Python 2.7 stack, OpenCV 3, Visual Studio 2013

I’ve started working with Python (2.7 and 3.x) and OpenCV 3 recently, and the IPython Notebook way of working with inline plots is awesome. But the debugging, editing and some other features are not great when compared to working in a Visual Studio environment.

So now I’m trying Visual Studio 2013 as the IDE, OpenCV 3, and Python 2.7 via the numerical and scientific WinPython stack.

I extracted OpenCV and WinPython to:

  • My Documents\OpenCV
  • My Documents\WinPython-32bit-

From VS2013 I then installed Python Tools for Visual Studio (PTVS).. I did this within VS2013 using the Extensions and Tools dialog.

Finally I configured a new Python Environment:


From an Interactive Window I can then check everything works as expected. First, Open CV3:

Python interactive window. Type $help for a list of commands.
import cv2

Next up, NumPy and a MatPlotLib chart:

import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
x = np.linspace(0, np.pi * 2, 100)
y = np.sin(x)
plt.plot(x, y)

This gives us a popup (model) window:


Now to make it a bit more interesting – inline plots.. ! The Python Interactive Window has options for the Interactive mode:


The default Interactive Mode is Standard but we can change this to IPython:


After restarting VS2013 we can now go inline…


And lastly an OpenCV 3 test:

In [4]: import cv2
In [5]: img = cv2.imread(r"C:\Users\jon\Pictures\Samples\eye.jpg", 0)
In [6]: plt.imshow(img, cmap='gray')
Out[6]: <matplotlib.image.AxesImage at 0x5b8e510>


In [34]: blur = cv2.medianBlur(img, 91)
In [35]: plt.imshow(blur, cmap='hot')
Out[35]: <matplotlib.image.AxesImage at 0x1edea7d0>


The great thing is I can now move this code into a Python project, get it into git, distribute among colleagues, and use the excellent intellisense and debugging powers of PTVS ! (Obviously not this actual code !)

JSON editing in Visual Studio 2013 – tip!

Just installed VS2013 on a clean Windows 10 virtual machine, noticed I wasn’t getting the same JSON editing experience I had on my previous VS2013 installation. The colour coding and auto-completion features were missing.

Solved the problem by modifying the installation and including the Microsoft Web Developer Tools:


Now the editor uses colour coding, auto-completes the various brackets, and highlights errors.

OS X: IPython Notebooks on an an external drive with Anaconda

Anaconda, running on El Capitan, only provides access to files and folders under the current user’s home directory.


My Dropbox folder lives on an external drive and therefore isn’t accessible from the folder list. (I actually use a slimline 128 GB JetDrive card from Transcend.. fast enough for my 100+ GB of Dropbox files).

The solution was to create a symbolic link in my Documents folder which referenced the external Dropbox folder.

$ ln -s /Volumes/SDCARD/Dropbox ~/Documents/DB

From Anaconda’s perspective this looks like any other folder: