Setup a virtualenv for Python 3 on Windows

It’s essentially the same as Unix!

Especially, if you’ve followed my other guide to getting setup virtualenvs and virtualenvwrapper-win on Windows. And you’ve also installed python3!

Here’s the Script I run:

mkvirtualenv --python=C:\Python35-32\python.exe pythonthreeEnv

‘pythonthreeEnv’ is the name of my environment.

Now I can run:

workon pythonthreeEnv

Here’s a screenshot of a workflow:

Bonus: To efficiently delete an env:

rmvirtualenv pythonthreeEnv -r

Happy Hacking!

THESE THINGS ARE AMAING. Thank you Alejandro and Argentina!
THESE THINGS ARE AMAZING. Thank you Alejandro and Argentina!

Introduction to Python on Windows with Visual Studio

Well you got just your new Windows PC.
Hopefully a crispy Surface Pro 4 (Starting at $899)

And you want to learn how to program, and Python is the language you’re going with.
Or you already know how to program and this is the first windows PC you’ve used in a while and like Python.
I don’t know you…

Well that’s fine too.

All the code and resources associated with this post can be found on GitHub

If at any point you get lost or confused, feel free to raise your hand/add a comment or PM me on twitter @timmyreilly

In this course we’ll cover:
1. Installing Python
2. Using the REPL
3. Running our first program
4. Examining the Python Folders
5. Using Pip
6. Creating, installing to, and using virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper-win
7. Examining the Envs folders!
8. setprojectdir and Workflow
9. Visual Studio
10. Virtual Envs in VS
11. Exploring Visual Studio Directories
12. Using the REPL in VS
13. Shortcuts for VS
14. Continued Learning

1. Installing Python


2. Using the REPL

The REPL stands for Read Evaluate Print Loop

Makes iterating and testing easy!

Type python into your command prompt

C:\..\> python
Python 2.7...

try these commands:

>>> x = 2 + 2
>>> print x
>>> import this
>>> type(x)
>>> dir(x)

More Practice

3. Running our first program

Use your favorite text editor. I’m using Visual Studio Code

I’ve named my example:

sentence = "Four score and seven years ago"
sentence_no_vowels = ""
for letter in sentence: 
    if letter not in "AEIOUaeiou":
        sentence_no_vowels = sentence_no_vowels + letter
print sentence_no_vowels

4. Examining the Python Folders

So because we’re on windows let’s take a look and explore our current folder structure just to get familiar with how Python works.


We’ll also show some helpful ways of interacting with python in our terminal

Calling Python Explicitly
> C:\Python27\python.exe
Calling Pip directly
> C:\Python27\Scripts\pip.exe list
Using Easy Install
> C:\Python27\Scripts\easy_install.exe
What Else is in there?
> dir C:\Python27\

5. Using Pip

Install a package

Python Packages are installed with pip

We’ll install requests

> pip -v
> pip install requests

Uninstall a package

pip uninstall requests

6. Creating, installing to, and using virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper-win

To another Blog Post for these steps.

7. Examining the Envs folders!

Now that we’ve used our first virtual environment where is it?
Let’s go find it! The files are in the computer!

> C:\Users\tireilly\Envs\helloworld\Scripts\pip.exe list
> C:\Users\tireilly\Envs\helloworld\Scripts\easy_install.exe

8. setprojectdir and workflow

That was fun. Let’s do it a lot.

cd into root of project

> workon newProject
> cd newProjectDirectory
> setprojectdir .
> deactivate
> workon helloworld

Now that was all fun and agnostic.
Let’s dive into Visual Studio.

9. Visual Studio

Community Edition is Free and Awesome!
– And there’s support for extensions like PTVS:
– It’s a beast!
– Great for debugging, large projects and working with many different technologies.
The python offering is found in the form of Python Tools for Visual Studio.

The three things I want to introduce are Virtual Envs, the REPL, and Shortcuts

10. Virtual Envs in VS

– Visual Studio will Manage Virtual Environments for you!

11. Exploring Visual Studio Directories

> C:\visualstudio\projects\OneHourPython\OneHourPython\env\Scripts\pip.exe
> C:\visualstudio\projects\OneHourPython\OneHourPython\env\Scripts\python.exe


Check them out in the directory too!

