Python coding software is arguably one of the best tools available for aspiring coders. Python is recommended for beginner programmers because of its popularity, and also it is relatively easy to learn. Python is a versatile scripting language that can be used for automating tasks, for example, powering major sites like Google, Instagram, Netflix and many more. Among the strongest points of the language is that it is portable, which means that you can run Python code on any operating system.
Python is an interpreted language, so you do not need a compiler to write and run Python code. This saves the long waiting times for large software projects to be compiled. Python also has an extensive standard library with pre-written code for many common programming tasks. The programmer does not need to code everything from scratch. Having said that, it is clear that every programmer, especially the absolute beginner, should be familiar with Python. The majority of the available Python coding software is free and open-source, meaning that anyone can contribute to the development.
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Why use an IDE when coding?
When coding in Python, it’s easier to use an IDE (integrated development environment) than you might think. An IDE can provide a number of features that can make coding more efficient, such as syntax highlighting, code completion, and debugging tools. One of the benefits of using an IDE is that it can help you avoid syntax errors. Python is a very strict language, and even a tiny syntax error can cause your code to fail. Using an IDE will prevent these types of errors because the IDE will spellcheck your code before you even try to run it.
Python IDEs can also help you manage your code better by providing features like version control, collaborative work, continuous integration, unit testing and more. Overall, Python coding software can help you be more successful in writing Python code. If you are struggling with Python coding, consider using an IDE to help you be more productive and efficient.
Four advantages of using an IDE as your Python coding software
1. Syntax highlighting
Python coding software offers syntax highlighting, which can be extremely helpful when coding. The Python language has a concrete syntax, and the syntax highlighting feature in Python coding software will help you see the different elements of the code more clearly. This can be especially helpful when you start learning Python coding, as it can be challenging to keep track of all the different syntax rules. Having the Python coding software highlight the specific code structures can help you keep track of what you are doing and avoid making mistakes.
2. Code autocompletion
When coding in Python, using an IDE with code autocomplete can make things a lot easier. With autocomplete, you can quickly and easily find the Python functions and classes you need without having to search through documentation or examples. This can save you a lot of time and frustration and help you write code more efficiently. Furthermore, an IDE can help you format your code so that it is more readable and easier to understand.
Debuggers are a must-have tool for any programmer at any experience level. They allow you to step through your code line by line and see what is happening as it runs. This can be invaluable when trying to track down errors, which are an inevitable part of a programmer’s life. There are a number of different debuggers available for Python, but among the most popular ones is the Python Debugger (pdb). This debugger is included with the Python standard library, so you don’t need to install anything extra to use it. There are other dedicated debuggers, such as the one available in PyScripter, illustrated below.
I have set three checkpoints at each of my function calls. The debugger executes the code until the first checkpoint and stops. Then it proceeds to the next checkpoint and so on either until a problem is detected or the code exits successfully and there are no errors.
4. Plugins and extra features
Many Python IDEs come with various features and plugins that can extend the IDE’s functionality. This is not necessarily the case when using a simple text editor. PyScripter comes with practically all the extensions that you might need. Built-in are popular tools like PyLint, TabNanny and Profile. There is a full-fledged Python interpreter where one can run small snippets of code before incorporating them into the main code, for example.
Overall, using an IDE can make Python coding more effortless and more successful. If you are having trouble with Python coding, consider using an IDE to help you.
Two potential problems with Python coding software
1. Being slow and unresponsive on older machines.
If you want to get your work done, you do not want to sit and wait for basic tasks to get done, nor do you want to risk losing your work. PyScripter is a lightweight full-fledged IDE with low resource requirements, meaning that it will run smoothly on old computers, too. You can see on the screenshot below that it only needs about 50 MB of RAM for my project.
2. Difficult to use if you’re not using a Python-specific IDE
Software that is bloated with features that you will never need is putting an unnecessary strain on your computer. Also, if the IDE is not Python-specific, it might lack features. As the name implies, PyScripter is designed for Python only and hence, it does not come with unwanted modules. It gives you the best that you need but spares you the redundant features.
Python is an excellent language for beginners to learn because it is easy to read and understand. Python also has a very active community that can help you with any questions you may have. With the right tools, it is easy to advance and dive into real-life projects. Python coding software is a must-have for beginners with the additional features that an ordinary text editor simply cannot provide. If you need a guide on how to get started coding in Python, check out this post.