Whether you are a beginner or an experienced programmer, you will likely need a good Python script writer to help you with your projects. Atom is one of the popular Python desktop GUIs, but how does it rate compared to the dedicated PyScripter IDE designed specifically for Python coders in mind? Which of the two is the best Python GUI?
There are many different software options available to developers. We made an overview of some popular Python coding IDEs not long ago. In this article, we will compare these two options and help you decide which one is best for you!
Let’s dive into the details.
Why should you use Python?
Python is a versatile programming language that is easy to learn and fast to implement new ideas. It can be used for a variety of purposes, including web applications, data science and machine learning. Python was designed with an emphasis on code readability, and its syntax allows programmers to express concepts in fewer lines of code than possible in other languages. The language provides constructs intended to enable straightforward programming on both a small and large scale. Compared to other common programming languages, there is no need for any symbols marking line endings, though this comes at the cost of being rigid about the use of tabs at the beginning of the line. Still, this is not a significant hindrance, really, as it makes the code look neat and improves readability.
How to write a Python script and what is a Python script writer?
Python code is executed by an interpreter. It processes the script or program one line at a time. This is in contrast with compiled programming languages, where a compiler converts the code into machine-readable code before it can be executed. Writing Python programs and scripts is as simple as saving a file with Python code and calling it from the command line or through an IDE. A Python script writer allows you, the programmer, to enter the lines of the Python program, test and run them as well as have any errors flagged, sometimes before running the program (depending on the Python script writer or IDE you’re using).
Writing Python scripts from the command line
In the example below, I am using the popular text editor vim under Linux. I have written a simple script, and I will execute it by calling the Python interpreter and the script name.
Alternatively, the interpreter can be specified at the beginning of the script, which makes it possible to execute the script just like any program from the command line:
print("Hello, here we will run a loop")
for i in range(0,10):
print("i = ", i)
Developing Python scripts in an IDE
Writing Python scripts is more efficient in an integrated development environment (IDE). There are many useful features that make coding much more efficient. The main benefit of a GUI over a plain text editor is that there are advanced tools such as debuggers, collaborative working, continuous integration, profiling and debugging.
What are the best Python script writer tools?
We have covered previously some of the things that everyone hates about the popular Python tools. Below are some useful features that a Python GUI needs to have.
Free, open-source, multiplatform
Both Atom and PyScripter are free, open-source projects providing a range of tools that Python developers need. You can find Atom at https://atom.io, while PyScripter is available from the project’s repository. Both applications are available for different operating systems (Windows, Mac and Linux).
Here is also a video guide to PyScripter to help you get started with its features.
A good graphical interface makes the IDE understandable
The graphical interface of PyScripter and Atom is fairly similar, though, Atom lacks the Python interpreter panel and the debugging panels. This means that in Atom, you cannot test small code snippets before introducing them to your actual code. This is a major weakness during the early phase of coding.
User-friendliness means you should not have to think about how to use the Python script writer
When it comes to user-friendliness, PyScripter is definitely the winner. It has a very simple and easy-to-use interface, while Atom is known for being a bit more complex. The menu structure is less intuitive than in PyScripter, and it takes a while to find what you are searching for. In PyScripter, it is clear where the plug-ins are, how to set up the environment, and how to choose a version of Python to execute the program with.
Another important point regarding user-friendliness is that PyScripter remembers the list of last used files and opens them on startup. This means that you can easily restart working at any time. You need to manually go to the File menu and load them in Atom.
A package manager makes it easier to discover and install libraries
Both IDEs have a built-in package manager, allowing you to install any library that you might need for your Python project. Installing packages in PyScripter is extremely simple. You just need to enter the name of the package, and it runs the pip tool in the background that handles all the details.
Performance is important – your IDE should not drag down your computer
While running smoothly on my powerful PC, Atom had allocated 380 MB of RAM just to keep itself running. That is, no Python scripts were loaded nor executed. In contrast, PyScripter takes about 50 MB. The winner in lightweightedness is clear.
Which is the best Python scripter writer?
The overall feeling is that both PyScripter and Atom are good IDEs and do the job well, though Python programmers certainly will benefit from the specialised PyScripter. My first personal experience with Atom was a bit bumpy. I have a clean install of Python that works straight out of the box with PyScripter, though there was some strange problem in Atom:
Some installed packages could not be loaded because they contain native modules that were compiled for an earlier version of Atom.
There was a message suggesting rebuilding the Hydrogen module, though it never managed to fix the problem. Since Hydrogen is essentially running a Jupyter kernel, it means that I could not run any scripts that I developed.
The final word
I believe that by now, you are convinced that Python is a great language that any aspiring programmer should learn. This becomes a breeze when using the right tools for the job.