12. Using the REPL in VS

13. Shortcuts for VS

Make it buttery

– Ctrl+F5 = Run Without Debugging
– Ctrl+E, Ctrl+E = Selected text to interactive
– Alt+Shift+F5 = Send file to interactive

That’s it for now, but don’t stop here the funs about to start!

Continued Learning & Other Resources:
Try Azure
Take your ideas of the Ground: BizSpark

Now that we’ve taken our first couple steps with Python, where should we go next?

See all the code associated with this project and more resources on my GitHub!

Please contact me if you have any questions: @timmyreilly

This is what happens when you get coffee on your birthday...
This is what happens when you get coffee on your birthday…

Python, Pip, virtualenv installation on Windows

No more struggles Windows Python development! I’ve found this is the best way to configure your dev environment.
This has made things much easier to get started and less of a headache overall.

We use Virtual Environment so we can test python code in encapsulated environments and to also avoid filling our base Python installation with a bunch of libraries we might use for only one project.

But Virtual Environments can be tricky if you don’t establish a good workflow. I’ll show you how to setup your python environment from Scratch and then do a very simple workflow using Flask.

4 Steps:
Install Python
Install Pip
Install VirtualEnv
Install VirtualEnvWrapper-win

Install Python:

First Go to the Python Downloads Site.

As of March 2015 the download you want for a standard windows machine is Windows x86-64 MSI installer (The other download is for servers). Its circled here:


Run the installer!
You’ll come across this page in the installer:


You’ll want to scroll down and add it to the path. If you don’t that’s okay. You can add it later.
Adding Python to the PATH will allow you to call if from the command line.

After the installation is complete double check to make sure you see python in your PATH. You can find your path by opening your control panel -> System and Security -> System -> Advanced System Settings -> Environment Variables -> Selecting Path -> Edit ->

Now you’re looking at your Path. Be Careful, if you delete or add to the path accidently you may break other programs.

You need to confirm that C:\Python27; and C:\Python27\Scripts; is part of your path.

If you do not see it in your path you can simply add it at the beginning or end of the variable value box. As you can see in the image below.


Install Pip:

As of Python Version 2.7.9 Pip is installed automatically and will be available in your Scripts folder.

If you install a later version of Python I would recommend installing it according to this helpful stackoverflow post.

Pip is a Package manager for python which we will use to load in modules/libraries into our environments.

An example of one of these libraries is VirtualEnv which will help us keep our environments clean from other Libraries. This sounds really confusing but as you start using it you’ll begin to understand how valuable this encapsulation of modules/libraries can be.

To test that Pip is installed open a command prompt (win+r->’cmd’->Enter) and try ‘pip help’

You should see a list of available commands including install, which we’ll use for the next part:

Install virtualenv:

Now that you have pip installed and a command prompt open installing virtualenv to our root Python installation is as easy as typing ‘pip install virtualenv’
Like so:


Now we have virtualenv installed which will make it possible to create individual environments to test our code in. But managing all these environments can become cumbersome. So we’ll pip install another helpful package…

Install virtualenvwrapper-win:

This is the kit and caboodle of this guide.

Just as before we’ll use pip to install virtualenvwrapper-win. ‘pip install virtualenvwrapper-win’
Like so:


Excellent! Now we have everything we need to start building software using python! Now I’ll show you how buttery smooth it is to use these awesome tools!

7 Steps:
Make a Virtual Environment
Connect our project with our Environment
Set Project Directory
Pip Install

Make a Virtual Environemt:

Lets call it HelloWold. All we do in a command prompt is enter ‘mkvirtualenv HelloWold’
This will create a folder with python.exe, pip, and setuptools all ready to go in its own little environment. It will also activate the Virtual Environment which is indicated with the (HelloWold) on the left side of the prompt.


Anything we install now will be specific to this project. And available to the projects we connect to this environment.

Connect our project with our Environment:

Now we want our code to use this environment to install packages and run/test code.

First lets create a directory with the same name as our virtual environment in our preferred development folder. In this case mine is ‘dev’

See here:


HelloWold will be the root folder of our first project!

Set Project Directory:

Now to bind our virtualenv with our current working directory we simply enter ‘setprojectdir .’
Like so:


Now next time we activate this environment we will automatically move into this directory!
Buttery smooth.


