Installing and managing packages

Defining your runtime environment is critical if you would like others to be able to reuse your work. To achieve this, it is necessary to manage the software libraries that are needed for your code to execute. In Renku, we rely on existing conventions for specifying the execution environment.

In Python, the requirements.txt file is a standard way to specify the required libraries. When you created your project, an empty requirements.txt was also created — find it in the file browser of your JupyterLab session by clicking on the root button (1), then double-click the file (2) to open the editor. For the tutorial, we will need the pandas and seaborn libraries. We will require specific versions to ensure that the same environment can be recreated in the future. Enter the following into the requirements.txt file on the right (3)


and save it:

Configuring Python package dependencies

Going back to the same terminal session as before, we can now install these packages with pip:

$ pip install -r requirements.txt

Installing collected packages: numpy, pytz, pandas
Successfully installed numpy-1.20.2 pandas-1.2.3 pytz-2021.1

In Julia, the Project.toml file specifies package dependencies of the project. An empty Project.toml file is already in the project directory when creating the project.

The easiest way to add packages to a project is to use the Pkg API. You can either use the terminal (2) or start a new Julia Jupyter notebook to run the following pattern (3):

using Pkg


This adds the ZipFile package.

Configuring Julia package dependencies

This change will be reflected in the Project.toml file, as below.

Viewing Julia package dependencies

You can also specify the version of a particular package, as follows.

Pkg.add(name="Example", version="0.3.1")

In R, users may be familiar with running the install.packages function in the console. To create a reproducible environment for each time your session opens, we will specify the necessary packages in the install.R file. We will demonstrate this with the tidyverse package. Simply enter the following in that file.


Save the file and return to the console in order to run it with

R -f install.R

To add more packages for more complex projects, simply add the required install.packages commands to a new line in the install.R file.

Saving package additions

Make sure to save these additions to the repository. This can be done with the renku save command from the Terminal:

$ renku save -m 'updated packages'

Successfully saved to branch master:


Make sure that you update the requirements.txt, Project.toml or install.R file after you install new packages. This ensures that the packages needed to work on your project will be available to your peers when collaborating on a project.

When an updated requirements.txt, Project.toml or install.R file is pushed to RenkuLab, RenkuLab will rebuild the software stack used for sessions. If you shut down a session, the next time you start a new one, the packages specified in the respective specification file will already be available.