Creating a development environment

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Install Python 3.6+, preferably Python 3.8: check your Linux distribution docs to see how to install a particular version; for Windows go to Check “Add Python 3.8 to PATH” during installation.

Install git: sudo apt install git or equivalent on Linux; for Windows go to

Recommended - install an integrated development environment such as PyCharm or Visual Studio Code (many others are available).

Recommended - install PostgreSQL database

Check out git repo

Either clone the main OpenREM repository, or fork it first and then clone that (adapt the command accordingly):

$ git clone

The OpenREM source code will now be in a folder called openrem. If you wish to specify the folder, you could do this by adding the folder name to the clone command.

Create Python virtual environment

Linux - install the Python package venv using pip (Windows users, venv should have been installed with Python automatically):

$ sudo apt install python3-venv

Then create the Python virtual environment in a folder called openrem-venv (change as required):


$ python3.8 -m venv openrem-venv
$ . openrem-venv/bin/activate

Windows PowerShell (for cmd.exe substitute Activate.ps1 with activate.bat)

PS C:\Path\To\Coding Folder> C:\Python38\python -m venv openrem-venv
PS C:\Path\To\Coding Folder> .\openrem-venv\Scripts\Activate.ps1

For users of VS Code, it can be useful to create the virtual environment in a folder called .venv within your project folder (where you checked out the git repo), then VS Code will find it automatically. If you are using PyCharm you can click on the Python interpreter at the bottom right and click ‘Add Interpreter’.

Install the Python libraries


  • git repository is in a sub-folder called openrem - change as necessary

  • venv is activated

$ pip install -e openrem/

Setup OpenREM

You’ll need a basic configuration of OpenREM to run any code locally - copy the openremproject/ to openremproject/ and set a path for a SQLite database etc.

To use PosgreSQL instead of SQLite3, set up a user in pgAdmin 4 on Windows, and an empty database with the same user as owner, or use the Database and OpenREM config instructions on Linux.

Run test webserver

To see the changes you have made with the web interface, you can use the built-in Django webserver:

python runserver --insecure

In a web browser on the same computer, go to http://localhost:8000/ - you should now see the message about creating users.

Get coding

Create a branch in the git repository, and start making your changes, adding your features etc!

When you are done, push it back to Bitbucket and send in a pull request! Ideally, try and use the refs #123 syntax in commit messages to reference the issue on Bitbucket you are working on.