Readings: [1.4]: Selecting an Editor/IDE

Introduction

This lesson is discussion of common editors that are available for Python programming.

There are several free code editors that are popular for creating Python programs. These include (in no particular order):

(Although pyDev is considered a favorite IDE by some, it is not a stand-along program - so it will not be discussed further here.)

When you install Python, IDLE is automatically installed with it. IDLE is the default editor for Python coding. IDLE is a light-weight editor with a minimal number of features.

All of editors in the above list are considered an IDE (Interactive Programming Environment). More than just an editor, an IDE assists with tasks such as program structure, valid syntax checking, using built-in functions, debugging, and other tasks. Not all IDE's are alike, and the number and depth of features will vary between different offerings. Some of the above products are designed only for Python and some can also be used for other languages. In terms of quickly getting started with an IDE (other than IDLE), Sublime Text is perhaps the easiest to download and to start using immediately. Both pyCharm and Visual Code are geared towards development "projects" and take a little bit more configuration. Notepad++ is very easy to download and use, but running Python scripts requires more configuration.

Here are some references to learn more reviews and comparisons of these products (these open in new tabs):

What makes a code editor and IDE is mostly a matter of personal preference. Some developers like a simple editor with minimal features, while others like lots of features and the ability to heavily customize their editing tools. In some cases, the ability to use the same editor for multiple languages is a key factor in selecting a default editor. In the above list, Notepad++, Visual Code and Sublime Text are generally used for coding in multiple languages.

What Do Editors Look Like?

IDLE

You have already seen what IDLE looks like and how the IDLE shell and file interfaces look and work.

IDLE Editor

IDLE Editor

Notepad++

This is a generic editor often used for HTML coding. It has limited IDE features for many different languages, including Python.

Notepad++ Editor

Notepad++ Editor

Sublime Text

Sublime Text is an IDE with a relatively simple editor interface, but which has substantial editing features built in.

Sublime Text Editor

Sublime Text Editor

Visual Code

Visual Code is a Microsoft product, and used for developing programs in many languages and frameworks, such as React, Angular and C#. For Python, it also provides a IDE.

Visual Code Editor

Visual Code Editor

PyCharm

With more features than IDLE and Notepad++, pyCharm is a full-fledged IDE designed for building small and large Python programs.

pyCharm Editor

pyCharm Editor


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