Developing professionally, or just beginning to study it, it is desirable to have a programming environment to work on examples, to clearly see the results of the written code. Let’s take a closer look at the main tools to simplify the process of writing programs in Python.
IDEs and text editors
IDE stands for Integrated Development Environment (IDE) which is the application used to create software. It combines several tools that are designed to make writing and testing code easier. They include, for example:
- Code Editor;
- Tools for building, debugging and checking the execution of the written program;
- Bug trackers and version control.
IDEs are often too heavy because they support more than one programming language. At the same time they are functional, but for a beginning programmer it can be a minus for the reason that to use them you will probably need knowledge on the IDE settings and a rather powerful computer. In this case it is possible to use a simple text editor. They are quicker to install and launch, they are easier to master, but their possibilities are limited by the standard set of functions: marking of syntax color, code changing and formatting. Debugging and program execution is not available in all of them.
Let’s tell in detail about the best IDEs for Python and graphical text editors, which are recommended for use by both beginners and already experienced developers.
PyCharm is now considered to be the best development environment for Python not only on Windows, but also on other operating systems. It exists in both free and paid versions. The latter, of course, is designed for more professional use. By the way, you can run and test and debug the code directly from the application. As has already been said, this advantageously distinguishes IDE from usual text editors which will be described below. You can create a separate Virtual Environment for each project. This allows you to maintain the project with the right versions of the libraries. The disadvantages are usually slow loading (especially if the computer is not too powerful) and the need to adjust the settings to fit them to a specific project. Also, if you use the free version, you should know that it does not support web development and database editing. So, if you are going to develop a website using Django framework, you will need the paid version. PyCharm has the best Django support. Only the paid version has remote code debugging.
This is the most commonly cited good code editor for web developers. It is available on all platforms and has a wide variety of extensions, one of which can be used to enable Python support. Advantages include its light weight and quick installation compared to IDEs. If we talk about the disadvantages, it initially lacks code assembly and debugging. Atom is written with the Electron framework. The text editor has built-in support for GIT. With the help of plugins you can set up not only the syntax highlighting, but a lot of useful things, such as:
- Console at the bottom of the editor window;
- Automatic copying of edited files to a remote computer.
This development environment was originally designed for Java, while Python is connected through plugins. Netbeans is called a good equivalent of PyCharm if you can’t buy a paid version of the latter but need to do web development. However, it does not work too fast and takes up a lot of space on your computer.
Sublime Text 3
One of the most common code editors, it is available on all platforms and has built-in support for Python syntax, as well as many interesting extensions and plugins to increase the editing capabilities. We should clarify right away that they are not easy to install. Among its advantages are said to be high performance, fast response time, and excellent user support. The disadvantages usually include the fact that it is not free, it initially lacks the tools of debugging and running code.
This is a variant of the standard Notepad, but it is more advanced. The application supports several programming languages, it can highlight syntax and errors, if any. A huge plus is its small weight, which allows for a quick start even if the computer is not too modern. Notepad++ also allows you to connect external extensions, add bookmarks and integrate a compiler.
Online Editors for Python
Some people prefer to use online editors. The most popular and convenient among them are:
- Python Fiddle – Allows you to design in Python with (and without) the connection of external libraries. There is a code highlighting feature, as well as importing from external resources;
- IDE One – an excellent debugging tool and compiler that supports a huge number of programming languages. Its most obvious disadvantage is the advertising.
IDEs are considered as tools which help to create code, test it, make debugging, thus realizing the tasks assigned to the developer. In order to get started quickly, it is recommended to put an IDE. In it everything is already ready to create a project, its launch and debugging. In order to make adjustments to the script in Python, a text editor is also suitable. With the help of plugins text editor can be made more functional. Over time, the differences between text editors and IDEs are becoming smaller and smaller. When choosing a Python programming environment, it is worth considering Atom among text editors. It is inferior to Sublime Text in terms of speed, but its configuration is easier, it is younger, but it already has plugins that implement things which are not in Sublime Text. Among the IDEs the undisputed leader is PyCharm. Unfortunately, it only has Django support in its paid version. That’s why it’s worth looking at Netbeans.