What is the most complete way to install python on Windows?

Question:

I know this question can be interpreted as a discussion, so I asked it with the word "complete" instead of "better".

I'm a python user on GNU/Linux and here it comes more or less pre-installed. Still, I can use pip to install or remove new packages, creating a complete installation for my everyday use (virtualenv, scientific computing packages and other development libraries, like tkinter).

I have seen many python questions on Windows (in SOEN there are many, some are starting to appear here in SOPT), and I know that there is a python version (both 2.7 and 3.x) to install from the language's website , as well as some packages for scientific computing .

I imagine the answer will depend on my application. Considering two distinct environments:

  • Scientific Computing (in which case, which of the two applications listed in the link above is the most complete?)

  • Business Development Environment (I have no idea here)

What kind of tools are there for MS Windows that allow me to have a good python development environment, simply, quickly and completely?

And yet, is there anything equivalent to PIP for Windows?

Answer:

One of the biggest difficulties in installing Python packages on Windows is that the resources needed to compile them from source are not always present. This causes problems when installing certain packages via PIP, so some manual intervention is eventually required.

From my personal experience (Python 2.7 on Windows XP), the steps for setting up a Python environment would be:

  1. Install Python itself, from its official website ;
  2. Install setuptools from a Windows binary ;
  3. Install pip , from a Windows binary ;
  4. Put the folder where the pip is (ex.: C:\Python27\Scripts ) in the PATH (optional);
  5. For each package you want to install:
    1. Try to install by pip: pip install pacote .
    2. If the installation fails, look for a Windows-friendly binary on Google.

Unfortunately, from my personal experience I can say that step 5.2 is more frequent than I'd like… "Pure python" packages like Django usually install fine via pip, but those that require a native interface (usually via C) often fail frequently.

As for finding binaries, in general I just go to Google, but this site has a pretty extensive list of binaries for both 32bit and 64bit Windows. Some of the packages I needed for commercial development (eg ReportLab – PDF generation, psycopg2 – Postgres interface, mod-wsgi – Apache interface, etc) as well as some scientific computing (NumPy, SciPy, PyEphem etc) and many more are available on that list.

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