PyCharm Integration#

The Professional edition of JetBrains PyCharm IDE, version 2017.1.2 or later, can be used to develop and debug with Docker and Docker Compose.

Additional PyCharm tips are kept in this PyCharm IDE setup documentation.


  1. You must complete all steps for provisioning your Docker Devstack environment in Getting Started before proceeding with the PyCharm setup.

  2. If you are on a Mac, make sure you are on a newer version than macOS Yosemite. A this time, this should work with either El Capitan or Sierra.

Before running Run or Debug in PyCharm#

Every time you run/debug a server or test in PyCharm, you must first ensure that all Docker images are stopped outside of PyCharm. PyCharm will potentially disable the start button with no further error when this problem occurs. See Jetbrains ticket PY-22893.

Setup a Remote Interpreter#

Follow the vendor documentation for the necessary steps to add a Docker Compose remote interpreter. In the Remote Python Interpreter dialog, use the following options:

  • If you need to add a server (e.g. Docker for Mac), you should be able to Add and choose defaults.

    • On a Mac, you’ll need to use “API URL: unix:///var/run/docker.sock” (with 3 slashes).

  • Configuration files(s)

    • /LOCAL/PATH/TO/devstack/docker-compose.yml (e.g.~/edx/devstack/docker-compose.yml)

    • /LOCAL/PATH/TO/devstack/docker-compose-host.yml

    • /LOCAL/PATH/TO/devstack/docker-compose-themes.yml

  • Service: lms (or whatever IDA you wish to test)

  • Required Environment variables:

    • DEVSTACK_WORKSPACE=/LOCAL/PARENT/PATH/TO/workspace (i.e.: Path to where your local repositories are cloned. This needs to be full path an not relative (e.g. ‘./’) path to ensure proper configuration of python packages.)

    • VIRTUAL_ENV=/LOCAL/PARENT/PATH/TO/workspace/devstack/venv (i.e.: Path to where your local devstack virtual environment exists for release.)

  • Optional Environment variables:

    • OPENEDX_RELEASE=release.version (i.e.: appropriate image tag; “juniper.master”)

    • COMPOSE_PROJECT_NAME=docker-compose.container (i.e.: “devstack-juniper.master”; appropriate docker-compose container project for devstack multiple release (same machine); ensures specific Docker containers get used based on release name; Ref: openedx/devstack#532)

  • Python interpreter path:

    • The remote path should be set to the service’s virtual environment:

      • /edx/app/<SERVICE_NAME>/venvs/<SERVICE_NAME>/bin/python

    • For example, the path would be the following for the Ecommerce Service:

      • /edx/app/ecommerce/venvs/ecommerce/bin/python

      • Note: The Credentials Service might not have a virtualenv set up in the container.

    • For either lms or cms, you need to use edxapp:

      • /edx/app/edxapp/venvs/edxapp/bin/python

  • PyCharm helpers path: Keep the default.

Note: For lms and cms (edx-platform), it will take a long time to update skeletons (10 or more minutes). If you want to try a different set of configuration (compose) files, we recommend you create a new one so you can easily switch back to old without this delay.

Warning: When you change configuration files, the service drop-down gets reset. Remember to restore to the IDA you wish to test.

Some Tips: If your remote isn’t loading you may need to set your DEVSTACK_WORKSPACE variable globally in your ./bash_profile. Additionally try reseting docker as a last resort and things should sync successfully after that.

Setup Django Support#

Before setting up a Server/Debug configuration you will need to setup Django Support for the specific Project (e.g. LMS and CMS, or ecommerce)

PyCharm -> Preferences -> Languages & Frameworks -> Django

If your Django Project contains a single repo, like ecommerce, your settings would look as follows:

Django Project Root: /Path/to/docker_devstack/ecommerce

Settings: ecommerce/settings/

Manage Script:

If you have all of the repos open in a single Django Project, you would use the following:

Django Project Root: /Path/to/docker_devstack

Settings: ecommerce/ecommerce/settings/

Manage Script: ecommerce/

Note: With all repos in the same project, you would need to update these settings each time you wanted to debug a different project.

Setup a Server Run/Debug Configuration#

The setup for Server Run/Debug Configurations depends on the service.

Server Run/Debug Configuration for an IDA (not LMS or CMS)#

After configuring the interpreter, add a new Django Server Run/Debug Configuration, with the following specific values.

The host should always be set to so that Django accepts requests from external clients (e.g. your Docker host). The port should be set to the service-specific port from the table above.

Note: See next section for additional changes needed for LMS and CMS.

Setup a Server Run/Debug Configuration for ecommerce#

Add the following Environment Variables to the Server configuration, these are all defined on the ecommerce server in /edx/app/ecommerce/ecommerce_env

export PATH="/edx/app/ecommerce/nodeenvs/ecommerce/bin:/edx/app/ecommerce/venvs/ecommerce/bin:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin:/snap/bin"
export ECOMMERCE_CFG="/edx/etc/ecommerce.yml"
export DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE="ecommerce.settings.devstack"

Setup a Server Run/Debug Configuration for LMS or CMS#

For LMS and CMS, the setup is a hack because we (unfortunately) modified

After configuring the interpreter, add a new Django Server Run/Debug Configuration, with the following specific values.

