Python has earned its spot among the most popular programming languages, and developers are constantly looking for more advanced functionality in Python programming software. Modern programs written in Python often consist of multiple source code files, so it is highly recommended to use an integrated development environment (IDE) to design, code and run your software. IDEs provide efficient ways of producing elegant results with less effort.
A modern IDE is designed to help software developers write code by providing them with a variety of options. This can include things like code snippets, auto-completion, graphical debugging, syntax highlighting and a whole lot more. A modern IDE is more than a graphical editor that allows you to create, edit, run, and debug programs graphically. We have previously discussed the features that every IDE must have and what are some of the recommended ones to download. Modern features include code suggestions, collaborative work, unit testing, advanced debugging features, continuous integration to a repository hosted on a cloud service and code profiling.
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Syntax highlight and closing brackets are important but in the 2020s programmers are in the search for more advanced features. A modern IDE supports code IntelliSense – a set of features to assist the developer such as code completion, information about the function and code hinting. Even good programmers end up forgetting syntax. An IDE like PyScripter shows popups as code is typed in, explaining in detail what is the purpose of the function and what argument it takes. This saves lots of time since the developer does not need to waste time searching the Python documentation and making countless Google searches.
The Kite plugin goes one step further. It runs AI-powered code autocompletion for even faster coding. Code snippets are pre-built code blocks that you can use in your program. They make coding more efficient as they are already formatted and can be inserted quickly into your project.
Collaborative programming is important when there is a team of programmers working on a big project. This type of programming allows each programmer to work on different pieces of the project, making it easier for the programmer to work at their own pace. There are many advantages to collaborative programming including increased productivity, reduced time and fewer clashes between programmers.
Programming projects often involve multiple people at once. Gone are the days when each programmer would focus on a single feature. Working from home has created the need for remote collaborative coding. Many programmers dread the annoying merge conflicts on a git repository. They occur when more than one person modifies the same section of the source code and then tries to push a commit to the online repository. Resolving merge conflicts is very painful and time-consuming. Real-time development prevents that.
As an extension to the previous point comes continuous integration (CI). Continuous integration helps in automating the process of integrating changes to a project. It is an important part of agile software development, which is a popular methodology for developing software. Code is being modified on the fly without having to synchronise commits with others. Each developer’s changes to the main code are introduced to the shared repository regularly and automatically. Thus, he or she needs to only focus on the actual code development, instead of thinking about committing and merging several times a day.
Every time new code is committed to the shared repository, it should be thoroughly tested. For every feature, there has to be a test case to verify the integrity of the program. A well-built version control system with automatic builds and self-tests is critical for modern programming projects. They help in identifying bugs early on in the development cycle and improves the overall quality of the final product by catching bugs at an early stage, before they can wreak havoc on your codebase. The code is compiled at the server side which runs pre-defined tests to ensure that the introduced code does not break any other features. This saves lots of time and reduces the chance of well-hidden bugs that would otherwise linger for a long time and waste time and effort to identify them manually.
Debugging is an essential part of the software development process. For as long as there is code, there will be bugs. They will outlive code. Ideally, problems with the code should be detected before the program is shipped to customers. Debugging does not need to be painful. Some simple typos are easily detected by the IDE, just like spellcheck in a word processor, though logical errors are harder to spot.
PyScripter features a remote Python debugger, call stack, conditional breakpoints, a variable tracker and thread debugging. The pylint tool comes built-in. A thorough introduction to its features can be found in this YouTube tutorial.
There are many ways to obtain the desired result using code, however, some are highly inefficient. Code profilers come in handy in analysing what are the performance bottlenecks. Below is an example using the profiler in PyScripter. I have defined two custom functions and I call them 10 000 times from a loop.
x = 0
y = 10
for i in range(0,10000):
x = x + 1
if __name__ == '__main__':
The profiler tool gives output about the performance in the bottom part of the window. The execution took 0.062 seconds on my computer.
Hopefully by now, you are convinced about the power of modern Python programming software.