You can switch between different installed versions of Python by simply prepending to your PATH. However, this goes wrong in some scenarios, such as when a tool like ‘virtualenv’ is installed in one Python version, but not in another. Pretty soon you will be executing your project with one Python version, but referencing the site-packages of another. When switching, other versions of Python need to be stripped from your PATH.

As a solution, I present a new Python module, pychoose. For the moment this is Windows only:

>python -V
Python 2.6.4
>easy_install pychoose
...
>pychoose 24
(Py24) >python -V
Python 2.4.4
(Py24) >exit
>python -V
Python 2.6.4

It prepends to the PATH as above, but it also filters other Python versions out the PATH. It modifies the PROMPT to show the user they are operating in a modified environment. It works by spawning a new shell with the modified environment. To return to your default Python interpreter, type ‘exit’.

PyPI page: http://pypi.python.org/pypi/pychoose

Subversion repository: http://code.google.com/p/pychoose

Preview the module source code.

It seems to work for simple scenarios, but there are a bunch of known problems with it (see the PyPI page above), which I’d like to fix if people think this is useful. I just whipped this up and don’t really understand the issues surrounding this. In particular is spawning a new shell the best way to modify the current console’s environment? Is a less-instrusive alternative to generate .bat file which can be executed to change the current shell’s environment?

Feedback & suggestions very welcome.