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10 Best Python IDE & Code Editors [Updated Guide]
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Launched in 1991 by its creator Guido van Rossum, Python is one of the main programming languages used to automate specific repetitive tasks. The language has evolved enormously with the contribution of many developers/programmers. If you are new to programming, it is recommended to start with Python. Python interpreters are available on several operating systems such as Linux, macOS, and Windows.
Python is a versatile language, which means that it can be used in many applications ranging from Blender (3D modeling software) to web development. You can write Python code using a shell or shell for small projects. However, if you want to work on larger projects, we recommend using a dedicated code editor or an integrated development environment (IDE). Each Python IDE or code editor differs from the other regarding its features, user interface, and so forth. We have mentioned some majorly used ones as recommended by the Python community.
Before moving ahead, let us first see what IDEs and code editors are and the requirements for a good Python coding environment.
What are IDEs and Code Editors?
Whether you are new to this game or you are a veteran player, you need an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) or a code editor to showcase your coding skills and talent. An IDE is a software that consists of common developer tools into a single user-friendly GUI (Graphical User interface). An IDE majorly consists of a source code editor for writing software code, local build automation for creating a local build of the software like compiling computer source code. Lastly, it has a debugger, a program for testing other programs. An IDE can have many more features apart from these & those vary for each IDE.
Code editors are also software; it is like a text editor with some added functionalities. It is not an IDE as an IDE has many developer tools. Depending upon the language one codes on the editor, it highlights special keywords and gives some suggestions. Sublime Text, Atom, Visual Studio Code are some of the popular code editors.
Requirements for a Good Python Coding Environment
We have listed some major and standard features and requirements required by every project in its build phase and after. A project can have more requirements than mentioned below, but these are the basic ones, and IDE must possess.
- Save and Reload Source Code
An IDE or editor must save your work and reopen everything later, in the same state it was in when you left, thus saving time for development.
- Execution from Within the Environment
It should have a built-in compiler to execute your code. If you are not executing it in the same software, then probably it is a text editor.
- Debugging Support
The debugger in most IDEs provides stepping through your code and applying breakpoints for the code's partial execution.
- Syntax Highlighting
Being able to spot keywords, variables quickly, and symbols in your code make reading and understanding code much easier.
- Automatic Code Formatting
This is an interesting feature; the code indents itself as the developer uses loops, functions, or any other block code.
10 Best Python IDE & Python Code Editors
To help you choose your Best Python IDE, we have compiled a list of some of the popular Python IDE. Based on functionality, the number of users, and positive feedback from each user's experience, here is the list:
Eclipse is an integrated development environment (IDE) historically designed for the Java language. Still, thanks to a system of plugins or extensions, it can be used with other programming languages, including C/C++ and PHP. Pydev is a plugin that allows Eclipse to be used as a Python IDE that also supports Jython and IronPython. Pydev uses advanced inference techniques to provide elements such as code completion and code analysis. The IDE also provides the following features: debugger, Django, an interactive console, basic syntax highlighting, code coverage, etc.
Pydev is free, platform-independent, and promotes excellent integrity with the Eclipse universe. Thanks to the efforts of the developers and the evolution of technology, python development has become almost comparable to Java development on Eclipse, making the experience much more impressive and exceptional.
- Easy to learn and also includes several features (CPython, Jython, IronPython).
- It provides with Pydev plugin to code in Python on Eclipse.
- Code Completion and Code Analysis.
- User interfaces not very enriching.
Official website: https://www.jetbrains.com/pycharm/
Pycharm is an integrated development environment developed by JetBrains. It stands out from the competition because of its productivity tools, such as quick fixes. Available in three versions, the Apache-licensed Community version, the Educational (Edu) version, and the proprietary Professional version. The first two versions are open source and therefore free of charge, while the Professional version is paid
The Community version is very interesting because it has different features such as syntax highlighting, auto-completion, and live code verification. The paid version has more advanced features such as full database management and a multitude of more important Frameworks than the community version such as Django, Flask, Google App, Engine, Pyramid, and web2py.
- Active community support.
- Live code verification and syntax highlighting feature available.