Let say you’re content with the work you’ve contributed to this project and you want to move onto something else in the command line. Simply type ‘deactivate’ to deactivate your environment.
Like so:


Notice how the parenthesis disappear.
You don’t have to deactivate your environment. Closing your command prompt will deactivate it for you. As long as the parenthesis are not there you will not be affecting your environment. But you will be able to impact your root python installation.


Now you’ve got some work to do. Open up the command prompt and type ‘workon HelloWold’ to activate the environment and move into your root project folder.

Like so:


Pretty sweet! Lets get working.

Pip Install:

To use flask we need to install the packages and to do that we can use pip to install it into our HelloWold virtual environment.

Make sure (HelloWold) is to the left of your prompt and enter ‘pip install flask’
Like so:


This will bring in all the tools required to write your first web server!


Now that you have flask installed in your virtual environment you can start coding!

Open up your favorite text editor and create a new file called and save it in your HelloWold directory.

I’ve simply taken the sample code from Flask’s website to create a very basic ‘Hello World!’ server.

I’ve named the file

Once the code is in place I can start the server using ‘python’ this will run the python instance from your virtual environment that has flask.

See here:


You can now navigate with your browser to and see your new site!

Sweet. You have everything you need to start working through tutorials on Flask without worrying about gunking up your Python installations.

Let me know if you have any questions! Happy Developing!

Art Deco From Afar
Art Deco From Afar

Using Bing Maps with Flask

I’m working on a project that involves mapping and line segments.

It turns out that using the Mapping libraries of Bing and Google make this really easy.
You create ‘polylines’ out of coordinates and colors.

Check out Microsoft Maps documentation for more info and the dev page to sign up for a key.

In this example I’m using AJAX requests.

And this documentation is great for using Azure Tables
And the home directory for Python Azure Table Usage

I was struggling with pulling the data from a Database using flask and serving it to the client for an Ajax request.
The end goal is a heat map of sorts with paths being mapped and colors being changed for certain conditions.

I’m still working out the best practices for this, but its working! So take it with a grain of salt.

The code for this project can be found here:

After a couple days of tinkering, the main pieces of code that lit this up are as follows.

Get the data from the Azure Table Storage and convert it to a list

# First connect to Azure Table Service 
def connect_to_service():
    table_service = TableService(account_name=STORAGE_ACCOUNT_NAME, account_key=TABLE_STORAGE_KEY)
    print TableService
    return table_service 

# Grab the data from our table
def get_table_list(table_service=connect_to_service(), max=10, table_name='test', partitionKey='default'):
    x = table_service.query_entities(table_name)
    return x 

# return it as a list  * see below for bonus on selecting color codes 
def get_json_list(entity_list=get_table_list()):
    Takes azure table list and returns json list 
    i = 0 
    response = [] 
    for r in entity_list:
        c = convert_color_key_to_rgb(int(entity_list[i].colorKey))
        t = (entity_list[i].latA, entity_list[i].longA, entity_list[i].latB, entity_list[i].longB, entity_list[i].colorKey, c[0], c[1], c[2])
        i += 1 
    # print response 
    return response 

* BONUS to manage color codes nicely I found this neat way of doing switch statements using dictionaries.

def convert_color_key_to_rgb(colorKey):
    return {
        0: [100, 100, 100], 
        1: [240, 0, 255],
        2: [0, 0, 255],
        3: [0, 255, 0],
        4: [255, 255, 0],
        5: [255, 85, 0],
        6: [255, 0, 0],
    }.get(colorKey, [100, 100, 100] )

Take that list and pass it as JSON to a template.
Still not sure if this is best practice, as on the client/javascript side it picks it up as an array object.
But this is the route we use in flask to send our data.

def binged():   
    data = get_json_list()
    jdata = json.dumps(data)
    return render_template(

On the template side iterate through the given array object and build and push polylines.
This was the toughest part for me to

 var map = null;
         function GetMap()
            var y = JSON.parse('{{ data|safe }}');
            // Initialize the map
            map = new Microsoft.Maps.Map(document.getElementById("mapDiv"),{
                credentials:"{{ key }}",
                center: new Microsoft.Maps.Location(y[0][0],y[0][1]), 
                zoom: 10
           for( index = 0; index < y.length; index++ ){
               lOne = new Microsoft.Maps.Location(y[index][0], y[index][1]);
               lTwo = new Microsoft.Maps.Location(y[index][2], y[index][3]);
               var lineV = new Array(lOne, lTwo);
               var pLine = new Microsoft.Maps.Polyline(lineV, {
                   strokeColor: new Microsoft.Maps.Color(y[index][5], y[index][6], y[index][7], 100),
                   strokeThickness: 3

Now when I run this project locally I get something that looks like this:

Soon they won't be random.
Soon they won’t be random.

