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Python and Django and Pipenv and ASDF – Creating a new project in Oct 2023

Django and Python keep releasing new versions, so I wanted to take some notes as I start a new project in October of 2023.

Tools I’ll be using:

asdf – I use this to manage python versions (an easy way to have multiple version of python installed and be able to have different directories/projects use different versions)

pipenv – is “a Python virtualenv management tool that supports a multitude of systems and nicely bridges the gaps between pip, python (using system python, pyenv or asdf) and virtualenv”

python – your favorite program language

django – your favorite high level python web framework.

Let’s get started – python first

python --version
Python 3.9.14

While that’s a huge step ahead of Python2, for this new project I want the latest and most stable.

asdf latest python

I have no reason to have on the .0 version, but let’s see what asdf has for version 3.11

asdf latest python 3.11

OK – that sounds good. Let’s use that.

asdf update
asdf install python 3.11.6
asdf reshim python 3.11.6
asdf local python 3.11.6   # This 

Now that we have 3.11.6, let’s create the directory that we want to use for the project.

python --version  # let's see what the "global version is"
Python 3.9.14     # still set to the older version

mkdir my-new-project
cd my-new-project
asdf local python 3.11.6

python --version  # what about now?
Python 3.11.6     # OK, that's good enough for me

Time to get pipenv going

So, I had a bit of a hard time getting pipenv to work with the newest asdf version of python. Here’s what helped:

# make sure you are in the correct project directory
# and that the directory is empty

python -m pip install --upgrade pip
pip install pipenv

pipenv --python 3.11
Here's a screenshot for what happened.

I want to show you what happens if you have an existing Pipfile in the directory, and if that Pipfile contains a python [requires] section that looks like this:

python_version = "3.9"
 pipenv --python 3.11
Creating a virtualenv for this project...
Pipfile: /mnt/c/home/dashrc/clients/brazen/events-mvp/Pipfile
Using /home/mark/.asdf/installs/python/3.11.6/bin/python3 (3.11.6) to create virtualenv...
⠙ Creating virtual environment...created virtual environment in 105ms
  creator CPython3Posix(dest=/home/mark/.local/share/virtualenvs/events-mvp-my-dZw-e, clear=False, no_vcs_ignore=False, global=False)
  seeder FromAppData(download=False, pip=bundle, setuptools=bundle, wheel=bundle, via=copy, app_data_dir=/home/mark/.local/share/virtualenv)
    added seed packages: pip==23.2.1, setuptools==68.2.2, wheel==0.41.2
  activators BashActivator,CShellActivator,FishActivator,NushellActivator,PowerShellActivator,PythonActivator

✔ Successfully created virtual environment!
Virtualenv location: /home/mark/.local/share/virtualenvs/events-mvp-my-dZw-e
Warning: Your Pipfile requires python_version 3.9, but you are using 3.11.6 (/home/mark/.local/share/v/e/bin/python).
  $ pipenv --rm and rebuilding the virtual environment may resolve the issue.
  $ pipenv check will surely fail.

Now for some django

pipenv install "django>=4"
pipenv install "django>=4"
Installing django>=4...
Resolving django>=4...
Added django to Pipfile's [packages] ...
✔ Installation Succeeded
Pipfile.lock not found, creating...
Locking [packages] dependencies...
Building requirements...
Resolving dependencies...
✔ Success!
Locking [dev-packages] dependencies...
Updated Pipfile.lock (97f99baf1b56a396a4dd34bb22964db55993d76c480132cfaabfef55aa8444c1)!
Installing dependencies from Pipfile.lock (8444c1)...
To activate this project's virtualenv, run pipenv shell.
Alternatively, run a command inside the virtualenv with pipenv run.

Once django is installed, you will need to fire it up:

pipenv shell
django-admin startproject config .

Note in the above I used the word “config” — I intentionally choose to do that so that all of my config files end up in that config directory. And actually I’ll do a little bit more than that by converting the file into a settings/ folder with:

mkdir config/settings
cp config/ config/settings
mv config/ config/settings/

# Create a new config file by running this cat command
# cut and paste from first "cut" to final "EOF" in a shell

cat <<EOF > config/settings/
# Django settings

# These are the settings for a local environment
from .base import *

What about the database?

In my live environments I always use PostreSQL, so I mimic that behavior on my local machines by running on PostgreSQL locally on my Ubuntu server (via WSL2)

Don’t forget to add in the psycopg2 pip library

pipenv install psycopg2

After that, you’ll need to login as the postgres user on your machine, and create the database and assign a password.

sudo su - postgres

# do this inside of the postgres account

createuser $postgres_db_and_user
createdb -O $postgres_db_and_user  $postgres_db_and_user

## these next commands are INSIDE the postgresql shell

alter user xxxxDBUSERNAMExxxx with encrypted password 'whatever_password_should_be';


what does that look like?

psql (14.9 (Ubuntu 14.9-0ubuntu0.22.04.1))
Type "help" for help.

postgres=# alter user my_awesome_project with encrypted password 'whatever_password_should_be';
postgres=# quit

And what do the variables look like?