- Executes edits and debugs Python code without any external requirements.
- Slow loading time.
- The default setting may require adjustment before existing projects can be used.
3. Sublime Text
Official website: http://www.sublimetext.com/
Type: Python Text editor
First conceived as an extension for Vim, Sublime Text is a generic text editor coded in C++ and Python. Since version 2.0, this software supports 44 major programming languages, including Python. It was first published in 2007, and Jon Skinner developed it. To create this software, Jon Skinner has adopted three principles:
- Discreet, minimal interface: we must be able to focus on the text and not a myriad of toolbars;
- The windows do not hide the text;
- Use as much space as possible: full screen, multi-screen, side-by-side file editing should be possible.
Once you have installed Sublime Text as a Python IDE thanks to the different plugins and packages, you get high quality and powerful IDE that allows you to develop very easily in Python. It incorporates most of the features of a basic Python text editor, including customizable syntax highlighting.
- Fast with very few bugs (significant advantage).
- Capable of opening large files.
- It offers support for many languages.
- Difficult to modify, everything goes through JSON.
- License required.
4. Visual Studio Code
Official website: https://code.visualstudio.com
Developed by Microsoft for Windows Linux and OS, VS Code is an extensible code editor not to be confused with Visual Studio. Indeed VS Code is small but complete, and the software is open source under MIT license; this is what characterizes the difference between Visual Studio and VS Code. The first version of the VS Code was published on April 29, 2015. VS Code is comparable to Atom in terms of functionality. Indeed, just like Atom, VS Code is built on Electron, which means that these two programs have almost the same advantages and disadvantages.
VS Code is Microsoft's project, with the highest number of contributors on GitHub. This initiative has boosted Microsoft's notoriety and positioned it as one of the major players in community software. You can add a new language to the environment, such as Python, in this case. Simply download and install the corresponding plugin to adapt it to the environment. Vs. Code is enhanced with features such as the integration of a powerful code auto-completion engine (IntelliSense), a debugging console, and a terminal to launch server commands.
VS Code is well designed overall, and its main advantage is that it offers an extension-based architecture. Because the IDE is lightweight, it can be extended by adding successive components as needed.
- More than 4700 extensions
- A powerful code management engine
- On-demand import of keyboard shortcuts from other Python editors such as Sublime Text or Atom
- Difficulty to find the extension that best suits your needs due to the thousands of extensions available
Official website: https://www.vim.org
Type: Text editor
Vim is a text editor, an editor allowing the manipulation of text files. Its source code was first published in 1991 by Bram Moolenaar, its main developer. Since then, the software has evolved and been improved by its developer and also by the contribution of the developer community. Vim differs from most other python text editors in its modal mode of operation, note that Vim has three basic modes: insert mode, normal or command mode and command line mode.
Vim is free software and is largely customizable by adding extensions or modifying its configuration file, which means that you can very easily adapt it for development in Python. This software includes a multitude of features such as multi-buffers that support simultaneous file editing, automatic indentation adapted to the language, and many others. To download Vim, simply click on this link https://www.vim.org/download.php.
- Software is feature-rich and provides a good user experience with community support.
- Recognition and conversion of file formats (UNIX, MS-DOS or Mac)
- Not enough innovative features.
Official website: https://www.gnu.org
Type: Text editor
Created in 1976 by Richard Stallman, Emacs (Editing MACroS running on TECO) is a family of text editors with an extensible set of features. This free software is very popular with the developer community.
Richard Stallman insisted on the fact that the software must be completely free and customizable without any restriction in programming. After a few years, many versions of Emacs have appeared, including GNU Emacs, initiated by Richard Stallman in 1984 and XEmacs launched in 1991. GNU Emacs uses a powerful extension language called Emacs Lisp that supports advanced tasks such as writing, compiling programs, surfing the Internet, reading email, and discussion forums.
This software is available for free download and is available on all platforms. GNU Emacs uses various customization scripts for development in several languages, including Python.
For Python development, you can use the Elpy extension on Emacs to work with Python projects. This software is very feature-rich, among its many features, some are highlighting of syntax to differentiate document elements such as keywords and comments; Automatic indentation to have consistent formatting in a file, etc.
