Python is a high-level, interpreted programming language used in various applications, including web development, scientific computing, data analysis, and artificial intelligence.
Python is known for its simple syntax and easy-to-learn nature, making it a popular choice for beginners and experienced developers. A large and active community of developers contributes to its libraries and frameworks, making it a versatile and powerful tool.
Python is an interpreted language, so it does not need to be compiled before it can be run. Instead, the Python interpreter reads and executes the code line by line, making it easy to write and test the code quickly.
Continue reading to find the best IDEs and Code Editors for Python, and check which is most suitable for your needs.
Table of Contents:
- IDE (Integrated Development Environment)
- Code Editor
- Difference between Code Editor and IDE
- Best IDEs and Code Editor for Python
What is IDE?
Integrated Development Environment or IDE is a software application that provides a comprehensive and integrated environment for developing software. It is a coding tool that makes writing, debugging, and testing your code more accessible.
Uses of IDE
IDEs are widely used by developers for software development; here are some of the use cases of IDEs.
- Code Completion and Suggestion: Developers can save time and reduce errors by using IDEs that provide suggestions and auto-completion for code syntax, functions, and variables.
- Debugging Tools: When using an IDE, you can set inspect variables & breakpoints and step through the code line by line to debug Python code.
- Improved Code Quality: IDEs can enhance code quality and maintainability through tools such as code formatting and linting.
- Code Analysis: IDEs can perform code analysis to check for errors, warnings, and possible performance issues, which can assist developers in improving the readability and quality of their code.
- Integrated Development: IDEs make it easy for developers to switch between code editors, debuggers, compilers, and version control systems.
Features of IDE
IDEs typically include a range of features that help developers to write, test, and debug their code, in addition to the following other options –
- Syntax Highlighting: Through syntax highlighting, IDEs make it easier for developers to read and understand their code.
- Debugging: Debugging tools are often included in IDEs to enable developers to identify and fix errors in their code. These tools include breakpoints, watch variables, and step-by-step code execution.
- Project Management: It is possible to manage entire projects using an IDE, allowing developers to organize their files, manage dependencies, and build, test, and deploy their code in one place.
- Code Refactoring: This feature can help optimize code and reduce redundancy by allowing developers to change their code structure without altering its functionality.
- Code Templates: With the help of an IDE, developers can create code faster and with fewer errors by using templates for commonly used code structures.
Advantages of IDE
There are several advantages to using an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for Python, including –
- Increased Productivity: Developers can increase their productivity with the help of IDEs that provide a range of features, such as auto-completion, syntax highlighting, and code templates, which can help them write code quickly and efficiently.
- Collaboration: IDEs provide version control tools, allowing multiple developers to work on the same codebase in real-time. They include features such as code merging, branch management, and code reviews.
- Support for Multiple Platforms: Developers can use the same development environment across different operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS, etc., because of various IDEs available on numerous platforms.
- Simplified and Easier Debugging: Developers can identify and fix errors in their code more easily thanks to IDE debugging tools such as breakpoints, step-by-step code execution, and variable inspection. These tools include The Eclipse Debugger, Sentry, Rollbar, etc.
What is Code Editor?
Code editors are software applications used by developers to write, edit, and manage source code for software development. Writing and executing codes becomes more accessible and efficient for developers using these specifically designed code editors.
Uses of Code Editor
- Writing and Editing Code: Code editors make it easier for developers to write and modify Python code efficiently and quickly with the help of features like syntax highlighting, auto-indentation, and auto-completion.
- Version Control: Developers can manage code changes, collaborate with other developers, and track project history using code editors that integrate with version control systems, such as Git.
- Syntax highlighting: Code editors have a feature called syntax highlighting that can be used for highlighting the code, which helps developers identify and correct any syntax errors faster.
- Debugging: Using debugging tools with a code editor, you can identify and fix errors in Python program code. These tools can streamline debugging and make identifying and resolving issues easier.
- Collaboration: Using features like version control, code sharing, and real-time collaboration, multiple developers can work on the same codebase simultaneously.
Features of Code Editor
A code editor allows programmers and developers to write, edit, and manage their source code. Some of the standard features of code editors include the following:
- Code Folding: A code folding tool makes it easier to navigate large files by hiding and showing different parts of the code.
- Auto-Formatting: With this feature, your code is automatically indented and consistent in spacing, tabs, and line wrapping, which makes it easier to read and understand.
- Search and Replace: You can find specific code within a file or project and edit it with search and replace features.
- Plugins and Extensions: There are often plugins and extensions available for code editors that allow them to add functionality and integrate with other tools and services.
- Customization: Code editors allow users to customize the editor’s appearance and behavior, such as changing the color scheme or key bindings.
