-dev

Change directory to your virtual Python environment

Change directory to the pyramidtut directory.


$ cd pyramidtut

On Windows

c:\> cd pyramidtut

Making a project

Your next step is to create a project. For this tutorial we will use the scaffold named alchemy which generates an application that uses SQLAlchemy and URL dispatch.

Pyramid supplies a variety of scaffolds to generate sample projects. We will use pcreate—a script that comes with Pyramid to quickly and easily generate scaffolds, usually with a single command—to create the scaffold for our project.

By passing alchemy into the pcreate command, the script creates the files needed to use SQLAlchemy. By passing in our application name tutorial, the script inserts that application name into all the required files. For example, pcreate creates the initialize_tutorial_db in the pyramidtut/bin directory.

The below instructions assume your current working directory is "pyramidtut".


$ $VENV/bin/pcreate -s alchemy tutorial

On Windows

c:\pyramidtut> %VENV%\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 the virtualenv Python interpreter.


$ cd tutorial
$ $VENV/bin/python develop

On Windows

c:\pyramidtut> cd tutorial
c:\pyramidtut\tutorial> %VENV%\Scripts\python develop

The console will show checking for packages and installing missing packages. Success executing this command will show a line like the following:

Finished processing dependencies for tutorial==0.0

Run the tests

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


$ $VENV/bin/python test -q

On Windows

c:\pyramidtut\tutorial> %VENV%\Scripts\python test -q

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

Ran 1 test in 0.094s


Expose 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 the nose and coverage packages into our virtualenv:


$ $VENV/bin/easy_install nose coverage

On Windows

c:\pyramidtut\tutorial> %VENV%\Scripts\easy_install nose coverage

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


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

On Windows

c:\pyramidtut\tutorial> %VENV%\Scripts\nosetests --cover-package=tutorial \
      --cover-erase --with-coverage

If successful, you will see output something like this:

Name                  Stmts   Miss  Cover   Missing
---------------------------------------------------              13      9    31%   13-21
tutorial/       12      0   100%
tutorial/       0      0   100%
tutorial/        11      0   100%
TOTAL                    36      9    75%
Ran 2 tests in 0.643s


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, making sure you are still in the tutorial directory (the directory with a development.ini in it):


$ $VENV/bin/initialize_tutorial_db development.ini

On Windows

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

The output to your console should be something like this:

2015-05-23 16:49:49,609 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine:1192][MainThread] SELECT CAST('test plain returns' AS VARCHAR(60)) AS anon_1
2015-05-23 16:49:49,609 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine:1193][MainThread] ()
2015-05-23 16:49:49,610 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine:1192][MainThread] SELECT CAST('test unicode returns' AS VARCHAR(60)) AS anon_1
2015-05-23 16:49:49,610 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine:1193][MainThread] ()
2015-05-23 16:49:49,610 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine:1097][MainThread] PRAGMA table_info("models")
2015-05-23 16:49:49,610 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine:1100][MainThread] ()
2015-05-23 16:49:49,612 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine:1097][MainThread]
        id INTEGER NOT NULL,
        name TEXT,
        value INTEGER,
        PRIMARY KEY (id)

2015-05-23 16:49:49,612 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine:1100][MainThread] ()
2015-05-23 16:49:49,613 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine:686][MainThread] COMMIT
2015-05-23 16:49:49,613 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine:1097][MainThread] CREATE UNIQUE INDEX my_index ON models (name)
2015-05-23 16:49:49,613 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine:1100][MainThread] ()
2015-05-23 16:49:49,614 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine:686][MainThread] COMMIT
2015-05-23 16:49:49,616 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine:646][MainThread] BEGIN (implicit)
2015-05-23 16:49:49,617 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine:1097][MainThread] INSERT INTO models (name, value) VALUES (?, ?)
2015-05-23 16:49:49,617 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine:1100][MainThread] ('one', 1)
2015-05-23 16:49:49,618 INFO  [sqlalchemy.engine.base.Engine:686][MainThread] COMMIT

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

Start the application

Start the application.


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

On Windows

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


Your OS firewall, if any, may pop up a dialog asking for authorization to allow python to accept incoming network connections.

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.

Visit the application in a browser

In a browser, visit http://localhost:6543/. 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
  • you want to use ZopeTransactionExtension and pyramid_tm to scope sessions to requests


Pyramid supports any persistent storage mechanism (e.g., object database or filesystem files). 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.