[Python-ideas] install pip packages from Python prompt

Stephan Houben stephanh42 at gmail.com
Sun Oct 29 15:19:04 EDT 2017

Hi all,

Here is in somewhat more detail my earlier proposal for
having in the interactive Python interpreter a `pip` function to
install packages from Pypi.

Motivation: it appears to me that there is a category of newbies
for which "open a shell and do `pip whatever`" is a bit too much.

It would, in my opinion, simplify things a bit if they could just
copy-and-paste some text into the Python interpreter and have
some packages from pip installed.
That would simplify instructions on how to install package xyz,
without going into the vagaries of how to open a shell on various
platforms, and how to get to the right pip executable.

I think this could be as simple as:

  def pip(args):
      import sys
      import subprocess
      subprocess.check_call([sys.executable, "-m", "pip"] + args.split())
      print("Please re-start Python now to use installed or upgraded

Note that I added the final message about restarting the interpreter
as a low-tech solution to the problem of packages being already
imported in the current Python session.

I would imagine that the author of package xyz would then put on
their webpage something like:

  To use, enter in your Python interpreter:
     pip("install xyz --user")

As another example, consider prof. Baldwin from Woolamaloo university
who teaches a course "Introductory Python programming for Sheep Shavers".

In his course material, he instructs his students to execute the
following line in their Python interpreter.

   pip("install woolamaloo-sheepshavers-goodies --user")

which will install a package which will in turn, as dependencies,
pull in a number of packages which are relevant for sheep shaving but
which have nevertheless irresponsibly been left outside the stdlib.

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