Best IDE for Python

Our first baby steps with Python, which Generally involve making a ‘Hello World’ program and a couple of typos, do not need much in the means of specialist tools. It is okay to hammer out the code in a text editor, changes to a terminal, and then run it. When it doesn’t work, you can come back to the editor, fix the typos, then run it.

However, as coding and testing become more complicated, involving multiple documents and unit evaluations, these context switches become inefficient and frustrating. Life is simpler when we could write, run and wrangle our code in precisely the same location.

Where a text editor ceases and An Integrated Development Environment (IDE) starts is a fuzzy boundary. At a minimum, you would want to have an application which: does syntax highlighting, code-folding and bracket-matching, has some awareness of the part source files of a job and facilitates running the code (or component thereof).

Within this article, we’ve chosen five of our favorite IDEs, which are efforts which we feel provide a fantastic overview of what is on offer.


An IDE that eases pretty much anything you can Consider

  • Clean and smart port

  • Comprehensive package manager

  • Sizeable memory footprint

Atom describes itself as a “hackable text editor to the 21st Century”. It is maintained by societal bookmarking megalith GitHub, therefore as you would expect it can do pretty much whatever you can imagine. And if it can’t, then somebody’s almost definitely working on a plugin to address that.

Atom has its comprehensive package manager, and a massive community focusing on packages for it. As well as built-in Git and GitHub integration, Atom allows you to collaborate on coding projects in real-time through the Teletype package. Several million other boxes can be found, but Python coders are searching for a more efficient workflow would do well to seek out a script package.

This offering is based on the electron frame. Therefore, Atom is cross-platform but also includes a not insignificant memory footprint. Coders who prefer their apps to be lightweight will likely balk in the 400MB (for example its dependencies) install footprint and should appear elsewhere. But even on a small system, it runs fine and the functionality Atom provides signifies that it’s worth the space investment.

Despite all of its features, Atom has a clean interface and is quite a bit more beginner-friendly than you would anticipate. The project view is helpful once you begin to dabble with larger projects and you’re free to divide the panels of the interface to suit your fancy.

Best IDE for Python

You can download Atom here


Python’s very own minimal IDE that will not get in your way

  • Nicely lightweight

  • Strong debugger

  • No job management capacity

It’s easy to overlook IDLE — Python’s personal bespoke Integrated Development Environment. IDLE (named after Monty Python’s Eric Idle) is relatively minimal compared to a number of the additional offerings around, but it’s everything you need and surely won’t get in your way.

It’s coded in Python and uses the lightweight Tkinter toolkit to draw its own GUI. Starting IDLE will open a Python shell, just as you get when beginning Python in the terminal. You can play around with code snippets here, with the bonus that keywords and the output signal will be well colored.

Moving from here you can start a new window to start coding proper. Your code will be appropriately highlighted and automatically indented, with a configurable indent level. IDLE supports using tabs or spaces for indentation, and can automatically convert between both — also it can indent many lines at one time.

IDLE lacks any job management centers, but there is no problem if your project spans only a small number of files. It has a powerful debugger that permits single-stepping throughout the code or over-stepping through every high-level purpose. The debugger shows the call stack as well as the state of global and local factors.

You can download IDLE here


Comes as standard in new variants of Raspbian

  • Excellent debugger

  • Ideal for beginners

  • But sadly installation isn’t user-friendly

Thonny is the least ‘developer-centric’ of the IDEs we’ve highlighted here, but it does not mean it’s any less powerful. It’s developed at the University of Tartu in Estonia and is written in Python. It features a powerful debugger that is great for learning the ins and outs of communicating without fretting about how breakpoints work.

The debugger can show you the condition of variables as the program runs. It permits you to take small or large steps throughout the program, which is excellent if you are tracking down difficult to find bugs. This is much better exercise than — as novices and experienced coders alike are occasionally tempted to do — peppering your code with messy print() statements.

Thonny will automatically indent as you sort, which is helpful for anyone new to Python since the language uses indentation to delineate functions, loops, courses, clauses, etc.. It will autocomplete your code and supply bracket/parentheses matching. It is also going helpfully to highlight any syntax errors.

It would be perfect for novices, but because it is a little tricky to install in case you are unfamiliar with Python packages and in particular pip (a package manager for Python). That said, it is included as

Standard in new variants of Raspbian and is well-suited to Raspberry Pi projects. It’s only a shame that other distros do not include Thonny in their reports. Best IDE for Python

You can download Thonny here

4.Visual Studio Code

Microsoft’s code editor is now a popular option among devs

  • Strong features

  • Impressive extensions marketplace

  • Minimalist’s mode.’

When the nemesis of FOSS software, Microsoft has, under the stewardship of Satya Nadella, taken a much friendlier position towards all things open source. The business may not be about to release the source code to Visual Studio, but in 2015 it did issue a source code editor, Visual Studio Code — or Code for the brief — and opened the heart of it. The code has since become somewhat popular amongst developers, and it’s an excellent selection for your Python projects too, as soon as you’ve set up the Python expansion, that is.

The code includes its debugger, supports linting, and has integration with all manner of source control tools. It has a built-in terminal also, and also a well-stocked extensions market (don’t worry, they’re free). It may run and debug your project’s unit tests through the unit test, py test or nose frameworks.

If this sounds a little too much, it also has a minimalist Zen style’ which shows you only the document you are working on, hiding not only Code’s interface, however, the remainder of your desktop also.

The code is highly configurable, and it has a settings panel that will delight those of a certain mindset — every segment evolves the corresponding part of this settings.json document, all nicely highlighted of course.

Much like Atom, the code is an Electron app, so is cross-platform and also a little bulky. Unlike Atom it’s support for Intellisense, Microsoft’s very own take on code conclusion. For Python, in addition to just indicating completions, this provides on-the-fly popups showing the documentation for methods and classes. Best IDE for Python

You can download Visual Studio Code here


Strong offering with support for real-time collaboration on code

  • Great for acute coding work

  • Outstanding assistance for Ruby, also

  • The interface is a little active

This powerful cross-platform IDE — which, such as IDLE, is named after Eric Idle — is written in Python and uses the Qt library. Though Python is its focus, Eric (lowercase is your intended spelling) has exceptional support for Ruby, and other languages also. It supports the butter and bread tasks we’ve begun to expect: code folding, code completion, brace matching.

But there is so much more which you will need to use its built-in (and automatic ) TODO list generation to keep track. It’s an integrated class browser and useful debugger, and thanks to being built Qt supports construction GUIs via Qt Designer. The initial configuration display may seem daunting, but the majority of it can be put off until later.

While the interface does look busy, there’s no reason you can not utilize eric as a simple code (or even plain text) editor. However, it comes into its own for more severe coding — there is a built-in hex editor, SQL browser and icon designer. It supports unit evaluations and will debug both multithreaded and multiprocessing programs, which as anyone who dabbles in these matters will testify, create the worst kind of germs.

It supports Mercurial and SVN version management natively, and Git support is available through a plugin. Like Code, there is support for real-time cooperation on the code.

You can download eric here