• solvaydigitalsociety

Why the Need for Virtual Environments?

Updated: Mar 31

Python, like most other modern programming languages, has its own unique way of downloading, storing, and resolving packages (or modules). While this has its advantages, there were some interesting decisions made about package storage and resolution, which has led to some problems—particularly with how and where packages are stored.

It's important to know this because, by default, every project on your system will use these same directories to store and retrieve site packages (third party libraries). At first glance, this may not seem like a big deal, and it isn’t really, for system packages (packages that are part of the standard Python library), but it does matter for site packages.

Consider the following scenario where you have two projects: ProjectA and ProjectB, both of which have a dependency on the same library, ProjectC. The problem becomes apparent when we start requiring different versions of ProjectC. Maybe ProjectA needs v1.0.0, while ProjectB requires the newer v2.0.0, for example.