CodeOcelot CodeOcelot - 1 month ago 12
Python Question

"ImportError: No module named" when trying to run Python script

I'm trying to run a script that launches, amongst other things, a python script. I get a ImportError: No module named ..., however, if I launch ipython and import the same module in the same way through the interpreter, the module is accepted.

What's going on, and how can I fix it? I've tried to understand how python uses PYTHONPATH but I'm thoroughly confused. Any help would greatly appreciated.

Answer

This issue arises due to the ways in which the command line IPython interpreter uses your current path vs. the way a separate process does (be it an IPython notebook, external process, etc). IPython will look for modules to import that are not only found in your sys.path, but also on your current working directory. When starting an interpreter from the command line, the current directory you're operating in is the same one you started ipython in. If you run

import os
os.getcwd() 

you'll see this is true.

However, let's say you're using an ipython notebook, run os.getcwd() and your current working directory is instead the folder in which you told the notebook to operate from in your ipython_notebook_config.py file (typically using the c.NotebookManager.notebook_dir setting).

The solution is to provide the python interpreter with the path-to-your-module. The simplest solution is to append that path to your sys.path list. In your notebook, first try:

import sys
sys.path.append('my/path/to/module/folder')

import module-of-interest

If that doesn't work, you've got a different problem on your hands unrelated to path-to-import and you should provide more info about your problem.

The better (and more permanent) way to solve this is to set your PYTHONPATH, which provides the interpreter with additional directories look in for python packages/modules. Editing or setting the PYTHONPATH as a global var is os dependent, and is discussed in detail here for Unix or Windows.

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