- Free and fully customizable software.
- Automatic insertion of elements required by the document structure, such as spaces, newlines, and brackets;
- 24-bit color encoded support for the terminals supporting it
- Not easy to use for beginners in programming.
Official website: https://atom.io/
Atom includes most of the functionalities of a basic IDE. Among its features are syntax highlighting and auto-completion. Atom's developers are working on the integration of major programming languages such as Rust or Go. Atom is making progress in improving its performance, and developers are extremely attentive to the needs and opinions of the community, striving to make the user experience more rewarding. There are improvements in the waiting time for opening the software and small improvements in the time required for important calculations to reduce latency.
One of the reasons that have contributed to the Atom's success is its fully customizable interface. Everything can be changed, from the interface to the basic functions. On the other hand, this rather advantageous initiative is also one of the problems at the root of the program's latency. But overall, Atom remains a very practical and functional IDE, and we look forward to program updates.
- Fully customizable interface.
- Well documented.
- It offers almost everything VS Code has to offer.
- Excessive RAM consumption.
- Further improvements are needed in system latency and optimization.
- Not suitable for handling large code files
Official website: https://docs.python.org/3/library/idle.html
Integrated Development and Learning Environment is an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) released in December 1998 by Guido Van Rossum for Python development. It is a simple IDE and thus is suitable for beginners. It consists of a multi-window text editor with syntax highlighting and integrated debugger with stepping, persistent breakpoints, and call stack visibility.
- It can be used to execute a single statement.
- It can be used to create, modify, and execute Python scripts.
- It offers features like syntax highlighting, auto-completion & smart indent.
- It has a debugger with stepping & breakpoint features.
- IDLE is not available by default in python distribution for Linux.
- It needs a respective package manager for installation.
Official website: https://github.com/spyder-ide/spyder
Named Pydee in its first versions, Spyder was created by Pierre Raybaut in 2008. It is cross-platform and under non-copyleft license (its author releases Non-copyleft free software with permission to redistribute and modify it). Since 2012, it is the Python scientific community that has been maintaining Spyder thanks to their contribution.
Spyder has basic features such as syntax highlighting and auto-completion and also integrates many scientific use libraries such as Matplotlib, Numpy, IPython, Scipy. It is open-source and free of charge, and also installation is very easy thanks to the Python package manager.
It offers a unique combination of advanced analysis, debugging, editing, interactive execution, in-depth inspection, and visualization capabilities of a scientific software package. These main components are the interactive console, the documentation viewer, the variable explorer, and development tools.
- It offers great community support.
- Rich in development tool features.
- Complete documentation.
- Execution dependencies.
- Optional dependencies.
Official website: https://thonny.org
Thonny is an integrated development environment (IDE). Developed by the University of Tartu in Estonia, this software has been designed mainly to make life easier for beginners in Python by providing them with a simple, lightweight IDE. Still, with excellent features, it is a bit like the beginner's kit. This software is therefore particularly suitable for beginners who wish to start programming and development in Python and is therefore not at all suitable for development experts.
The user interface is isolated from all features that may distract beginners. It is a well-thought-out pedagogical course for beginners who want to develop in Python quickly, easily, and simply.
- IDE adapted for beginners' learning.
- Basic and functional user interface.
- It does not require a large amount of memory to run.
- If you are an experienced developer, this software is certainly not for you.
- It offers only basic functionalities.
How to choose the best Python IDE in 2020?
For beginners, there are a lot of IDEs with basic features allowing you to discover this environment and become familiar with each feature before moving on to the next level. For experienced developers, the choice of your IDE should be based on the performance and advanced features of IDEs for large projects.
|Free Python IDE||Python IDE for Mac||Python IDE for Windows|
Python is one of the most popular languages and perhaps even the most popular. As with most major languages, you have a multitude of useful, practical, and powerful IDEs, whether they are paid or free.
If you are a beginner in Python, then the Complete Python Bootcamp course is a great course to start your beginner to expert Python developer journey.
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Share with us in the comments section: What is your Best Python IDE, and why?