Advantages of Code Editor
Code editors offer several advantages to programmers and developers, including:
- Increased Productivity: The various features of code editors, such as auto-completion, syntax highlighting, and code folding, can make it easier for developers to write and manage the code.
- Cross-Platform Compatibility: Code editors are cross-platform; they can be used on operating systems such as Windows, macOS, and Linux.
- Support for Multiple Programming Languages: Developers can work on projects using different programming languages within the same code editor because code editors support a wide range of programming languages.
- Improved Code Quality: Using code editors can help identify syntax errors and other issues in the code, helping to improve the overall quality.
- Auto-Complete: In code editors, the auto-complete functionality suggests possible options for the code you are writing, saving you time and reducing the chance of making syntax errors.
Difference between Code Editor and IDE
Code Editor and Integrated Development Environment (IDE) are both software tools used by developers and programmers, but there are some differences between them, including –
Functionality: IDEs are more comprehensive than code editors and offer a wider range of features and tools for software development.
Complexity: IDEs are more complex and have a steeper learning curve than code editors.
Language Support: IDEs support a more comprehensive range of programming languages, frameworks, and platforms, while Code Editors may support fewer languages like Python, Rails, R, Scala, YAML, Java, SQL, etc. Code Editors also have fewer advanced features.
Extensibility: IDEs are generally more extensible than Code Editors, supporting more plugins and extensions. Code Editors also support plugins but typically have fewer available ones than IDEs; for example, Emmet, Live Server, Prettier, GitLens, Snippets, etc.
Customization: There is often more flexibility in Code Editors than in IDEs, with more possibilities for changing the editor’s appearance, behavior, and functionality. IDEs are often more rigidly designed and offer lesser customization options than code editors.
Best IDEs and Code Editor for Python
There are several great IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) and code editors available for Python programming. Some of the popular ones are:
PyCharm supports many popular web frameworks, has a wide range of plugins to enhance its functionality, and offers a comprehensive set of tools for code analysis, debugging, testing, and more.
- PyCharm has a large ecosystem of plugins and extensions
- It includes built-in support for connecting to and working with databases like PostgreSQL, MySQL, and Oracle.
- Provides built-in support for PostgreSQL, MySQL, and Oracle databases.
- It is quite expensive to purchase the professional version
- Due to PyCharm’s resource-intensive nature, it requires a powerful computer to run smoothly.
- Learning to use all of PyCharm’s features can take some time, as it is a powerful IDE with many features.
2. VS Code (Visual Studio Code)
Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is a popular open-source code editor for Python development. It supports debugging, code completion, and a wide range of extensions to enhance Python’s functionality.
- Lightweight and fast, VS Code is ideal for quick code edits and debugging sessions.
- You can customize your development environment with extensions and themes in VS Code.
- Multiple platforms are supported by VS Code, making it accessible to developers on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
- Setup for debugging in VS Code can be complex and may require some additional configuration.
- VS Code has limited built-in support for Python.
- To work correctly in VS Code, some Python tools, such as virtual environments and linting tools, require additional extensions.
3. Jupyter Notebook
Jupyter Notebook is a web-based interactive environment for data science and machine learning. It provides an interface for creating and sharing documents that contain equations, live code, visualizations, and narrative text.
- It is easy to install and can be run on various platforms, including Windows, Mac, and Linux.
- You can create documentation alongside your code with Jupyter Notebook, which makes it easy for anyone to understand and reproduce your work.
- You can modify your code and see the results immediately.
- Compared to traditional Integrated Development Environments (IDEs), Jupyter Notebook does not have the same level of debugging tools.
- Working with large datasets in Jupyter Notebook can be resource-intensive, slowing down your machine and affecting productivity.
- The command-line interface of Jupyter Notebook can be challenging for beginners.
4. Sublime Text
A popular code editor with a sleek interface, Sublime Text is highly customizable and can be adapted to work with Python through various plugins.
- Sublime Text is lightweight and fast, making it a good choice for developers who value speed and efficiency.
- It is highly customizable and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of developers.
- Sublime Text’s syntax highlighting and auto-completion for Python can improve code readability and productivity.
- If you are using sublime with the free version, you may receive a warning message that you are using an unregistered version. To remove this warning message, you need to purchase the paid version.
- Using Sublime Text in a larger development workflow is difficult due to its limited integration with other tools.
- Python code can be difficult to debug in Sublime Text due to its lack of built-in debugging features.
- The GUI of the terminal is not user-friendly.
It provides various data analysis, visualization, and debugging tools, specifically designed for scientific computing with Python.
- A user-friendly interface, a variable explorer, and an integrated debugger make Spyder easy to use.
