There are various tools for writing, developing and running Python code, from interactive mode to full-featured IDE software such as PyScripter and the excellent RAD Studio. In this article I will give a complete overview introduction of the tools that I have used myself to write great Python apps over the years.
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What is the simplest way to run Python code?
The quickest way to run Python code is to simply call the interpreter from the command line. However, the interactive mode has significant limitations, mainly because saving the lines of code for future use is not straightforward. In the screenshot below, I deliberately made a typo. I could easily use the Up arrow from my keyboard to correct my mistake. However, if I want to save my code, I need to delete the error message, the command output, and, obviously, also the >>> signs from each line.
How to save the code for future use?
A better way to write Python code is to use a text editor and write a script. Then the script calls the interpreter and executes the code. The developer can go back and edit the code as necessary. This approach is straightforward, but if an error occurs, one needs to look for the problematic line manually. Also, not every text editor supports code alignment, which is critical for Python. One source of headaches can be the version of Python used to run the script, particularly if executed on different computers.
How to simplify and organize code writing?
Jupyter notebooks combine the ease of use of interactive mode with the ability to save the whole code and even its output. Code is written to cells, executed in chunks or all at once. Extensive comments can be added in the Markup language, and in-line plots can be embedded. The notebook is easy to export and share with co-workers, including in html or pdf format. However, it has a notable downside, particularly for Windows users. The Jupyter environment sets up a server so that the user can execute the notebooks in the browser.
What is the most efficient tool available?
Arguably, the best environment for code development are IDEs. They include PyScripter, Visual Studio Code, Atom, PyCharm. PyScripter is available both as a standalone program and also as part of RAD Studio by Embarcadero. This opens a whole new level of possibilities. The programmer has access to an intuitive and easy-to-use toolkit to create and execute Python code within the same window. You can see a project overview on the left which is useful for programs consisting of many functions in separate files. Below the main area, there is the output, any error messages, and a Python interpreter for executing simple commands before integrating them in the main code. Another useful feature is the debugger. Through the Python4Delphi (P4D) toolset, it is easy to integrate Python into Delphi. It makes it possible to write GUI programs that many other tools are incapable of. P4D comes with a vast set of examples, making it easy to get started.
How to choose the best development tools?
Many of us, Python programmers, use multiple development tools. However, we should strive for efficiency and choose the environment that makes our work more productive, which for me is PyScripter with its range of functionality and ease of use, yet available for free. Try out PyScripter now.