How to Create Python Projects Using Poetry: A Beginner's Guide (2024 Edition)

How to Create Python Projects Using Poetry: A Beginner's Guide (2024 Edition)

Master Python project creation and management with Poetry: Installation, dependencies management, packaging and virtual environments explained


6 min read


Are you tired of wrestling with Python project dependencies, virtual environments, and the complexities of packaging?

Let's revisit the challenges that often plague Python projects:

๐Ÿ‘‰ Inconsistent Environments: Have you ever run into a "works on my machine" scenario? Mismatched dependencies can cause headaches when code behaves differently across environments.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Version Conflicts: The dreaded dependency hell โ€“ when incompatible versions clash and break your code.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Manual Tracking: Keeping track of every package and its version can quickly become overwhelming.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Complex Packaging: Preparing your project for distribution can involve a series of manual steps.

Imagine a world where setting up your Python projects is as easy as pie.

Welcome to the world of Poetry!

Poetry addresses these issues head-on, by providing a streamlined and efficient way to handle dependencies, package projects etc making your Python projects more reliable and easier to manage.

In this beginner-friendly tutorial, we'll guide you through how to create Python projects using Poetry, step by step.

Everything you need to know.

Step 1: Installing Poetry (via Official Installer)

To embark on our Poetry journey, we need to install it.

The recommended way is via the official installer.

You can find detailed instructions on the Poetry installation page.

# For Linux, macOS, Windows (WSL)

curl -sSL | python3 -

Step 2a: Creating Your First Python Project with Poetry

Once Poetry is installed, let's create a new Python project using Poetry's intuitive new command:

poetry new my-awesome-project

Project Structure

After running the command, Poetry generates a project structure that looks like this:

โ”œโ”€โ”€ pyproject.toml   
โ”œโ”€โ”€ my_awesome_project/
โ”‚   โ””โ”€โ”€
โ”œโ”€โ”€ tests/
  • pyproject.toml: The heart of your project! This file contains project metadata, dependencies, and scripts.

  • A place to describe your project in markdown format.

  • my_awesome_project/: Your project's source code directory.

  • tests/: A dedicated folder for your project's tests.

Step 2b: Breathing Poetry into Existing Projects

If you already have a Python project you want to manage with Poetry, it's easy to migrate.

Navigate to your project's root directory and run:

cd pre-existing-project
poetry init

Poetry will guide you through creating a pyproject.toml file, asking questions about your project's name, description, and dependencies.

Step 2c: Demystifying pyproject.toml

The pyproject.toml file generated via poetry new my-awesome-project command includes the following components:

name = "my-awesome-project"
version = "0.1.0"
description = ""
authors = ["Kamran Ali <>"]
readme = ""

python = "^3.12"

requires = ["poetry-core"]
build-backend = "poetry.core.masonry.api"
  • [tool.poetry]: Contains the main metadata for your project such as name, version, description, authors.

  • [tool.poetry.dependencies]: Lists all the dependencies required to run your project.

  • [build-system]: Specifies the build system requirements, including requires and build-backend which are necessary for building your project.

Step 3: Poetry's Operating Modes

Poetry offers two operating modes:

  • Package Mode: (default) Use this mode, if you want to package your project into an sdist or a wheel and publish it to a package index

    • Metadata such as name and version which are required for packaging, are mandatory.

    • The project itself will be installed in editable mode when running poetry install.

  • Non-package Mode: Use this mode, If you want to use Poetry only for dependency management

We can disable package mode via

package-mode = false

Step 4: Virtual Environments Made Easy with Poetry

Poetry manages virtual environments automatically.

By default, they are created in a central location

But you can configure Poetry to create virtual environments within your project directory by setting Config.

Having virtual environments within the project directory simplifies project management and ensures all project-related files are in one place.

Secondly, tools like vscode can detect the virtual environment of our project

# Enable via following command

poetry config true

# To list poetry configs
poetry config --list

Virtual Environment Commands

CommandShort Description
poetry shellActivates the virtual environment
deactivateDeactivates the virtual environment
poetry env listLists all virtual environments

External Virtual Environment Management

Poetry can also work with external virtual environments. Just activate the external virtual environment before running Poetry commands.

Step 5: Mastering Dependency Management with Poetry

Dependencies are the building blocks of any Python project. Poetry makes adding, removing, and updating them a breeze.

Adding and Removing Dependencies

To add a dependency:

poetry add <package>

To remove a dependency:

poetry remove <package>

Showing and Updating Packages

To show installed packages:

poetry show

To update packages:

poetry update

# Update specific packages 
poetry update package_1 package_2

Poetry Dependency Management Commands

poetry addpoetry add requestsAdds a new dependency
poetry removepoetry remove requestsRemoves a dependency
poetry showpoetry show -tShows installed packages
poetry updatepoetry updateUpdates all dependencies
poetry installpoetry installInstalls dependencies defined in pyproject.toml file

The Importance of poetry.lock

The poetry.lock file is your project's snapshot of dependencies and their exact versions.

It ensures that everyone working on your project has the same environment preventing surprises down the road.

Step 6: Dependency Groups

Poetry introduces dependency groups, a powerful feature for organizing your project's dependencies logically based on their purpose.

You can think of dependency groups as labels associated with your dependencies

Common groups include main and test

Creating a Test Group

poetry add --group <group> <package>

poetry add --group test pytest

The above command will create following section in pyproject.toml

pytest = "^8.2.2"
The dependencies declared in tool.poetry.dependencies are part of an implicit main group.

Creating Optional Groups

Optional groups let you define dependencies that are not always required

To create an optional group:

[] # Marking "docs" group as Optional
optional = true

mkdocs = "*"
--withpoetry install --with docsOptional groups can be installed in addition to the default dependencies by using the --with option of the installcommand.
--withoutpoetry install --without test,docsTo exclude one or more groups we can use --without option
--onlypoetry install --only docsIf we want to install only specific groups of dependencies without installing the default set of dependencies use the --only option.

Step 7: Packaging Your Project with Poetry

Ready to share your masterpiece with the world?

Poetry makes packaging a breeze

To build your project:

poetry build

This command creates both a source distribution (.tar.gz) and a wheel (.whl) in the dist/ directory, ready for installation.

To create only wheel, use following command

poetry build -f wheel

Step 8: Publishing to PyPI or Private Repositories

Poetry streamlines publishing your package to the Python Package Index (PyPI):

To publish your package:

poetry publish

To publish to a private repository, you need to configure the repository URL:

poetry config repositories.<repo-name> <repo-url>

Then publish using:

poetry publish -r <repo-name>


Python Poetry empowers you to create, manage, and share your Python projects with confidence.

Say goodbye to dependency nightmares and hello to a streamlined development workflow.

From installation to publication, Poetry's intuitive interface and powerful features make it an indispensable tool for beginners and experienced developers alike.

So, why not give Poetry a try for your next Python adventure? You might just find yourself wondering how you ever managed without it.

Are you ready to start your next Python project with Poetry?


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