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Setting up your working environment

Many tutorials jump straight into Python as quickly as possible, but we are going to take a slightly different approach. The purpose of this tutorial is to prepare you to work on Flask development projects, and it is important to have an appropriate working environment to do that. If you are working as par of a team, then it is important that everyone has a similar setup. That way, the number of unexpected incompatibilities will be minimised, and if one person on the team needs some help, someone else can step in and the setup will be familiar to them.

Although there are different distributions of Python, and different editors and IDEs, this tutorial is based on some specific choices. We will be using the Anaconda Python distribution for several reasons:

  • It is built for data science
  • It has a wide user base and good support
  • It simplifies the management of virtual environments

The IDE we will be using is PyCharm. The professional edition provides special features to support Flask projects, and if you are a student you can apply for a free professional licence for 12 months. The major benefits of PyCharm are:

  • It provides a sophisticated development environment
  • It integrates with code repositories such as GitHub
  • It allows you to deploy code to a test or live environment very easily
  • It provides difrect access to the database
  • It allows you to control the application and perform operating-system level tasks such as migrating database changes from within the IDE