Django, virtualenvwrapper and multiple settings files

Finally figured out something really annoying.

Two Scoops of Django: Best Practices for Django 1.5 advocates what is essentially Jacob Kaplan-Moss’s The One True Way proposal from his talk ‘The Best (and Worst) of Django’ (slides 50 to 52).

So I had a go at implementing The One True Way by creating a settings directory in the project package directory and converting my and into,, etc.

I then tried to run runserver --settings=project.settings.local and got this error message:

ImportError: Could not import settings 'project.settings.local' 
(Is it on sys.path?): No module named project.settings.local

So yes: the parent directory of project (my project package) needed to be added to sys.path. The question was how to do this in a non-messy way using virtualenvwrapper.

Turns out the solution was proposed back in March 2008 by none other than James Bennett (as described by this Stack Overflow post): use virtualenvwrapper’s add2virtualenv command to add the specified directory to the virtualenv’s PYTHONPATH.

So I did this for project‘s parent directory:

add2virtualenv /path/to/parent/directory

To prove it worked:

python -c "import sys; print sys.path"
['', '/path/to/parent/directory', ...]

It goes away when you deactivate your virtualenv and comes back when you activate it again. Perfect.