pip

pip is the package installer used in Python to install code packages. A similar tool is Node Package Manager (npm) in JavaScript. Much like npm, pip is the same community-driven package space, but for Python.

Packages

The concept of packages is not unique to pip. A package is a collection of code that is designed for a specific purpose. These packages are also meant to be re-used and distributed by other developers.

One example is Flask. Much like how Express can facilitate the creation of server routes for backend development in JavaScript, Flask can offer the same reproducible and concise solution for developers who use Python.

Python Package Index Repository (PyPI)

The Python Package Index Repository (PyPI), hosts a large collection of packages. The official package installer of PyPI is pip, which is used in the command line. A good practice to understand how to use a package is reading its documentation on PyPI.

Documentation on PyPI typically comes with the following:

  • A list of requirements to run the package.
  • Instructions for installing the package.
  • One or more examples of how the package is implemented.

pip Installation

pip commonly comes with the installation of Python. Therefore, the first step in installing pip is verifying that it is already installed. This step can vary between versions of Python as well as what machine it is running on. The examples below are for version 3.6.3 and above. A good resource for more specific instructions would be the official Python tutorial on installing packages.

# Windows
py --version
# Linux/macOS
python3 --version

It should be noted that as per the pip documentation, pip maintainers are no longer supporting Python 2 and below.

To upgrade Python, python.org will have the latest version for install. In addition, Python 3.4 and above will have pip installed by default.

The following command is run to check the latest version pip:

# Windows
py -m pip --version
# Linux/macOS
python -m pip --version

If pip is already installed, its version will appear in the terminal.

If pip is out of date, the following command will upgrade it:

# Windows
py -m pip install --upgrade
# Linux/macOS
python -m pip install --upgrade

Finally, it is now possible to start installing packages from PyPI. In the following example, a fake package called ACoolPackage will be used. This isn’t a real package on PyPI, rather it is just a placeholder for a real package. It is recommended to visit the PyPI page of the package being installed for more specific instructions.

py -m pip install ACoolPackage
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