The Python Rich Package: Unleash the Power of Console Text

The Python Rich Package: Unleash the Power of Console Text
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Python’s Rich package is a tool kit that helps you generate beautifully formatted and highlighted text in the console. More broadly, it allows you to build an attractive text-based user interface (TUI).

Why would you choose a TUI over a graphical user interface, or GUI? Sometimes a text display feels more appropriate. Why use a full-blown GUI for a simple application, when an elegant text interface will do? It can be refreshing to work with plain text. Text works in almost any hardware environment, even on an SSH terminal or a single-board computer display. And many applications don’t need the complexity of a full graphical windowing system.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how Rich can help you:

  • Enhance the user interface of command-line tools
  • Improve the readability of console output
  • Create attractive dashboard displays for real-time tabular data
  • Generate well-formatted reports

Will McGugan, the author of Rich, has also developed the Textual package. Whereas Rich is a rich-text tool kit, Textual is a full application framework built on Rich. It provides application base classes, an event-driven architecture, and more.

There’s a lot you can do with Rich on its own, and its support for engaging, dynamic displays may well be sufficient for your app. By following this tutorial, you’ll experiment with many of the cool features of Rich, and you’ll finish up by using your skills to build a dynamically scrolling tabular display of crypto prices:

To fully understand Rich’s syntax for animations, you should have a good grasp of context managers. But if you’re a bit rusty, don’t worry! You’ll get a quick refresher in this tutorial.

Installing Rich

You can start using Rich very quickly. As always when starting a new project or investigation, it’s best to create a virtual environment first, to avoid polluting your system’s Python installation.

It’s quite possible to install Rich and use it with the built-in Python REPL, but for a better developer experience, you may want to include support for Jupyter notebooks. Here’s how you can install Rich so that it’ll work with either the REPL or Jupyter:

Windows PowerShell
PS> python -m venv venv
PS> venv\Scripts\activate
(venv) PS> python -m pip install rich[jupyter]
$ python -m venv venv
$ source venv/bin/activate
(venv) $ python -m pip install "rich[jupyter]"

Now that you’ve installed Rich in your new virtual environment, you can test it and also get a nice overview of its capabilities:

(venv) $ python -m rich

Running this command will make lots of magic happen. Your terminal will fill with color, and you’ll see several options for customizing your text-based user interface:

Apart from displaying colorful text in a variety of styles, this demo also illustrates a few more of Rich’s exciting features.

You can wrap and justify text. You can easily display any Unicode characters, as well as a wide choice of emojis. Rich renders Markdown and offers a syntax for creating elegantly formatted tables.

There’s much more that you can do with Rich, as you’ll discover throughout this tutorial. You can also try some of the command-line demos that Rich has thoughtfully provided for its subpackages, so you can get a flavor of what each one can do without writing any code.

Here are a few that you can try from your OS console. Execute them one by one to get a feel for the power of Rich:

(venv) $ python -m rich.table
(venv) $ python -m rich.progress
(venv) $ python -m rich.status

Most of these demos are very short, but if necessary, you can always interrupt them with Ctrl+C.

With the installation done, you’re ready to start exploring Rich.

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November 27, 2023 at 07:30PM
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