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Setting up an existing Django project on Windows

I created this document for helping team members who need to run a Django project but not necessarily work on the Python/Django stuff. This is also equally helpful for the developer on Linux who needs to get the project up and running on Windows.

This document is tested only with the following versions

  • Windows 10
  • Python 3.6+

Install git bash

Git bash is a shell which can run all git commands and act like a bash terminal in that it provides us with few familiar bash commands to put the developer at ease.

Download git for windows from here:

Install the program with pre-selected settings. It is often better not to modify any selections in the install dialog unless you know what you are doing. Then, let git bash launch.

By default, the python command runs extremely slow or never actually opens up the python interpreter on git bash. To fix this, we need to create an alias for the python command.

Open or create the .bashrc file. This will open the nano editor.

nano .bashrc

If .bashrc already did not exist, it will be created. Add the following line to this file. Press Ctrl-X to exit out of the file. It will ask to save the file. Type Y for Yes and Press ENTER to save and exit.

alias python='winpty python'

After coming out of nano, run source. This will enable the alias for the remainder of your bash session. Note that this will also be enabled when you run git bash next time.

source .bashrc

Create an SSH Key

Generate a new SSH key pair as per the gitlab documentation. Follow steps 1 through 6. Step 5 will allow you to commit, push and pull your changes to the repository.

Clone the project

$ git clone https://git-url/myproject

You may be prompted to enter the passphrase you just created when you clone the project and for subsequent pushes and pulls.

This will create a git repository of your project inside the myproject folder.

Change into the myproject folder.

$ cd myproject

From here on, when I say project path, I mean the directory where you have cloned the Django project.

Install Python

This could be any current Python version. If you have a recommended version from your project, it is always better to use that.

Download and install python

Make sure you can run Python from a command window. If it doesn't work, create a PATH entry to the Python installation.

Install pip

To install Python libraries and Django dependencies, we need to install a package manager called pip.

To do this, download the script from this location

Open command window in the folder where is and run the following command. This will download and install pip.

$ python

Make sure pip is working. Run pip in the command window and see some pip related output. You can also try pip -V to see the version.

Create a virtual environment

We need to create a Python virtual environment for our project. A Python virtual environment (virtualenv) is a way to manage the dependencies and their specific versions in a Python project without creating trouble for other Python projects.

To create a virtual environment, run the following command in the project path.

$ python -m venv venv

We need to activate the virtual environment. Inside the project path, run the following command

$ source venv/Scripts/activate.bat

Doing this will change your prompt like this

(venv) $



Install dependencies

Run the following command in the project path to install dependencies.

(venv) $ pip install -r requirements/base.txt

Run the project

We are all set to run the project.

Now let us activate the environment variables. Instead of running a few commands to create environment variables each time, I create a file called xport with environment variables.

This is just a normal file. It is created using the following command. On windows, you can run this command on git bash.

touch xport

Now, fill the file with the following lines.

set -a
set +a

Doing this enables variables inside this file to be exported. Run the following command in the project path.

$ source xport

Since it is a lot more trouble to get the actual database to be set up, I create another version of the settings file and configure sqlite as the database.

    'default': {
        'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.sqlite3',
        'NAME': os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'db.sqlite3'),

Run the migrate command to create database structure

$ python migrate

Run the built-in webserver

$ python runserver

This will run the application on the port 8000 with the dummy sqlite database.

Missing things

There are a few things I have missed at the moment.

You may need

  • some seed data provided depending on your project.
  • assistance on configuring the static assets.
  • a superuser created