Let’s use local environment variables

We want to NOT put important variables directly in the code, so the modern day solution is to use environment variables. I’m influenced by:

pipenv install environs[django]

Now create a .env file at the same level as your file that looks like this:

cat <<EOF > .env
SECRET_KEY="not so secret on local"


Let’s login locally

Let’s create a user we can login with:

python migrate
python createsuperuser
python runserver

NOTE: This might fail if you don’t have environment variables configured yet. If using VSCode,

Issue w/ pipenv python versions after upgrading asdf’s python

I recently upgraded from python 3.9.12 to 3.9.14 using asdf, and it was pretty simple:

sudo apt-get install liblzma-dev
asdf install python 3.9.14
asdf global python 3.9.14

But when I tried to run my pipenv, it didn’t work as planned

pipenv shell
No preset version installed for command pipenv
Please install a version by running one of the following:

asdf install python 3.9.14

or add one of the following versions in your config file at /home/mark/.tool-versions
python 3.9.12

After a lot of failed attemps to use asdf reshim and asdf update, I finally remembered the magic steps to use:

python -m pip install --upgrade pip
pip install pipenv

asdf update
asdf reshim python 3.9.14   # or whatever newest version is

pipenv install
pipenv shell
pipenv update   # To actually install what was in Pipfile

The last trick that I needed to do was make sure that my .env gets read so that any Python environment variables I set are correctly read in.

vi ~/.local/share/virtualenvs/hostname-RANDOM/bin/activate

And add these 2 lines starting at line 4 of the activate script:

# Use this sequence to load up the environnment variables from your .env file in a Bash console:
set -a; source /home/mark/home/aei/aeicloud.22/.env; set +a

Ubuntu 22 LTS on WSL / asdf / python / django

I’ll be using asdf to help control what version of Python I’m running.

I like pipenv to help manage my Python virtual environments.

I like to use PostgreSQL with Django, so lets’ first make sure that it’s installed:

sudo apt install postgresql 
sudo apt install libpq-dev

# make sure it's running
# You should see it listening to lots of ports
ss -nlt


git clone ~/.asdf --branch v0.10.0

# modify .bashrc files, exit terminal and restart terminal
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

# install packages necessary to build stuff
sudo apt install wget build-essential libreadline-dev libncursesw5-dev libssl-dev libsqlite3-dev tk-dev libgdbm-dev libc6-dev libbz2-dev libffi-dev zlib1g-dev liblzma-dev

asdf plugin-add python

asdf install python 3.9.12
asdf global python 3.9.12

If the correct version of Python isn’t detected, you might need to reshim.

python -m pip install --upgrade pip
pip install pipenv

asdf update
asdf reshim python 3.9.12

pipenv install

[pipenv.exceptions.ResolutionFailure]: Warning: Your dependencies could not be resolved. You likely have a mismatch in your sub-dependencies.
You can use $ pipenv install –skip-lock to bypass this mechanism, then run $ pipenv graph to inspect the situation.
Hint: try $ pipenv lock –pre if it is a pre-release dependency.
ERROR: metadata generation failed

Turned out the above error, was because I didn’t have postgres installed on the new box (and my django uses postgres)

 Error: pg_config executable not found.

I got much futher along

# how to know things are almost all the way there
./ shell
python dbshell

# If you didn't setup your postgres, you'll get an error like:
# python dbshell
# psql: error: connection to server at "", port 5432 failed: Connection refused
#         Is the server running on that host and accepting TCP/IP connections?

You’ll need to start the server:

sudo service postgresql start

Then try

python dbshell
psql: error: connection to server at "", port 5432 failed: FATAL:  password authentication failed for user "abcuser"
connection to server at "", port 5432 failed: FATAL:  password authentication failed for user "abcuser"

The user and database don’t appear to exist — so let’s create them:

sudo su - postgres
# skipping the lines as you login as user postgres

# now you are in the postgres shell


\q     # that exists the postgres shell

exit   # that logs out the postgres user

You should now be able to init the DB

python migrate
python createsuperuser

# then run any bootstrapping that you need to
# python loaddata  xyz.json
# needed for pango and weasyprint (creating PDFs)
sudo apt-get install libpangocairo-1.0-0

Now, to get django working in VSCode

  1. install the Python extension for Visual Studio Code
  2. Press F1, then choose Python: Select Interpreter and make sure you are pointing to your correct venv
  3. Press the Run and Debug Icon

WSL2 – Adding distro not in store

What if you wanted to add an older linux distro to your WSL2 bullpen? Visiting will show you a large number of options where you can download the appropriate .appx file.

This will cause the <distro>.appx packages to download to a folder of your choosing. Follow the installation instructions to install your downloaded distro(s).

