While using IDLE or the Python Shell to write Python is nice for simple tasks, larger programming projects easily become frustrating pits of despair. Coding is more enjoyable when you use Python IDE or even just a decent dedicated code editor — but which one is best for you?
Do not be alarmed, Gentle Reader! We’re here to help you understand and decipher the plethora of options available to you. We can’t tell you which method is better for you or your process, but we can clarify the advantages and disadvantages of each and assist you in making an informed decision.
To make it simpler, we’ll divide our resources into two categories: those designed specifically for Python development and those designed for general development that can be used with Python. For each, we’ll give some Whys and Why Nots. Finally, since none of these choices are mutually exclusive, you can experiment with them on your own with little risk.
What Are Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) and Code Editors?
A Python IDE (or Integrated Development Environment) is a software development program. IDEs, as the name suggests, combine a number of resources that are specifically developed for software creation. Typical examples of these tools are as follows.
An editor that is made to work with code (with, for example, syntax highlighting and auto-completion)
Tools for creation, execution, and debugging
Source control of some kind
Most IDEs support a wide range of programming languages and provide a wealth of additional features. As a result, they might be big and take a long time to download and install. To use them properly, you will need specialized knowledge.
A dedicated code editor, on the other hand, can be as simple as a text editor with syntax highlighting and code formatting features. Most decent code editors can also monitor a debugger and execute code. The majority of them also work for source control systems. A good dedicated code editor is normally smaller and faster than a Python IDE, but it has fewer features.
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What Makes a Good Python Coding Environment?
So, what are the essential components of a coding environment? While feature lists differ from app to app, there are a few common ones that make coding easier:
Code files can be saved and loaded several times.
It’s not much of a Python IDE or editor if it won’t let you save your work and reopen it later in the same condition as when you left it.
Use the environment to run code.
Similarly, if you have to exit the editor in order to run your Python code, it’s nothing more than a plain text editor.
All IDEs and most decent code editors have the ability to step through the code while it runs as a standard feature.
Highlighting of syntax
Reading and recognizing code is much simpler when you can easily find keywords, variables, and symbols.
Code formatting is automatic.
Any decent editor or Python IDE can notice the colon at the end or for a statement and recognize that the following line should indent.
Of course, you will want additional features such as source code management, an extension model, create and test tools, language support, and so on. However, the features mentioned above are what I consider to be the “heart” features of a good editing environment.
Let’s take a look at some general-purpose Python development software with these features in mind.
Python Supported General Editors and IDEs
You’ve probably heard of Eclipse if you’ve spent some time in the open-source environment. Eclipse is the de-facto open-source Python IDE for Java development, and it’s available for Linux, Windows, and OS X. Eclipse has a robust marketplace of plugins and add-ons, making it suitable for a wide variety of development tasks.
PyDev, for example, provides Python debugging, code completion, and an interactive Python console. PyDev is simple to install in Eclipse: go to Help, Eclipse Marketplace, and check for PyDev. If Eclipse needs to be restarted, click Install.
IDLE is installed by default when you install Python. This makes learning Python very easy. The Python shell window (interactive interpreter), auto-completion, syntax highlighting, smart indentation, and a simple integrated debugger are among its key features.
IDLE is a good learning Python IDE because it’s light and easy to use. It is not, however, ideal for larger projects.
3. Sublime Text
Sublime Text is a well-known code editor that supports a variety of programming languages, including Python. It’s fast, flexible, and has a large user base.
When you install it, it comes with simple Python support. You should, however, install packages for debugging, auto-completion, code linting, and so on. Django, Flask, and other science creation packages are also available. Basically, Sublime Text can be customized to build a full-fledged Python development environment based on your requirements.
Sublime Text can be downloaded and used for an unspecified period of time. However, you can receive a pop-up message indicating that “you must purchase a license for continued use.”
4. The atom
Atom is a Github-developed open-source code editor that can be used for Python development (similar Sublime text).
It has many of the same features as Sublime Text. Atom is extremely adaptable. You can install packages according to your requirements. Autocomplete-python, linter-flake8, python-debugger, and other Python-related Atom packages include autocomplete-python, linter-flake8, and python-debugger.
When it comes to Python creation, I prefer Atom to Sublime Text.
Thonny is a Python-specific Python IDE with Python 3 pre-installed. You can start writing Python code once you’ve installed it.
Thonny is designed for those who are new to the game. Beginners can find it simple to get started because the user interface is kept simple.
Syntax error highlighting, a debugger, code completion, and step-by-step expression evaluation are only a few of the functions.
PyCharm is a professional development environment. JetBrains, a company known for producing excellent software development tools, developed it.
PyCharm is available in two versions:
Community — a lightweight, free open-source version that is ideal for Python and scientific development.
Professional — a paid edition of the Python IDE that includes support for Web growth.
PyCharm includes all of the essential features of a successful Python IDE, including code completion, code inspections, error highlighting and correction, debugging, a version control system, and code refactoring. Both of these features are included right out of the box.
7. Visual Studio Code
Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is a free and open-source Python IDE for Python development developed by Microsoft.
In Visual Studio Code, you can add extensions to build a Python development environment that meets your needs. Intelligent code completion, linting for possible bugs, debugging, unit testing, and other features are included.
VS Code is a small program with a lot of functionality. This is why it is gaining popularity among Python programmers.
Vim is a free text editor that comes pre-installed on Mac OS X and UNIX systems. You’ll need to download it if you’re using Windows.
Some programmers love Vim, its keyboard shortcuts, and extensibility, while others despise it.
Vim can be a useful tool for Python development if you already know how to use it. If you don’t already know Vim and its commands, you’ll need to spend some time studying them before you can use it with Python.
Vim may be used as a Python IDE by adding plugins for syntax highlighting, code completion, debugging, refactoring, and so on.
Only you can make the decision, but here are some general guidelines. New Python developers can experiment with solutions that need as little customization as possible. The fewer things that get in the way, the better. You can learn more about code editors and Python IDE through Python Training.