- In addition to code completion, syntax highlighting, and code introspection, it provides advanced editing features.
- Since Spyder is an open-source project, it is free to use and constantly evolving due to community contributions and updates.
- When working with large datasets or performing computationally intensive tasks, Spyder can be slow and resource-intensive.
- As Spyder lacks robust version control integration and project management tools, it may not be the best choice for collaborative projects.
- It may take some time to get used to the various windows and panels in the user interface.
A Python IDLE (Integrated Development and Learning Environment) is a lightweight IDE that provides basic Python development functionality. In addition to providing an interactive shell for typing and running Python code, IDLE also features an editor for writing and saving Python scripts, syntax highlighting auto-completion, and debugging tools.
- Python beginners will find IDLE an ideal choice because it is lightweight and easy to use.
- The Python Shell allows users to test and run code snippets interactively.
- Python is pre-installed in IDLE, so no additional installation or setup is needed.
- While working on large or complex projects, IDLE can be slow and unresponsive.
- Compared with other modern IDEs, IDLE’s user interface may feel outdated and less customizable.
- Advanced users who require more control and customization may not find it suitable.
It is a highly customizable editor that supports various programming languages, including Python. Atom offers many valuable features for coding, including syntax highlighting, autocompletion, and multiple panes for editing files. Developers use Atom because of its flexibility and ease of use.
- You can extend the functionality of Atom by installing a variety of packages and themes.
- Atom is an open-source text editor, which means anyone can modify and use its source code.
- Multiple cursors can be placed on the screen, making it easy to edit multiple lines of code simultaneously.
- Atom does not have built-in debugging features, so users must use external tools like Python’s pdb to debug their code.
- Even though Atom is lightweight, it can be slower than some other text editors, especially when dealing with large files.
- For large projects with multiple files and complex codebases, Atom may not be the best choice since it lacks many features of integrated development environments (IDEs), such as code refactoring and project management.
This simple and intuitive interface makes writing, testing, and debugging Python code easy. With Thonny, you can step through your code and see how it executes and utilize syntax highlighting, code completion, and an interactive debugger. You can also experiment with code snippets and test ideas with Thonny. Anyone new to Python programming or looking for an easy-to-use IDE should consider Thonny.
- Easy-to-navigate and easy-to-understand interface make Thonny easy to use.
- Thonny has an interactive debugger that allows you to debug Python code easily.
- You can execute Python code without leaving the IDE with Thonny’s built-in Python shell.
- Thonny is designed for beginners and lacks some advanced features that other IDEs offer.
- There are limited customization options with Thonny, which can be a drawback for more experienced users.
- Thonny has fewer plugins than other IDEs.
This is a highly configurable, accessible, open-source text editor based on the command line. It can be used to edit any text file, including Python source files.
Vim is known for its modal editing capabilities, which allow users to move around the document and edit the text in various ways. It also supports multiple plugins and customization options, making it popular among power users and developers who value productivity and speed.
Those new to Vim may need time to adapt to its steep learning curve.
- Python programmers can save time and increase productivity with Vim’s keyboard shortcuts.
- Python code can be read and written more easily with Vim’s syntax highlighting.
- As it is a command-line text editor, you can use it remotely through a terminal. This feature makes it ideal for use on remote servers or in a development environment.
- Learning Vim’s complex keyboard shortcuts and commands can take some time.
- Code completion is unavailable in Vim, so the user must manually type it.
- The Vim text editor lacks user-friendly features like code folding, visual debugging, and project management.
10. GNU Emacs
The GNU Emacs is a free, open-source text editor with many customizable and extensible features, including syntax highlighting, code folding, and code completion. In addition to its ability to automate repetitive tasks and customize the editor to fit the needs, it also has a powerful macro system. It supports a wide range of plugins and customization options. GNU Emacs is popular among power users and developers who value productivity and flexibility.
- Users can customize GNU Emacs to meet their specific needs
- Emacs is a cross-platform editor that runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
- There is built-in support for Python programming in GNU Emacs, including syntax highlighting, automatic indentation, and debugging.
- When working with large codebases and projects, GNU Emacs can be resource-intensive.
- Due to its limited graphical user interface, it can be difficult for some users to navigate and use GNU Emacs.
- It can take some time to master GNU Emacs’ complex commands and shortcuts.
To sum up, the ideal IDE or Code Editor for Python development enables you to work productively and suits your individual needs. Thonny is a user-friendly option for those new to programming, while advanced coders might prefer GNU Emacs. There are also various commercial solutions such as PyCharm, Visual Studio Code, Sublime Text, Spyder, Jupyter Notebook, and IDLE to consider. Ultimately, the decision is yours based on your requirements.