The 6 Best Python IDE Solutions for Developers

You can look at it from many points of view, but having a good code editor (Integrated Development Environment) can really change the pace of your progress, be it for learning or for a full-scale project that you’re working on. These days, specifically built IDE’s come equipped with necessary tools and features to make development a fun, and enjoyable activity.

I have written about code editors before, more specifically – the post about Ruby IDE’s turned out to be one of the most popular posts of all time (on this blog), and the JavaScript code editors received a really great community response. By the way, the JavaScript roundup is also suitable for front-end developers.

Python is a very friendly language, for novices, beginners and experts alike. It just works. I have written extensively on Python before, so please use the search function if you’re looking for things like Python Tools, Python Books, and Python Learning Resources. You’re also welcome to suggest topic ideas that you’d like to see, I’m fond of community support; and it’s easier to create something when you know someone definitely needs it.

You don’t have to install additional code editors (IDE’s) if you don’t want to, but it really helps to learn something new that has been built for the sake of making your programming experience less of a hassle. I’m biased towards Sublime Text, but I suppose because I’m also a Windows freak. What about you?

1. Vim

Vim has been dubbed ‘The Best Code Editor’ of all time. I can’t say I disagree (because that would be stupid, the community behind Vim is too strong!), but don’t take the praise and support for granted. Vim takes a couple of months to learn, but once learned – provides a seamless programming experience that you can directly integrate with your workflow.

You can learn Vim in many ways (I might cover this topic soon!), progressively or by studying tutorials on the web. You should read this in-depth overview of Vim by Ian Langworth, he has been a Vim user for over a decade, and has got some really great insights to share. The hardest part is to learn how to quit Vim!

2. Emacs

Emacs is an extensible, customizable text editor—and more. It is very common to see the words ‘Vim’ and ‘Emacs’ within the same context, as there seems to be a little bit of heat between developers. If You know Vim already, perhaps it’s time to try out Emacs? You can check out the Emacs Redux blog for learning more about this IDE.

Are you a Clojure developer? Want to write code and execute it at the same time? This tutorial covers the basics of setting up Emacs. Well, actually it’s a really in-depth tutorial on how to get started with Emacs. The new Emacs 24.4 was recently released, and there are a lot of good new features to explore and play with.

3. Sublime

I try to use Sublime Text whenever I can, it’s such a well-designed, and well thought of development environment, it naturally appeals to you! Think of it like Notepad++, but only with all the extras and nifty features that development a breeze. Recently, there have been new updates being pushed forward, something that many Sublime users have been waiting for!

To me, what makes Sublime Text unique and special is the package manager, that’s right – Sublime has got its own package manager that you can use to install addons, plugins, additional styles and more cool stuff, though everything is meant to enhance your coding experience! You can find all the publicly available packages on WBOND.

4. PyCharm

PyCharm is a product of JetBrains, a very developed company that focuses on building code editors for popular programming languages. Last month, the company announced PyCharm 4 – which is now surely making its way to a final stable release.

This Python IDE offers support for modern web development frameworks, such as Django, Flask, Google App Engine, Pyramid, web2py, etc. And it allows running, debugging and testing applications on remote hosts or virtual machines. These features however, are for the professional edition. If you’re just starting out, the community edition of PyCharm can be downloaded for free.

5. Wing

Wingware’s Python IDE works with Python 2.x and 3.x and can be used with Django, matplotlib, Zope, Plone, App Engine, PyQt, PySide, wxPython, PyGTK, Tkinter, mod_wsgi, pygame, Maya, MotionBuilder, NUKE, Blender, and many other Python frameworks. Wing has been around for nearly a decade, and boasts all the necessary experience to provide a great programming environment for Python developers.

You get several essential features, including: auto completion of code, tips about the code you’re writing, unit testing, advanced debugging features, you can even evaluate your key-bindings from other editors like Emacs, and Vim. We’ve already looked at those two, so perhaps if you’ve been using them before – Wing might be worth a shot?

6. Komodo

Komodo IDE isn’t just for Python, it’s a very appealing code editor to any front-end developer, and as it is being developed by ActivateState, you should expect two decades of software development experience to have gone into the process of creating Komodo. I still remember the good old days of downloading Perl from ActiveState!

The latest 8.5 version was released a little over a year ago, and included updates for PHP5 and Python 3, we can surely expect another update in the near future, as the programming standards and markup is changing rapidly right now.

Python IDE Solutions for Developers

I couldn’t find any more highly sought after IDE’s to list, if you’re using a popular Python IDE and it is not in this roundup – please leave a comment so that I may add it to the list. Other than that, I hope that this will help to steer you in the right direction, at least now you’ll know where to look in case you decide to settle for Python.

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