If you’re using Windows 10 you can install your distro with PowerShell. Simply navigate to folder containing the distro downloaded from above, and in that directory run the following command where app_name is the name of your distro .appx file.PowershellCopy

Add-AppxPackage .\app_name.appx

If that doesn’t work as expected, you could try any of these links that will get the distro from the Microsoft Store

he following links will open the Microsoft store page for each distribution:

Generating requirements.txt from Pipfile.lock

I have been using pipenv to help me manage my python virtual environments.

I also use Heroku for some of my sites…and Heroku relies on the requirements.txt file rather than Pipfile/Pipfile.lock that pipenv uses.

Here is an easy way to generate a requirements.txt file from a Pipfile.lock

jq -r '.default
| to_entries[]
| .key + .value.version' \
Pipfile.lock > requirements.txt

NOTE: You will need the program ‘jq‘ (like sed for JSON data) installed, which can be done via:

sudo apt install jq

I believe that I learned about this method inside the issues tracker for pipenv on GitHub.

Adding django via pipenv

Pip environments with python and django have evolved over the years, but once constant has remained: virtual environments to run the code and packages in. The latest consensus is to use pipenv to keep things separated. Let’s see how.

First, I’ll assume that you already have python 3.7 installed. If you need help, check out this other post I wrote:


sudo apt install python-pip
sudo pip install pipenv

pipenv --python 3.7 install django

In order to use pipenv, you will need to cd to the directory where you want to put your code, and then:

cd  somename
pipenv --python 3.7 install django django-cors-headers \
         djangorestframework pytz
# a bunch of things will happen, including that a virtualenv
# will get get created like:
# ~/.local/share/virtualenvs/somename-oYSXMPkF

# to actually fire up the environment
pipenv shell

Next, you’ll need to setup a minimum of files to get django going. :

django-admin startproject test2

cd test2

python migrate     #will setup the needed database stuff
python createsuperuser    # lets you make a u/p for login

./  runserver

You can now jump over to a browser, and visit and sign in to your app. It’s pretty boring right now, but you can fix that.

Adding python 3.7 to ubuntu 18.x

If you quickly want to get the latest version of Python installed on Ubuntu and get future updates automatically, then you can install it from the below third-party PPA repository…

To do that, run the commands below to add the PPA.

First install Ubuntu software properties package if it’s not already installed on your system..

sudo apt update
sudo apt install software-properties-common

After that run the commands to add the PPA..

 sudo add-apt-repository ppa:deadsnakes/ppa 

Finally, run the commands below to install Python 3.7

sudo apt update
sudo apt install python3.7

That’s it!

Brother HL3140CW Printer – Reset ‘out of toner’ message

How to reset the fake “out of toner message” and instantly make the printer work again:

1. Open the top lid of the printer and leave it open.
2. Press and hold the “Secure” and “X Cancel” buttons at the same time.
3. Use the arrow keys to select the cartridge model you would like to reset and press “OK”.
4. Press the UP arrow to reset the cartridge.

Once reset is selected you will see “ACCEPTED” on the screen.

Reset them all by scrolling through the various colors on the menu.

5. Close the top lid. It will make a bunch of noise for a minute or so, then it will print like new again.

Now the printer thinks you installed brand new toner cartridges, and you will get double or more the amount of printed pages from the same old “out” toner. When you notice the quality of the printouts degrading, THEN its time to replace the toner. Not before. While you are waiting for your new toner to arrive, take the old one out and shake it- prints will look new again for a short period of time. Buy toner when you are out, not when the machine tries to tell you what to do.

Moving over VirtualBox/Vagrant the hard way

There is a right way to move/copy over a VirtualBox to a new computer/colleague/etc.

And then there is the hard way.  What is the hard way?  The hard way is when you need to manually copy over .vbx and .box files and edit .xml files. 

Step 1 – Copy files over from the old drive.

Copy over the directory that contains the .vagrant folder. The way I have my environment it’s “c:\home\blah”.  I do by having 2 windows explorer windows open, and dragging and right-clicking on the destination folder, then clicking “Copy here” or “TerraCopy here.”

Take note of the value of c:\home\blah\.vagrant\machines\default\virtualboxes\id


Next, copy over the c:\Users\YOURNAME\VirtualBox VMs\xxx folder that corresponds/correlates to your Vagrant box.

Then, double click on the .vbox file in the directory you just copied over. This should automatically import it into VirtualBox.

Finally, open up c:\Users\YOURNAME\.VirtualBox\VirtualBox.xml and check that the uuid matches.

      <MachineEntry uuid="{aaaaaaa-bbbb-cccc-dddd-eeeeeeeeee}" src="C:/Users/YOURNAME/VirtualBox VMs/xxx/xxx.vbox"/>

Fire up your cmd prompt, switch to the c:\home\xxx\ directory and

vagrant up