Virtual Environment and Dependencies

Last modified: July 06, 2020

To mitigate against conflicting dependencies, each tool created with the Python SDK can have an independent Python virtual environment. This allows tools to independently manage a list of dependencies, removing the need to consider other Python SDK tools that could be installed on a user's system.

This process uses the pip command, and thus requires an internet connection.

Shared Libraries

Each virtual environment has a Python binary, allowing environment creation with multiple Python versions, and can have independent Python packages installed in its site directories. The environment still shares the standard library with the base-installed Python.

By default, a virtual environment is isolated from system-level site-packages directories.

Virtual Environment Creation

A virtual environment can be created before or after a Python SDK tool is developed. If a tool does not use additional third-party Python libraries, a virtual environment is not needed.

The following steps detail the recommended process for installing a virtual environment. Consistent installation methods prevent issues with virtual environment replication for end users.

C:\Program Files\Alteryx\bin\Miniconda3>python -m venv C:\ProgramData\Alteryx\Tools\ExamplePythonSDKTool

For more information about Python virtual environments, refer to Python3 documentation.

  1. Create a folder to hold the tool for either admin or non-admin access.
    • Tools using the Program directory require admin permissions:


    • Tools can also be installed on a per-user basis:


  2. Use a command prompt to run the command python -m venv <path name>. Execute the command from the Python install location.
  3. Verify that a Python virtual environment is installed in the specified folder.

Additional 3rd Party Library Installation

Use the following steps to install each third-party dependency required by your tool.


C:\ProgramData\Alteryx\Tools\ExamplePythonSDKTool\Scripts>pip install numpy

  1. Use a command prompt to access the \Scripts folder, located in the installed virtual environment path of your tool.Best Practices
  2. Use the pip installer to install an additional library.
  3. Verify that the library is available in the virtual environment path.

Best Practices

Test and manage a virtual environment for development and distribution, ensuring compatibility and portability, by adhering to the following standards.

  • Only include third-party libraries that are used by the tool.
    • Remove libraries that were installed but not used. This ensures a clean list of dependencies for installs on end-user systems.
  • Python SDK Tool files, such as the GUI HTML file, are in the root of the virtual environment directory path, not in:
    • \Scripts
    • \Lib
    • \Include
  • If a library requires additional configuration steps, such as NLTK library, try to automate the steps from within the Python SDK script.


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