What is a Python IDE used for?
IDE stands for an integrated development environment. An IDE is an application that provides a set of tools and features in a simple GUI that enables developers to develop, test and maintain programs.
IDE-s come with different features that enable developers to organize their work and execute common tasks. While both IDE-s and text editors can be used to write code, there is a clear distinction between IDE-s and text editors.
A text editor is exactly what it sounds like, it lets developers just edit text which in this case is code in this case.
Although we can also use text editors to write programs, IDE-s offer many more features such as syntax highlighting besides making it easier for developers to work with different file types. This makes the life of a developer so much easier and thus saves more time.
This article will explore different types of IDE-s that can be used and explain why they are perfect for such circumstances.
Notepad++ as a Python IDE
On the Windows platform, Notepad++ is the most common open-source text editor that supports tabbed editing and also allows developers to open multiple files.
On Linux systems, we have Gedit which is a general-purpose text editor. Just like Notepad ++ on Windows, Gedit also supports tabs, editing multiple files alongside other features such as multi-language spell checking and syntax highlighting.
IDLE as a Python IDE
It is absolutely fine to write code on text editors however, generally speaking, nowadays IDEs have become more lightweight and are more powerful as compared to text editors.
On the other hand, text-editors are more lightweight as compared to IDE-s, however, one will need to do a lot of configuring to be able to execute features provided by IDE-s.
It is worth noting that some text editors are pre-installed by default depending on the operating system present on your machine. For instance, most Linux distros and macOS are pre-installed with Nano which is also a great editor that provides amazing features such as syntax highlighting, searching and replacing and easy editing files.
In the case of IDE-s, there are different types of Python IDE- s and one’s choice first depends on the programming language and the type of project that they are working on.
For example, Python comes with its own IDE known as IDLE, which is a full-fledged editor that gives developers the ability to write and execute Python programs. However, I would recommend using an external IDE.
VS Code as a Python IDE
Next on the list is Visual Studio Code popularly known as VS Code. It is probably one of the most used IDE-s in the programming world. It was built and distributed by Microsoft, easy to install, configure and use. Moreover, it is cross-platform which means that it can run on any operating system without needing any kind of configuration.
PyCharm as a Python IDE
Pycharm is a python integrated development environment used in computer programming, specifically for the Python language. It was developed by the Czech company JetBrains.
Pycharm comes in three editions: Pycharm Community edition which is absolutely free, Pycharm professional is paid for and has everything that the community version offers and more and finally the Pycharm Edu edition which is free and intended for educational purposes.
Pycharm is purely intended for working on projects that is why therefore every time Pycharm is opened you’ll need to create a new project or open an already existing one.
The good thing about Pycharm and other IDE-s such as VS Code is that they give us the chance to customize every little thing about them according to our liking.
The next option is the Sublime Text, which is actually a text editor. However, there are two things that stand out about Sublime text: it is cross-platform and furthermore it can be configured to work like any Python IDE.
Sublime Text offers features such as Syntax highlighting, Auto Indentation, File type Recognition, SideBar, Macros, Plug-in and packages that make it easy for working with the codebase.
The same goes for Atom. It is a cross-platform text editor with a built-in package manager, smart autocompletion, file system browser and out of the box customization options.
For beginners, it is recommended to start out with VS Code or when working with Python Pycharm is a good choice. To install VS Code we’ll need to visit the official website Visual Studio Code and download the installer for whatever operating system you’re running.
Once the file is downloaded, run the installer and let the installation run to completion. This will install VS Code in your system.
Now VS Code offers different themes that a developer can choose from depending on their liking. These themes can be searched via the extensions tab, we can also search for color themes for instance the common gruv material.
When working with Python, the first thing we’ll need to do once VS Code is installed is to install the Python extension. This extension allows a Python developer to easily write code in Python.
Python is a very popular language and this extension has over 40 million downloads.PyCharm’s extension is quite similar to that of VS Code and it is specifically configured to be used with Python.
It offers lots of features mentioned before and a first-class for Python web development frameworks such as Django.
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