Using PostgreSQL on PythonAnywhere

You use PythonAnywhere to do the exercises for this course. Follow their instructions to create a free/beginner account. You should not need anything beyond the free account for this account.

You can view a video walkthrough of this handout.

Running Linux Commands in the Shell

Once you have created your PythonAnywhere account and logged in go to "Consoles" and create a new Bash console - or simply go back into one of your consoles if you have one running. Free accounts only get two consoles so you do want to reuse them whenever you can.

An open console on PythonAnywhere

You are using the Linux Bash command line. It is like Windows Command Prompt or Apple Terminal program. Many of the demonstrations in this course are done using the Apple Terminal program and the exact same commands will work in the Linux shell.

At the '$' prompt you can type some Linux commands:

You can also edit files and make folders using the "Files" feature in the PythonAnywhere user interface.

Running PostgreSQL Commands in the Shell

The PostgreSQL client software (psql) is already installed on PythonAnywhere (thanks!) so no installation step is needed. You can just run the commands directly. When you go into an assignment on this site it gives you your connection details and even the psql command to run:

Port:     5432 
Database: pg4e_8aaa5842b6 
User:     pg4e_8aaa5842b6 
Password:  (hide/show copy)

psql -h -p 5432 -U pg4e_8aaa5842b6 pg4e_8aaa5842b6

You can copy the psql command into the shell and run it. You will then be prompted for a password which you can copy into the clipboard without showing it in the assignment and then pasting it into the PythonAnywhere shell when psql asks for your password.

Once you enter your password, you can run psql commands and SQL commands.

An open console on PythonAnywhere

In this example, we type several commands:

You will learn many SQL and psql commands throughout the rest of this course.

Editing Files on PythonAnywhere

There are three ways to edit files in your PythonAnywhere environment, ranging from the easiest to the coolest. You only have to edit the file one of these ways.

(1) Go to the main PythonAnywhere dashboard, browse files, navigate to the correct folder and edit your file.


(2) Or in the command line:

cd ~
nano lesson1.sql

Save the File by pressing 'CTRL-X', 'Y', and Enter

(3) Don't try this most difficult and most cool way to edit files on Linux without a helper if it is your first time with the vi text editor.

cd ~
vi lesson1.sql

The vi (or vim) editor is a very powerful text editor that is very well liked by a large fraction (but by no means all) software developers. You can take a look a the "How to Use Vim - Tutorial" from Free Code Camp.

Vi starts in command mode where you can move around the document using the cursor keys. To edit the file you can and press the i key to go into 'INSERT' mode, then type your new text and press the esc key when you are done. To save the file in command mode, you type :wq followed by enter. If you get lost press escape :q! enter to get out of the file without saving.

If you aleady know some other command line text editor in Linux, you can use it to edit files. In general, you will find that it often quicker and easier to make small edits to files in the command line rather than a full screen UI. And once you start deploying real applications in production environments like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, etc.. all you will have is command line.