Getting started

COMPAS FAB can be easily installed on multiple platforms, using popular package managers such as conda or pip.

Install with conda

The recommended way to install COMPAS FAB is with conda. For example, create an environment named project_name and install COMPAS and COMPAS FAB.

conda create -n project_name -c conda-forge compas_fab

Afterwards, simply activate the environment and run the following command to check if the installation process was successful.

conda activate project_name
python -m compas_fab
Yay! COMPAS FAB is installed correctly!

You are ready to use COMPAS FAB!

Installation options

Install COMPAS FAB in an environment with a specific version of Python.

conda create -n project_name python=3.8 compas_fab

Install COMPAS FAB in an existing environment.

conda install -n project_name compas_fab

Install with pip

Install COMPAS FAB using pip from the Python Package Index.

pip install compas_fab

Install an editable version from local source.

cd path/to/compas_fab
pip install -e .

Note that installation with pip is also possible within a conda environment.

conda activate project_name
pip install -e .


On Windows, you may need to install Microsoft Visual C++ 14.0.

Update with conda

To update COMPAS FAB to the latest version with conda

conda update compas_fab

To switch to a specific version

conda install compas_fab=0.28.0

Update with pip

If you installed COMPAS FAB with pip the update command is the following

pip install --upgrade compas_fab

Or to switch to a specific version

pip install compas_fab==0.28.0

Working in Rhino

To make COMPAS FAB available inside Rhino, open the command prompt, activate the appropriate environment, and type the following:

python -m compas_rhino.install

Open Rhino, start the Python script editor, type import compas_fab and run it to verify that your installation is working.

Making COMPAS FAB available in Rhino also installs a suite of Grasshopper components with COMPAS FAB functionality. See ROS in Grasshopper for an example.

Working in Blender

Once COMPAS itself is installed for Blender following the documented procedure, COMPAS FAB will automatically be available as well after installing it.

Working in Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code is a free and open source text editor with very good support for Python programming.

We recommend installing the following VS Code extensions:

  • Python

    Official extension to add support for Python programming, including debugging, auto-complete, formatting, etc.

  • Docker

    Add support for ``Dockerfile`` and ``docker-compose.yml`` files to VS Code.

  • EditorConfig

    Add support for ``.editorconfig`` files to VS Code.

To install the above extensions, open the Extensions view by clicking on the corresponding icon in the Activity Bar on the left side of VS Code and search the extension name in the search box. Once found, select it and click Install.

We recommend tweaking some of the default VS Code settings:

  • Python Linter:

    Select flake8 as your default python linter: open the Command Palette (Ctrl+Shift+P), type Python: Select Linter, select it and select flake8 from the list.

  • [Windows Only] Default Shell:

    Change the default shell from PowerShell to Command Prompt: open the Command Palette (Ctrl+Shift+P), type Select Default Shell, select it and from the options, select Command Prompt. Kill all opened terminals for it to take effect.

Run scripts

To run Python scripts from within VS Code, simply open the file and press F5. This will start the script with the debugger attached, which means you can add breakpoints (clicking on the gutter, next to the line numbers), inspect variables and step into your code for debugging.

Alternatively, use Ctrl+F5 to start the script without debugger.

Virtual environments

If you are using conda to manage your virtual environments, VS Code has built-in support for them. When a .py file is open on VS Code, the bottom right side of the Status bar will show the Python interpreter used to run scripts. Click on it and a list of all available interpreters including all environments will be shown. Select one, and the next time you run a script, the newly selected interpreter will be used.

Next Steps