If you want to give it a shot, check out the instructions/source code on github

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or would like to work together on a project like this.


Azure ML Scripting with Python

Evangelist at Microsoft

Free Machine Learning Platform

Full ML Documentation:

Python ML Documentation:

Gallery of Projects:

Gallery of Projects tagged Python:

Breast Cancer Correlation Matrix:

def azureml_main(dataframe1 = None):
    import numpy as np
    import pandas as pd
    import matplotlib
    import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
    plt.xticks(list(range(0,len(cm.columns))),list(cm.columns.values), rotation=45)


    return pd.DataFrame(cm), 

Feature Importance with sklearn

import numpy as np
import matplotlib
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import pandas as pd

from sklearn.ensemble import ExtraTreesClassifier

def azureml_main(iris_data):
    X = iris_data[["sepal-length","sepal-width","petal-length","petal-width"]]
    Y = iris_data["Class"]
    etc = ExtraTreesClassifier(n_estimators=250, random_state=0),Y)
    feat_imp = etc.feature_importances_
    std = np.std([tree.feature_importances_ for tree in etc.estimators_],\
    indices = np.argsort(feat_imp)[::-1]
    length_fp =  len(indices)

    fig = plt.figure()
    plt.title("Feature importances"), feat_imp[indices],\
            color="r", yerr=std[indices], align="center")
    plt.xticks(range(length_fp), indices)
    plt.xlim([-1, length_fp])
    return iris_data

Beer Forecasting Example:

Using Oxford TTS Service with Python 2.7 and Requests

This is a follow up to a recent post I made about using Project Oxford with Python. If you haven’t used Project Oxford before visit that post and complete the first three steps to acquire a token.

The previous example used Python 3 and urllib which is cool. But I’m more familiar with the requests library and python 2 so I spent some time re-writing the app with requests, and in the process learned what’s actually going on.

The source code can be found here:

And the example from the Project Oxford Official Repo for python 3 can be found here:

The meat of the program is which provides the methods we use in the app to provide an access token and use it to hit the API with our words to digitize.

Here’s a link to it if you’d like to follow along:

Then we take that token and send a POST request with our access Token and specific headers “TTS_HEADERS” and “body” which includes the text to be translated.

After we POST we receive a JSON object that we encode into base 64 and inject into our HTML Template (index.html) using

To run this project:

clone the project
create a virtual env
pip install requirements.txt
visit http://localhost:5555/

This project is ready to be deployed to Azure as a Web App! If you don’t know/care about that you can simply delete all the other files besides and the contents of FlaskWebProject

Let me know if you have any questions or would like to contribute to the next iteration!

What's underneath the Man suit?
What’s underneath the Man suit?

3 Shortcuts that Justify Opening Visual Studio

I’ve been working a lot with Visual Studio Code the last couple weeks, but recently made the switch back to Visual Studio Community Edition with Python tools for Visual Studio because of three handy shortcuts and one awesome virtual environment manager.

Those three shortcuts are…

Run without debugging.

This sends your python file to the virtual env you have activated to a terminal right next to your project.
Which on its own is cool and handy, but when you right select your solution then select properties:
You can set it to run whatever file you’re currently editing, which makes hoping around different files as your learning so nice.

The next shortcut is…

Send file to interactive

This is great for when you’re just learning about a new library and you keep piecing together what you understand into the file.

Just keep hitting Alt+Shift+F5 send it to the interactive mess around in the terminal with the new objects you’ve created then determine the best logic and send it back into your file.

You break something?

Just send it back in… perhaps using our final shortcut:

Ctrl+E, Ctrl+E
Send selected text to interactive

Don’t let the comma throw you off, just selected some text and hit ctrl+e twice to run that code in the REPL. This in conjunction with Alt+Shift+F5 make it so pleasant to work in Visual Studio with Python.

