Deploying to Google App Engine

Adding the twilio-python library to a Google App Engine project is a little tricky. Let’s walk you through one way to do it.

Laying Out Your Project

The key is to lay out your project in a way that makes sense.

  1. Create a project folder called twilio-demo. You can name the folder anything you like, but for the rest of this tutorial, we’ll assume it’s named twilio-demo. At the command line, add a virtualenv inside of that folder, by running:

    mkdir twilio-demo       # Creates a new twilio-demo folder
    cd twilio-demo          # Move into that folder
    virtualenv .            # Create a new virtual environment

    You should now have a directory structure that looks like this:

    ├── bin
    ├── include
    └── lib

    We’ll get to the Google App Engine part in a few steps.

  2. Now let’s install the twilio-python library in our Virtualenv. If your current working directory is twilio-demo, we want to source the activate file in the bin folder, then install the library with pip.

    source bin/activate     # Activate our virtual environment
    pip install twilio      # Install the twilio-python library
  3. Now let’s add a new folder called src. This is the folder that contains your app.yaml and your other Google App Engine files. You can add this at the command line. If your current directory is twilio-demo:

    mkdir src
  4. Create a basic app.yaml file in your src directory, per the instructions Google App Engine provides. Your folder structure should now look something like this:

    ├── bin
    │   ├── activate
    │   └── ... about 20 files
    ├── include
    │   └── python2.7 -> /path/to/system/python-2.7
    ├── lib
    │   └── python2.7       # This folder contains a bunch of files
    └── src
        ├── app.yaml
  5. Link the twilio-python library into your src directory. We are going to use a symbolic link. Google will pick this up and import the library into the correct place. In the terminal, run these three commands from the src directory inside twilio-demo:

    ln -s ../lib/python2.7/site-packages/twilio .
    ln -s ../lib/python2.7/site-packages/httplib2 .
    ln -s ../lib/python2.7/site-packages/ .

    This should create a symbolic link inside the src directory to the twilio-python module. You can test the link as follows. Inside the twilio-demo/src folder, create a file called and put this inside it:

    import webapp2
    import twilio
    class MainPage(webapp2.RequestHandler):
      def get(self):
          self.response.headers['Content-Type'] = 'text/plain'
          self.response.write("The twilio version is " + twilio.__version__)
    app = webapp2.WSGIApplication([('/', MainPage)],
  6. Finally, configure your app in Google App Engine and deploy it. Here are the settings you want in Google App Engine - Note the folder path ends with twilio-demo/src.

    Once App Engine is running locally, in your browser, you should be able to navigate to http://localhost + the provided Port and view the twilio library version number, as well as deploy your app to Google. Once you have this set up, adding more complicated actions using the twilio library should be a snap.

    Hope that helps! If you have questions, we’re always listening at