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Conda Auto Env

Apr 23, 20192 min readTutorial, Python
Credit: Kapa65

If you’re like me, you’ll have gotten tired of manually having to activate your conda environment every time you switch between Python projects pretty quickly. Since you’re reading this, you may even have started googling for a solution that could take care of this automatically. The following shell script has served me very well for this purpose for several months now. It’s a spin-off of Christine Doig’s conda-auto-env.


# automatically activates conda environments when entering directories
# with a conda environment file which must be named one of
#   - env(ironment).y(a)ml
#   - requirements.y(a)ml
# if env doesn't exist yet, create it; deactivate env when exciting folder
# installation: copy chpwd() to .bashrc or save the whole script as
# file and source it in .bashrc, e.g. by placing it in /usr/local/bin
# or by symlinking conda_auto_env there

# chpwd is a zsh hook function that is executed whenever the current working
# directory is changed (http://zsh.sourceforge.net/Doc/Release/Functions.html).
chpwd() {
  FILE="$(find -E . -maxdepth 1 -regex '.*(env(ironment)?|requirements)\.ya?ml' -print -quit)"
  if [[ -e $FILE ]]; then
    ENV=$(sed -n 's/name: //p' $FILE)
    # check if env already active
    if [[ $CONDA_DEFAULT_ENV != $ENV ]]; then
      conda activate $ENV
      # if env activation unsuccessful, create new env from file
      if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then
        echo "Conda environment '$ENV' doesn't exist. Creating it now."
        conda env create -q
        conda activate $ENV
  # deactivate env when exciting root dir
  elif [[ $PATH = */envs/* ]]\
    && [[ $(pwd) != $CONDA_ENV_ROOT ]]\
    && [[ $(pwd) != $CONDA_ENV_ROOT/* ]]
    conda deactivate

# execute chpwd on shell init

To install it, either copy it to .bashrc or .bashprofile or — perhaps a little cleaner — source this script in either of those files. For instance, say you have a ~/scripts directory where you keep custom scripts like this one, to add this script to your path, you would simply run

ln -s "~/scripts/conda_auto_env" /usr/local/bin

and then append the following line to your .bashrc.

source conda_auto_env

That’s it. Now, every time you open a shell prompt in a directory that contains a conda environment file named one of env(ironment).y(a)ml, requirements.y(a)ml, conda_auto_env will automatically read the name of the corresponding environment from that file and activate it. Similarly, when you exit that directory, the environment will be deactivated again and if the environment doesn’t exist yet when you first enter the directory, conda_auto_env will generate it and install all specified dependencies.

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