Creating a Development Environment

Creating a Development Environment

Required Tools


As the OpenStack SDK is developed in Python, you will need at least one version of Python installed. It is strongly preferred that you have at least one of version 2 and one of version 3 so that your tests are run against both. Our continuous integration system runs against several versions, so ultimately we will have the proper test coverage, but having multiple versions locally results in less time spent in code review when changes unexpectedly break other versions.

Python can be downloaded from


In order to isolate our development environment from the system-based Python installation, we use virtualenv. This allows us to install all of our necessary dependencies without interfering with anything else, and preventing others from interfering with us. Virtualenv must be installed on your system in order to use it, and it can be had from PyPI, via pip, as follows. Note that you may need to run this as an administrator in some situations.:

$ apt-get install python-virtualenv  # Debian based platforms
$ yum install python-virtualenv      # Red Hat based platforms
$ pip install virtualenv             # Mac OS X and other platforms

You can create a virtualenv in any location. A common usage is to store all of your virtualenvs in the same place, such as under your home directory. To create a virtualenv for the default Python, likely a version 2, run the following:

$ virtualenv $HOME/envs/sdk

To create an environment for a different version, such as Python 3, run the following:

$ virtualenv -p python3.4 $HOME/envs/sdk3

When you want to enable your environment so that you can develop inside of it, you activate it. To activate an environment, run the /bin/activate script inside of it, like the following:

$ source $HOME/envs/sdk3/bin/activate

Once you are activated, you will see the environment name in front of your command prompt. In order to exit that environment, run the deactivate command.


We use tox as our test runner, which allows us to run the same test commands against multiple versions of Python. Inside any of the virtualenvs you use for working on the SDK, run the following to install tox into it.:

(sdk3)$ pip install tox


The source of the OpenStack SDK is stored in Git. In order to work with our source repository, you must have Git installed on your system. If your system has a package manager, it can likely be had from there. If not, you can find downloads or the source at

Getting the Source Code


Before checking out the code, please read the OpenStack Developer’s Guide for details on how to use the continuous integration and code review systems that we use.

The canonical Git repository is hosted on at, with a mirror on GitHub at Because of how Git works, you can create a local clone from either of those, or your own personal fork.:

(sdk3)$ git clone
(sdk3)$ cd python-openstacksdk

Installing Dependencies

In order to work with the SDK locally, such as in the interactive interpreter or to run example scripts, you need to install the project’s dependencies.:

(sdk3)$ pip install -r requirements.txt

After the downloads and installs are complete, you’ll have a fully functional environment to use the SDK in.

Building the Documentation

Our documentation is written in reStructured Text and is built using Sphinx. A docs command is available in our tox.ini, allowing you to build the documentation like you’d run tests. The docs command is not evaluated by default.:

(sdk3)$ tox -e docs

That command will cause the documentation, which lives in the docs folder, to be built. HTML output is the most commonly referenced, which is located in docs/build/html.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

Except where otherwise noted, this document is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. See all OpenStack Legal Documents.