In addition to starting this blog, I wanted to build some small projects to get some experience with technologies I am not currently using at work. Since I’m currently using Django at work, I decided to create a small Grocery List application using Flask and DynamoDB. You can find the repo and installation info here.

I ran into two major issues when trying to create the application:

First, I tried to set things up without a virtual environment for Python, which caused errors with libraries not pointing to the correct locations. I thought that since this was the only application I’d have on the server, a virtual environment wouldn’t be as important. I realize now there is a big upside to separating your application Python install from your system Python install. I highly recommend setting up a virtual environment for your Python app whether it be virtualenv, conda, or something else even if you only intend it to be the only app on a system.

Second, I didn’t understand how to set up virtual hosts with Apache when I started this project. Getting this blog, the front page of the grocery list app, and the Flask API all routed correctly and running simultaneously took me a few hours to figure out. Two things that seemed to be required to get this all running (otherwise, I was getting the top root folder serving up on all subdomains):

‘NameVirtualHost *:80’ at the top of the file and the port number (80) in this line for each of the host definitions: ‘<VirtualHost *:80>’. See link below for that line in context.

As I was working through the issues, I created this thread for help on reddit:

I almost posted to, but I ended up figuring things out as I was creating a post.