  1. Leave host/port blank

  2. Additional options: runserver (or runserver

  3. Custom run command: lms (or cms)

  4. Environment variables, add the following for lms/cms:

    • DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE=lms.envs.devstack_docker (or cms.envs.devstack_docker)


    • CONFIG_ROOT=/edx/app/edxapp

    • LMS_CFG=/edx/etc/lms.yml

  5. Python Interpreter: Choose the Docker Compose interpreter for this service.

  6. Working directory: /edx/app/edxapp/edx-platform

  7. Path mappings (add mapping):

    • Local path: /LOCAL/PATH/TO/edx-platform (e.g. ~/edx/edx-platform)

    • Remote path: /edx/app/edxapp/edx-platform

  8. Deselect “Add content…” and “Add source…”

  9. Before launch: External tool, Activate tool window

    (i.e ensures release services are stopped prior to launching the debug/run configuration) e.g. make OPENEDX_RELEASE=juniper.master stop.all from “devstack” repo.)

    • Click ‘+’ then Add New Configuration > Run External tool

      • Assign values:

        • Name: “Stop all running containers for release.”

        • Description: “Stop all running containers for release.”

        • Tool Settings:

          • Program: make

          • Arugments: OPENEDX_RELEASE=juniper.master stop.all

          • Working directory: $ProjectFileDir$/devstack

      • Advanced Options

        • (Deselect) Synchronize files after execution

        • (Select) Open console for tool output

          • (Select) Make console active on message in stdout

          • (Select) Make console active on message in stderr

Setup a Run/Debug Configuration for python tests#

The setup for a Run/Debug Configurations for python tests depends on the service.

Tip: You can adjust the default configuration with settings you are most likely to replicate.

Setup a Run/Debug Configuration for python tests for an IDA (not LMS or CMS)#

To run and debug unit tests, create a “Django tests” type Run/Dubug configuration with the following options:

  1. Target: ecommerce.extensions.api.v2.tests.views.test_baskets:BasketCalculateViewTests

  2. Environment Variables:


    • DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE=ecommerce.settings.test


  3. Working directory: /edx/app/ecommerce/ecommerce

  4. Path mappings (add mapping):

    • Local path: LOCAL/PATH/TO/ecommerce (e.g. ~/docker_devstack/ecommerce)

    • Remote path: /edx/app/ecommerce/ecommerce

  5. Deselect “Add content…” and “Add source…”

Setup a Run/Debug Configuration for python tests for LMS or CMS#

To run and debug unit tests, edit the “Defaults -> Python tests -> py.test” type Run/Dubug configuration with the following options:

  1. Python Interpreter: Choose the Docker Compose interpreter for this service.

  2. Working directory: /edx/app/edxapp/edx-platform

  3. Path mappings (add mapping):

    • Local path: LOCAL/PATH/TO/edx-platform (e.g. ~/edx/edx-platform)

    • Remote path: /edx/app/edxapp/edx-platform

  4. Deselect “Add content…” and “Add source…”

Then make two changes in PyCharm’s preferences:

  1. Set “Tools -> Python Integrated Tools -> Default test runner” to “py.test”.

  2. In “Languages & Frameworks -> Django”, uncheck “Enable Django Support”. Starting in PyCharm 2017.3 (the EAP of which is already available), this dialog has a “Do not use Django test runner” checkbox which should be enabled instead.

You should now be able to execute tests via the context menu of test files, classes, or individual test cases. You can also run custom sets of tests by creating a custom py.test Run/Debug configuration (which should now be initialized with the defaults above) and setting its “Target” appropriately.

Currently not supported for PyCharm Development#

  • Debugging for BokChoy

  • Debugging for JavaScript

  • Cython for fasterdebug


General Tips#

  1. Ensure that you have fulfilled all of the Prerequisites.

  2. Ensure you have completed all steps in Before running Run or Debug in PyCharm each time you run the server or tests.

  3. PyCharm is often fixing bugs around the relatively new docker-compose integration. If PyCharm has an update, install it.

Can’t create Python SDK#

While working in PyCharm, you could see the following error:

The command '/bin/sh -c mv /user/bin/docker-compose /user/bin/docker-compose-original' returned a non-zero code: 1

This issue has been fixed in PyCharm 2017.1.2.

Cannot open the file#

The error happens when you try to run a stack (lms or cms for example):

Attaching to edx.devstack.lms
edx.devstack.lms | /edx/app/edxapp/venvs/edxapp/bin/python: can't open file '/edx/app/edxapp/edx-platform/': [Errno 2] No such file or directory
edx.devstack.lms exited with code 2
Aborting on container exit...

Best is to recheck all your settings in particular the Remote Interpreter’s settings and make sure that you have included the docker-compose-host.yml file. Make also sure that you have defined the DEVSTACK_WORKSPACE environment variable correctly (i.e. to the root of your workspace where all repositories are checked out).

You can check which volumes are mounted on each docker container by using the Docker Tool Window. Please note that there is an unnecessary volume creation in the process that maps /opt/project to the local source file folder. You can safely ignore this unless you forgot to add the docker-compose-host.yml to the Configuration files in the setup above.

For info, the Docker Tool Window ( can help to see what’s happening:

  1. Click on the Docker/devstack instances and find your instance (for example Docker/devstack/lms/edx.devstack.lms)

  2. Select the Volume Bindings tab

  3. Make sure that the Container path and Host path are right. Normally you should have a line mapping /edx/app/edxapp/edx-platform to the related local source folder (i.e. often DEVSTACK_WORKSPACE/edx-platform).

Project Interpreter has no packages#

If you had added an interpreter that was working, but you can no longer see a list of packages for it under Preferences, you may need to refresh it.

One way to do this is to follow these instructions:

  1. Go to Preferences => Project Interpreter

  2. Click the “…” button to the right of the “Project interpreter:” drop-down, and choose “More…”.

  3. Click the Edit button (pencil icon) at the bottom for the broken interpreter, and then click OK on all dialogs, without making any edits.