Use Python iSort to Automagically Organize Imports within your Favorite Editor

$ "Please organize the imports" / "isort plz kthxbye"


isort (PyPI; GitHub) is a wonderful tool that will sort imports in Python automagically, so that you no longer have to either a) ignore eye-sores during code reviews, or b) sound like an angry grandparent asking people to sort/organize imports.

Quick Setup

If you know your away around the *nix environment, these are the abridged instructions:

  1. Make the isort binary available somewhere in your path.
  2. Install the isort plugin for the editor of your choice.
  3. Profit

NOTE: (Optional but recommended) Add a .isort.cfg file to your HOME directory, so that even you are working on a random script or project that doesn’t have one, the powers of isort are still available to you.

Drudgerous Line-by-Line Instructions (or my setup)

  1. If you don’t have one already, create a new system-wide Python virtualenv.
    1. The way I’d do that is to do: /path/to/bin/python/virtualenv ~/.venv
  2. Install isort.
    1. ~/.venv/bin/pip install isort
    2. (Generic command: /path/to/venv/pip install isort)
  3. Add the bin directory of your system-wide virtualenv to your path, or just the select binaries that you want.
    1. I have already added ~/bin/ to my path via bash-ftw, so my preference is to just symlink the specific binaries that I need.
    2. For convenience, I’ve symlinked the following:
      1. ln -s ~/.venv/bin/isort ~/bin/isort
      2. ln -s ~/.venv/bin/python3 ~/bin/python3
      3. ln -s ~/.venv/bin/pip ~/bin/pip
  4. Install an isort plugin for your editor (in my case, emacs, The best text editor in the world™).
    1. For emacs only:
      1. For EZMODE™, my dotemacs setup is on GitHub (just git clone, make install, and you’re set!)
      2. Add two lines to your dotemacs (typically ~/.emacs.el or ~/.emacs.elc, or somewhere in your Emacs load path):
        1. (require 'py-isort)
        2. (add-hook 'before-save-hook 'py-isort-before-save)
    2. No longer have to manually organize your Python imports anymore! The isort plugin will do it for you automatically whenever you save your file.

Thank You!

Thanks for reading; now go forth and write some awesome Python code!

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07 May 2020


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