Pycharm is a cross-platform python IDE, that is available in both a free and commercial package. It is a popular python IDE, that provides features such as intelligent code-completion, on the fly error correction as well as quick fixes. PyCharm’s user interface is ideal for easy project navigation. It maintains the quality of your code with a variety of inspections such as PEP8 checks, smart refactoring and testing assistance. This python IDE provides strong web development framework support for Django, Flask and Pyramid to name a few. For those looking for a python IDE with scientific tools, PyCharm is definitely suitable; providing IPython Notebook integration, an interactive python console, Anaconda support and the inclusion of popular scientific packages such as Numpy and Matplotlib. This python IDE includes debugging and the ability to deploy applications in virtual machines or remotely. Pycharm is capable of cross-technology development; supporting programming languages such as Javascript, SQL, HTML/CSS, etc. For those looking for a light IDE, this is probably not the ideal choice, but for those interested in a feature rich python IDE, PyCharm is definitely a consideration.

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Useful Amazon Book: Eclipse IDE by Lars Vogel

Eclipse (with PyDev Plug-In)

PyDev is a third party Python IDE plugin for the Eclipse IDE which is well known as the most used Java IDE. PyDev provides an editor with code auto-completion, code analysis, code folding, refactoring, graphical debugging, mark occurrence, as well as other features. It can be used in Python, Jython and IronPython development. This Python IDE comes with web framework Django integrated in. Pydev also comes with remote debugging functionality and integrated unit testing.

Wing IDE

Wing IDE is a cross-platform python IDE that comes in two commercial full featured versions called Wing IDE Personal and Wing IDE Professional, and also a free simple python IDE called Wing 101. This python IDE comes with a powerful editor, with features such as auto-completion, error checking, invocation assistance, go-to definition, refactoring, multiple selections etc. Wing IDE includes a debugger capable of visual data display, interactive debug command line and remote functionality. It includes version control, supporting Mercurial, Git, Subversion, Perforce, etc. It has been designed to produce fast, accurate and fun python development in a full featured python IDE.

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Komodo IDE

Komodo IDE is a cross-platform commercial python IDE, there is also a free version called Komodo Edit. It is designed to be a full-featured python IDE with support for web technology, the likes of  HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, Flask, Django, etc. Komodo IDE’s advanced editor includes code auto-complete, multi-language syntax checking and highlighting, macros, snippets, refactoring and much more. The user interface allows split viewing and multi-window editing. This python IDE provides graphical debugging and allows you to remotely debug applications running on remote servers. This python IDE includes an interactive python shell, allowing the user to configure breakpoint and then step in to interact and inspect runtime. Komodo IDEs unit testing supports the python unittest framework. This python IDE also features code collaboration, allowing multiple users to edit a document simultaneously. The integrated database explorer that support SQLite, as well as MySQL and Oracle via extensions separates this from other python IDEs. This python IDE includes key biddings for Vi/Vim, Emacs and others providing a familiar editing experience. It is also customizable allowing the user to install themes to change the user interface, as well as add-ons to add to the already feature rich functionality of the IDE. For those looking for a python IDE with features like code collaboration, integrated database support and unit testing, should definitely consider this python IDE. It should also go without saying that such a full featured IDE is not light.

Visual Studio with Python Tools Add-On (PVTS)

Visual Studio with the inclusion of the Python Tools add-on, produces a very powerful python IDE, that is better known in the python community as PVTS. It is limited in the sense that it is not cross-platform and only supports the Windows operating system. Visual Studio is mostly known as a commercial software, however there is now a free version at the time of writing known as Visual Studio Community. Python tools is a free open-source plug-in that has been designed, developed and supported by Microsoft and the community. This python IDE’s editor includes tooltips, code-completion, and snippets in order to make your python programming more productive. It provides third-party library support, which can be installed and managed using its PyPi, pip and virtual environment support. This python IDE includes debugging; interactively diagnosing your code on both Windows and linux. Visual studio includes source control, allowing you to manage your Git/TFS projects without the use of a command line. This python IDE allows you to unit test your code, making sure it is working correctly without the need to leave the IDE. This is a python IDE that has grown in popularity; it would not be suitable for someone looking for a light python IDE.

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Atom Editor

Atom is a modern text editor developed to be approachable and customisable at its core. It was designed to be customisable to do anything and allow the user to be productive. It is a cross-platform, free and open-source IDE that runs on Electron a framework for building cross-platform applications. At the heart of this editor is a built-in package manager. It is with these packages that allows you to produce a feature rich python IDE. It provides smart code auto-completion, as well as a well-designed user interface, including a file system browser system to manage your files and projects, and a  multi pane layout to view code from several files. The thousands of open-source packages available are what really makes this IDE stand out. Allowing you to add functionality to your IDE via these packages, and if you cannot find an existing package with the features you seek, you can always build your own. There is a large variety of UI and syntax themes allowing you to personalise the user interface to your liking. If you like the idea of customising your python IDE to your specification, and appreciate a beautiful interface, this python IDE is probably for you. If you’re not into tinkering and prefer a what you see is what you get python IDE, this is probably not for you. This is a light python IDE, and so should be considered if that is within your criteria.

Sublime Text 3

Sublime Text is a sophisticated cross-platform text editor. At the time of writing Sublime Text 3 is a beta release, that is advertised as being free to evaluate (no enforced time limit), and requiring purchasing of a license for continued use. Sublime Text 3 is a light python IDE designed to be beautiful and fast. A notable feature is its Go To Anything functionality allowing the user to open files with only a few keystrokes and jump to symbols, lines or words. It’s strong multiple selection capabilities allows a user to make ten changes at the same time. This python IDE includes a Command Palette, allowing the user to search for infrequently used features instead of having to navigate through menus. The distraction free mode, allows you to concentrate on your code, by creating a full-screen, chrome free editing mode, with nothing but your code in the centre of the screen. Sublime Text also supports split-screen editing. Sublime Text possesses a powerful Python based plugin API, as well as a built in python console. The python IDE is highly customizable with the help of simple JSON files. There exists a plug-in called Anaconda that turns your Sublime Text 3 into a python development IDE.

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Spyder Python

Spyder is an open-source cross-platform and free python IDE that stands for Scientific Python Development EnviRonment. This a powerful platform for any Data Scientist, as it includes a numerical computing environment from the support with IPython, and popular scientific libraries such as NumPy, SciPy and matplotlib. This python IDE is also capable of being used as a library to provide console-related widgets for PyQt based applications. One of the great features of this python IDE is direct links to Python, some of its libraries  and Qt documentation. Its editor includes standard features such as auto-completion and syntax colouring; as well as a debugger and code outline explorer. It is designed for scientific programming in python, and that is exactly what it does best.


Python IDE Notable Mentions:

  • Geany
  • Emacs
  • Eric Python IDE
  • Vim