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What Is The Best IDE For Python?


If you are an aspiring Python programmer, you are probably wondering what is the best IDE for Python projects. It’s no secret that Python is one of the most popular programming languages in the world. And with its growing popularity, the demand for quality Python coding software is also on the rise. So, how do you choose the best IDE for Python in 2022? What are the important factors you need to consider?

Click here to download PyScripter, a lightweight, free, feature-rich IDE for Python coding.

What is an integrated development environment (IDE)?

An Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is a desktop application that provides tools and functionality for software development. IDEs typically include a source code editor, a debugger, and a compiler or interpreter. Python developers need an IDE to provide features like code completion, syntax highlighting, and error detection. IDEs also offer built-in support for popular Python libraries and frameworks, making it easier to develop complex applications using pre-existing functions and modules. Let’s dive deeper into the features of the best Python IDE.

Why do you need an IDE for Python development?

When it comes to Python development, you could survive without an IDE, but you will be missing out a lot. IDEs offer a variety of features that make Python development easier, including code completion, syntax highlighting, and error detection. They also provide built-in support for popular Python libraries and frameworks, making it easier to develop complex applications.

No matter what your needs are, there’s an IDE out there that’s perfect for you. So get started on your Python development journey today!

What are IDEs available for Python coding?

There are three main types of IDEs available for Python development: graphical interfaces, text-based and web-based. We have discussed some of the features of available IDEs here.

Some of the popular Python IDEs and code editors include

  • GUIs
    • PyScripter
    • Visual Studio Code
    • PyCharm
    • Eclipse PyDev
    • Atom
    • Sublime Text
    • Spyder
    • Thonny
  • Text editors
    • vim
    • Emacs
    • Notepad++
  • Web-based editors
    • AWS Cloud9
    • Jupyter notebooks
    • online Python interpreters

What do we mean by “text-based software”?

Text-based coding software provides lightweight development experience, particularly for experienced developers who are comfortable working with text editors such as Emacs, vim and Notepad++, for example. However, the Python interpreter has to be called separately to execute the code.

What about IDEs with a graphical interface?

Graphical IDEs like PyScripter and Visual Studio Code offer a visual interface for code editing and debugging. They usually support advanced features suitable for beginner and professional programmers alike. PyCharm stands out from the rest in that it also has a paid version suitable for professional developers. The others on the list are freely available. We recently reviewed Atom in detail. It is a good tool but too memory heavy. PyDev is a plug-in for Eclipse’s IDE. As such, the user has to run software with unneeded features.

Sublime Text is an advanced text editor that comes as a graphical desktop application. It runs Python code but other than that, it is fairly simple in features. A notable downside is that it has a free evaluation version, but if you want to use it long-term, you have to buy a licence. Spyder is a fairly old and robust IDE mostly aimed at data science and scientific work. Thonny is another simplified tool with limited features useful for the seasoned programmer.

Web-based environments

Web-based IDEs like Amazon’s Cloud9 provide a browser-based development environment, making it easy to develop Python applications from anywhere and switch from one computer to another without downloading, sending or copy-pasting anything. There are multiple online Python interpreters, essentially a web page with just a block of code and a block of output. The Python code is executed on the server. However, saving the code is usually not possible, meaning that your work is prone to data loss, and also you cannot use more than one file with source code for a big project.

Jupyter notebooks

Jupyter notebooks are more or less a different class of a programming environment. They run in a browser, either locally or on a remote server. The notebook contains Python code and text written in Markup which even supports LaTeX, which scientists and engineers use for writing equations and formulas. The code can be written and executed in separate cells, which preserve the content of the memory, so all variables are seen throughout the notebook. One major downside is that jupyter runs on UNIX systems, and also, they are rather clumsy and demand lots of resources from the computer.

What features are an absolute must?

When choosing an IDE for Python coding, it’s important to consider essential features for your needs. Some IDEs offer more features than others. If you’re looking for an IDE with many bells and whistles, PyScripter, PyCharm or Visual Studio Code might be best. Visual Studio is a universal IDE, so there are lots of options and features only needed for other programming languages. This means, though, that it is bloated with stuff you do not need which still takes up memory and might cause lagging on old computers.

If you’re looking for a lightweight text editor with just the essentials, Emacs or Vim is probably what fits you, though you will undoubtedly be missing out. The absolute beginner probably does not need all the possible features that an IDE can have. Features like collaborative work are probably something that advanced coders and professionals benefit from the most. Version control is a helpful feature that everybody should eventually pick up, though there are many other points to master first. Here we have discussed the most innovative things happening with Python programming software.

Some features that are an absolute must in a Python IDE include:

  • Code completion: Code completion is a feature that helps you write code faster by automatically completing code for you.
  • Syntax highlighting: Syntax highlighting is a feature that makes it easier to read and write code by colour-coding different parts of the code.
  • Error detection: Essentially, spellchecking for code, error detection is a feature that helps you find and fix errors in your code.
  • Support for popular libraries and frameworks: Many IDEs offer built-in support for popular Python libraries and frameworks, making it easier to develop complex applications.
  • Supported platforms: Some IDEs are available only for Windows, and others only for UNIX systems. Many are available for multiple operating systems.
  • Stability and performance: The most important feature of an IDE is to (ideally) never crash, or you will lose your precious work. Also, the purpose of an IDE is to assist the programmer, not to annoy them with slow responsiveness and lagging.

No matter what your needs are, there’s an IDE out there that’s perfect for you. So get started on your Python development journey today!

How to choose the best Python IDE for your needs?

When choosing an IDE for Python development, there are a few critical factors to consider. First, think about the type of development you’ll be doing. If you’re new to Python, a graphical IDE like PyScripter might be best. If you’re an experienced developer who is comfortable working with text editors, a text-based IDE like Emacs or Vim might be suitable, though they are missing lots of advanced features.

Another important factor to consider is the operating system you’re using. Some IDEs are only available for Windows, while others are available for both Windows and macOS. Make sure to choose an IDE that is compatible with your operating system.

Finally, consider the features you need. Some IDEs offer more features than others. If you’re looking for an IDE with a lot of bells and whistles, PyCharm or Visual Studio Code might be best. If you’re looking for a lightweight IDE with just the essentials, Emacs or Vim might be best.

What is the best Python coding software?

A good Python IDE for beginners, in fact the best Python IDE for anyone, allows the programmer to quickly and easily access all the needed tools, including a package manager and a debugger. Profiling tools and version control are also essential tools that Python programmers need to start using eventually.

Final thoughts on what makes the best Python IDE

Choosing the best IDE for Python can be a daunting task. There are many different options available, each with its own set of features and benefits. Ultimately, the goal is to find a tool that is easy to use and has all the features that you personally find necessary. The most important factors to consider are availability, simple package management, robustness and smooth performance.

Do not spend too long thinking. Download PyScripter now and start coding!

About author

I am a quantum chemist and a photographer with a decade of experience in programming in various languages. I have worked with python in the past five years regularly on multiple projects and in my free time. I love sharing knowledge with the world and clearly explaining complex concepts.
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