Edgewall Software

Developer setup for Trac

Installing the development tools

Before we begin to develop in Trac, or even download Trac code, we create a standalone Python environment.

Create a working directory

Create a working directory for your development to take place in. For example, on Unix you might have:


On Windows you might have:


Note: Don't create a directory called 'trac' yet. That comes later.

Get Subversion

This tutorial assumes you have Subversion (SVN) installed. If not, go to the Subversion website and follow the installation directions there.

Get Python

On Linux install Python using the package manager for your distribution. For example, on a distribution utilizing the Apt package manager (Debian, Ubuntu):

$ sudo apt-get install python

You will also need additional libraries:

$ sudo apt-get install python-subversion

On Windows, some of the available options are:

Mac OS X has Python pre-installed, but you probably want to install a newer version using a package manager such as Homebrew.

Get pip

You will already have pip installed with Python ≥ 2.7.9. If you are running an earlier version of Python, first check whether pip is already installed:

$ pip --version

Use get-pip.py if you need to install pip.

Get virtualenv

virtualenv is a tool to create isolated Python environments and allows you to test out Trac code or Python code in general without risk of data loss to the rest of your computer. You may already have virtualenv installed:

$ virtualenv --version

If you need to install virtualenv, or you wish to upgrade the package:

$ pip install -U virtualenv

You may need to prefix the command with sudo on Unix platforms.

Set up a virtual environment

From the command-line prompt type:

$ virtualenv pve
$ source pve/bin/activate

or for Windows:

# python -m virtualenv pve
# cmd /k Scripts\activate.bat

You will see your command-line prompt prefixed with (pve) or similar. That means you have entered the virtual environment and your environment is ready for Trac installation and development.

Upgrade dependencies

Upgrade the dependencies in your environment:

$ pip install -U pip setuptools wheel

Developing with Eclipse and PyDev

If you are planning to develop using the Eclipse IDE, you should also read the Development with Eclipse and PyDev page, after installing and configuring Trac in the next section.

Installing and configuring Trac

Download Trac

Get the Trac source code from one of the TracRepositories. For example, to checkout from Subversion using the command-line:

$ svn co https://svn.edgewall.org/repos/trac/trunk/ trac-trunk

Install the packages in development mode:

$ pip install -e trac-trunk

For Trac ≥ 1.3.2 you'll need Jinja2:

$ git clone https://github.com/pallets/jinja.git jinja2
$ pip install -e jinja2

Create a Trac environment

From the command-line prompt:

$ trac-admin tracenv initenv "TracDev" sqlite:db/trac.db

Grant full access to anonymous users

$ trac-admin tracenv permission add anonymous TRAC_ADMIN

Note: Don't do this in a production environment!

Install the TracDeveloperPlugin (optional)

$ svn co https://trac-hacks.org/svn/tracdeveloperplugin/trunk/ tracdeveloperplugin
$ pip install tracdeveloperplugin/

Start Trac in development mode

$ tracd -r -s --port 8000 tracenv

Note: The -r command puts Trac into refresh mode so your code changes will immediately take effect. See also the auto_reload option in trac.ini, which causes template changes to take effect immediately.

To run tracd or work in the virtual environment, you must switch to the virtual environment each time a new shell is opened:

$ cd /path/to/projects
$ source pve/bin/activate

Developing Plugins

To develop a plugin, checkout the source and install it in development mode using the command:

$ pip install -e /path/to/plugin/src

If you are experiencing trouble debugging Trac code, make sure that PYTHONPATH in project properties doesn't contain pointers to other Trac sources. Otherwise those sources will be used instead of the checked-out sources.

Open Trac in your browser

Switch to your browser and go to You should see the Trac landing page.

Now do the following:

  • Go to web admin
  • Click on Admin
  • Set logging:
    • Set type to console
    • Set level to debug

Alternative frontends

To develop on Trac with Apache rather than the standalone tracd, see the alternative frontends page for information on using Apache with mod_python and mod_wsgi.

Further guidelines

Check the milestones pages to see if there are any specific requirements for the version you are developing against. Specifically, for Trac 1.3.2+, you need Jinja2 2.9.3 or later. See milestone:1.3.2 for more information.

The (automated) tests will require additional packages that may or may not be installed with your OS/Python distribution.

Last modified 15 months ago Last modified on Mar 1, 2023, 9:26:12 AM
Note: See TracWiki for help on using the wiki.