Conda Poetry and Pipenv

Last year, I have used python more, mostly related to the AI domain, I am just a novice, but I frequently have the feel that the python is not as popular as its great reputation, it did not mature as a language of a software engineering. I know my opinion should be wrong, but when I encounter problems and try to google, there are few good anwser in a engineering point of view.


The most headache is the dependencies management, I have wrote a post in year 2018 The Python Dependency Tool, I was thinking that I found the solution with pipenv, but after a few project, I found pipenv also have problems:

  • It still hard to setup corectlly on Windows, mac, linux. Some days you make it work easily, and suddenly, it will throw an error when you create a new project. Because it also depends on the python you installed on the machine.

  • With the above issue, it not easy to set up a pipenv project easily across different platform. and this make it worse when you try to deploy project to the product server, found it is unable to run in the target server. Then you found you still have to use docker.

  • It have version management problem. for example Could not find a version that matches numpy<=1.14.5,==1.15.1,>=1.13.3,>=1.9.0

  • It easy to hang for a long long long time when run pipenv install, see this issue


These problem is enough for me to try to find another better tool. I had know conda before the pipenv, but strangely, there are little discussion about the conda, that’s make me have a mistaken feel that it may be not popular at all.

I finally did try mini conda, I feel it is good. It is better than pipenv, with conda, we can create different python environment with different version, even we can create a 32 bit python environment with a 64 bit conda.

But it also can not make you project work in other machine easily, the environment.yml is not going to resolve the difference between different platforms, you still need run pip install manually in a new machine when you encounter the problem environment.yml ResolvePackageNotFound. Or you export the environment.yml for the same kind of platform, and hope it will work.

The common tasks

Firstly, very important thing is that when install the conda, DO NOT set the PATH variable, and I recommend DO NOT set conda as the default python too.

Usually we just need use mini conda, it will be smaller to install and we also can add other dependency by pip in the conda enviorment.

After installed, you should able to run conda in the command shell, if it say conda not a command, try to found the conda prompt application(windows), see its detail how to activate conda, for example, d:\Miniconda3\Scripts\activate.bat d:\Miniconda3.

Create a environment

conda create -n my_py36 python=3.6

Create a 32 bit environment

conda create -n py3_32 python=3

refer to here

Remove a environment

conda env remove -n py3_32

Export environment

conda env export --no-builds > environment.yml

This command will export the environment to a yaml file, but as I mentioned above, it still have problem on another platform.

Activate/Deactvate environment

Before you use a environment, you need to activate it activate my_py36

After you used a environment, you can deactivate it deactivate my_py36

Export as a requirments.txt

pip freeze > requirments.txt

Load from requirments.txt

pip install -r requirements.txt


Poetry as it saying is going to resolve problem of pipenv. but from my point, it is also have problem, and did not resolve the real problem.

  • It still depend on the python you installled in the machine.
  • It even can not specify different python version while conda and pipenv can.

I do not have any idea why I need chose it.


curl -sSL | python

The common tasks

Init a project in a exists folder

go to the project folder poetry init

install dependencies from a pyproject.toml file
poetry install

Add/remove dependecy

poetry add requests pendulum

poetry remove requests pendulum

Build wheel

The build command builds the source and wheels archives.
poetry build. Note that, at the moment, only pure python wheels are supported.

Run Project

poetry run python -V

or poetry shell in the project folder, then run python will use the environment. Which is seems to be as same as pipenv.

Export requirements.txt

poetry export -f requirements.txt

With Docker

For both pipenv and poetry, as they are able to export requirements.txt we can use a normal python docker image to run the project.

With Conda, they have maintained a official docker image


From my opinion, I will choose conda in the future project. It have a big community include most scientists who are using python and it is stable. It give me the best experience than the other two so far.

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