Visual Studio is great and all, but if I need to learn some new library or work through a tutorial the robustness and Experience of Visual Studio is tough to beat.

Oh yeah, not related to shortcuts but still awesome is Virtual Environment Support:
Those env’s I created by right clicking on Environments and selecting new virtual environment.
There is support for both versions of Python and to install just use pip by right clicking on the env and install from pip!

I’ll let this nice video they’ve created break it down:
Skip to 9 minutes in to see the Virtual Env Breakdown

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Visual Studio Code Extensions! (Typewriter Sounds)

The last two days I’ve been learning about Visual Studio Code Extensions!

This for all the Node/JavaScript Developers out there.

In the end, writing an extension turned out to be a joy. You basically get to create a little program that changes a tool you use everyday and tweak it to exactly what you want then easily publish this to the world.

I made Typewriter Sounds.
Here’s the Repo and the marketplace link

If you install this plugin, you’ll get typewriter sounds as you begin to edit your markdown file.

All the code is available on GitHub, and the instructions for creating your own extension are available on the well documented Visual Studio Code Extensions website!

I thought I’d share some links and resources to help you get started.

First installing an extension

Extension Overview

A simple example

All examples from the vscode team

How to use the Yo Extension Generator to get started Extensibility Reference Overview

vscode API

A couple more advanced examples:

Search from the editor:

Ember Cli for VS Code:

Vim Editor Commands for VS Code:

Publish your extension

Create the editor you want!

The Python Meetup celebrated their holiday party at 680 Folsom!
The Python Meetup celebrated their holiday party at 680 Folsom!

Python, Flask, Text to Speech (TTS), Microsoft, Project Oxford!

Microsoft Provides at TTS service API to help hackers bring voice to their applications.

This is an introduction to the technology as well as working sample code for Python34.

Two weeks ago I worked with a number of students to use this service in a Python Web App. Here’s some photos of the guys I worked with:



If you’re already familiar with Project Oxford feel free to skip the first 3 steps.

It seems like some of the API services are being moved from Bing to under Project Oxford so some of the documentation can be a bit scattered.

I want to point you into the simplest path to make this happen and help trim off some of the overhead that might look daunting at first.

1. We’ll start at the Project Oxford Speech API landing page.


2. Then sign in and subscribe:

You can also look at the live demos/documentation to get started and test the capabilities.


3. Now that we’re signed up and have access to our keys go ahead and keep that tab open because you’ll need to use you’re own key to get this sample code working.

4. In the meantime there is some important documentation to read over to help familiarize yourself with what’s going on:
(Reminder – this API is still in Beta so expect changes along the way)

First is the overview of the Bing Voice Output API
Make sure to check out all the available voices!

And this is the code that we turned into a tiny flask app

5. Two things that I found most confusing about using this sample code…

What is the clientID?
What the heck do you do with the data you get back?

6. So here’s the code we wrote:
Its a tiny flask web app.
Here’s a link to the repository:

to run on my machine I execute:


…Because I have Python 2.7 and Python 3.4 on my machine I run it from C:\

7. The clientID doesn’t need to be anything… I found out. So you’ll see at line 13 in the file client_id is set to ‘nothing’

8. Now what to do with the data you get back…

Well it turns out you can request all sorts of different formats.

You’ll see in the headers declaration of

"X-Microsoft-OutputFormat": "riff-8khz-8bit-mono-mulaw",

We’re requesting a specific file type in return with this header and you can set it to a number of different formats.

You’ll see at this documentation all the different available formats:

we changed our format from the mono-pcm to mulaw -> which has to do with audio compression.

Basically we get back a string that we can encode into base 64 trim the edges and send raw to the browser which will be available to play with the audio tag.

You’ll see this at line 46 of with our get_raw_wav function.

The body of our request can be edited to get different voices (male/female) different languages, and even different cadences.

This all falls under the Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) you can read more about here:
and how Microsoft uses it here:

Let me know if you have any questions!
Feel free to submit a pull request or fork this code for your next hackathon!

Happy Thanksgiving massive tree on the panhandle!
Happy Thanksgiving massive tree on the panhandle!