An integrated development environment (IDE) is a software application that provides comprehensive facilities to computer programmers for software development. As the name implies, IDEs integrate several tools specifically designed for software development.
These tools usually include:
- An editor designed to handle code (with, for example, syntax highlighting and auto-completion)
- Build, execution, and debugging tools
- Some form of source control
Python IDEs are applications which can be used for developers building software with the Python programming language. IDEs are vital tools in software development because they allow developers to start programming new applications quickly as multiple utilities don't need to be manually configured and integrated as part of the setup process. This speed can help to lower the cost of overall development for a business and the automation and debugging capabilities lead to cleaner, more accurate code.
In this article, we’ll explore the best Python IDEs, what they are and what they can help you achieve in your software development. By the time you’ve read to the end, you’ll be able to identify the best tools to help you build an excellent Python code application, and the different use cases for various integrated development environments.
Python has been used in development services for almost 30 years, and it is one of the most dynamically growing languages today. It is also known for being one of the most versatile software development technologies, and that is down in part to the great number of IDEs available to use with Python, including:
Python IDLE (Integrated Development and Learning Environment), is included in Python installations on Windows and Mac. If you’re a Linux user, then you should be able to find and download Python IDLE using your package manager. Once you’ve installed it, you can then use Python IDLE as an interactive interpreter or as a file editor.
Source: Getting Started With Python IDLE
IDLE is written in Python and is ideal for novice developers who want to improve with Python development. It’s lightweight and easy to use, so you can build simple projects such as web browser games, basic web scraping applications, and office automation programs.
Thonny is also designed for beginners writing in Python. It supports different ways of stepping through the code, step-by-step expression evaluation, detailed visualization of the call stack and a mode for explaining the concepts of references and heap.
Source: Thonny, Python IDE for beginners
Thonny is great because it’s free and simple to use, but also has a number of features which make it useful for full Python development projects. You can see why your code breaks with a built-in debugger assistant that highlights errors and suggests improvements.
Atom is an open source text editor developed by engineers at GitHub. A text editor is crucial to both writing and documenting great code, and Atom comes with a dedicated pluggable Python compiler and can be set up as a Python IDE.
Atom creates packages that add to its hackable core, which provide features like auto-complete, code lines, and code highlighters. Atom’s plugins help to streamline the Python development process by extending core functionality, and it’s easy for developers to customize aspects of Atom to their own requirement.
Eric is a full featured Python editor and IDE, written in Python. It is designed as a full-featured, everyday code editor but can also be used as a professional project management tool. Eric is widely used, providing a full complement of development features, and is great for projects such as web applications and scientific research.
Source: The Eric Python IDE
Eric includes a plug-in system, meaning you can extend functionality with downloaded plug-ins from the net, and is compatible with many other programming languages, making it a highly flexible and versatile tool for Python development.
The Wing Python IDE family of integrated development environments from Wingware was created specifically for the Python programming language, with support for editing, testing, debugging, inspecting/browsing, and error checking Python code.
Source: Wing Python IDE
Wing works well on multi-process, multi-thread programs and supports remote debugging. The editor is also versatile and very popular with developers for its high functionality. It has VI and emacs mode and is extensible with Python scripts. WIng also has excellent support.
Sublime Text is a commonly-used text editor used to write Python code. Sublime Text's slick user interface along with its numerous extensions for syntax highlighting, source file finding and analyzing code metrics make the editor more accessible to new programmers than some other applications like Vim and Emacs.
Source: Sublime Text
Sublime Text is known for its speed, ease of use and strong community support, making it a great tool for beginner developers or those working to tight project deadlines. An additional bonus of using Sublime Text as a Python developer is that plugins are written in Python. Python developers can extend Sublime Text with their own programming language rather than learn a new language.
PyDev is a third-party plug-in for Eclipse, which is an Integrated Development Environment used for programming in Python. PyDev supports code refactoring, graphical debugging, code analysis among other features.
PyDev is beloved by Python developers because it is free, simple to get started with and provides code completion tools and advanced analysis which streamline the development process and make programmers’ lives easier. It also offers interactive consoles, code coverage, and basic syntax highlighting.
Spyder is a cross-platform IDE which has been maintained by the Python community since 2012. Part of the benefit of using Spyder is its unique combination of advanced analysis, editing, debugging, interactive execution, and in-depth inspection.
This offers developers advanced visualization capabilities, such as interactive consoles, documentation views, variable explorers, and other development tools as well as strong community support. Spyder is an excellent tool for data science, engineering and analysis.
PyCharm is one of the most popular Python IDEs. This is because it comes with multiple modules, packages, and tools to empower faster Python development while cutting down the effort required to write great code. PyCharm can be customized to any development requirement, and features graphical debugging, integrated unit testing, integration support for version control systems and support for data science.
Python helps developers build Python plug-in and provides a customizable user interface which can be adapted depending on the needs of the development project. PyCharm is developed by JetBrains, and helps developers write maintainable code, keep control of the quality with PEP8 checks, testing assistance, smart refactorings, and a host of inspections and offers intelligent code completion, on-the-fly error checking and quick-fixes, easy project navigation, and much more.
Visual Studio Code
Visual Studio Code is an open-source, extensible, light-weight editor available on all platforms. It works on Linux, Mac and WIndows, making it easily accessible across all platforms, and it includes syntax highlighting, code completion, object definition, refactoring, and code navigation abilities.
Source: Visual Studio Code
Last but not the least. Vim is shorthand of “Vi - Improved” as vim and an extended version of Vi editor. Vim has a famous philosophy “Developers are more productive when they avoid taking their hands off the keyboard. ” It gives a wonderful thrill to developers who fall in love with the terminal and hate to move their hands off the keyboard.
Source: Full Stack Python, Vim
Vim enables developers to edit and debug code on Linux server machines where there is no choice for UI. It supports various plugins which can be configured to enhance the vim as a Python IDE. Learn more about configuring where “Vim and Python a match made in heaven”.
Ready to use Python IDEs?
With so many options to help enhance your Python application development, it’s easy for anyone to get started, but these IDEs also help experienced developers and programmers streamline their processes when writing code and maintaining software.
With features ranging from syntax highlighting, code editors, smart code navigation and smart code completion to data science functionality and integrated debugger tools, these IDEs contain essential tools to optimize your Python development and ensure you release the best possible application to your customers.
Whether you’re starting with IDLE or taking advantage of the full features of PyCharm, it can be difficult to know which IDE suits the needs of your specific project. If you’re still unsure after reading this article, get in touch with Netguru today. We have a team of expert Python developers who are happy to help with any project requirements.