Ioannis Poulakas

Software Developer

© 2021. All rights reserved.

Private Company

How to manage your Python dependencies with Poetry

26 Dec 2019

In the recent past I was excited blogging about Pipenv.
Today I decided to try out Poetry since it reached version 1.0 this month and there is a lot of hype around it.

Poetry is a tool for managing Python dependencies as well as virtual environments.

Getting started

Poetry can be installed by running:

curl -sSL | python

Installation will add Poetry on the home directory and make it automatically available on bash:

export PATH="$HOME/.poetry/bin:$PATH"

Installing Python dependencies

Poetry is using the standardized file format pyproject.toml.
The pyproject.toml file can be created by simply running poetry init and following the on-screen instructions.

With the pyproject.toml file in place, let's try to install the popular library requests:

poetry add requests

Poetry will automagically:

  • Create a new virtualenv if it doesn't already exist
  • Install requests on the virtualenv
  • Update pyproject.toml with the requests entry
  • Create or update poetry.lock that holds the dependency tree.

Note: make sure both pyproject.toml and poetry.lock are under version control.

Dev dependencies can be installed by using the --dev flag, for example:

poetry add nose --dev

Uninstalling Python dependencies

Poetry can uninstall a dependency by running:

poetry remove requests

Running commands on the virtualenv

Any command can be run on the created virtualenv by using poetry run, for example:

poetry run python --version

Alternatively a shell can be spawned by running poetry shell to avoid prefixing every command.

Managing Python virtual environments for a project

Let's suppose that a project has to be run specifically on Python version 3.7.5. Poetry can make use of pyenv environments or even python executables that are available on the path.

Using pyenv to get Python 3.7.5:

pyenv install 3.7.5
pyenv local 3.7.5

Update Python version at pyproject.toml:

python = "^3.7.5"

Re-install dependencies for Python 3.7.5:

poetry install

List all existing virtual environments for a project:

poetry env list

Switch a virtual environment:

poetry env use <env-name>

Remove a virtual environment:

poetry env remove <env-name>

Other useful Poetry functionalities

Poetry can build and publish packages using the respective commands, something that is missing from Pipenv.
Poetry lock file can be exported to other formats like requirements.txt by using the export command.
Poetry can display package info by using the search command.


Deploying dependencies on Docker containers should not require installing them under a virtualenv.
Poetry is providing a handy command for disabling the default behaviour:

RUN poetry config virtualenvs.create false \
  && poetry install --no-dev --no-interaction --no-ansi


Poetry is an awesome tool, it builds upon previous Pipenv features while at the same time is simplifying the virtual environments handling. Since version 1.0 is out it can be considered pretty stable and ready for production.

This website uses third party cookies to understand how people are interacting with it in order to improve the browsing experience.