Go-to IDEs & Code Editors for Python

Sunscrapers Team

15 November 2022, 6 min read

thumbnail post

What are IDEs and Code Editors?

First thing first - IDE and Code editor are two different things.

An Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is a software application that provides programmers with all the essential tools to develop software code efficiently.

Merging software editing, building testing, and packaging into easy-to-use applications definitely increases the developer’s productivity.

Code editor (or Text editor) is a lightweight tool that allows the developer to write and edit the code with features like syntax highlighting and code formatting.

As you can see, code editors provide fewer features than IDE. IDE is a much more complex tool than a code editor, and its main task is to support the entire software development process fully.

But… some code editors are so sophisticated and have so many valuable features that can replace an IDE. They are usually more lightweight and allow you to customize your software development experience.

The best Python IDEs and Code Editors

Python. Our favorite language. Loved and used by millions of programmers of all age groups.

We all know the importance of code editors and IDEs to write and execute your program. But choosing the right one.. is always a pickle.

Of course, we can’t decide what is best for you and your project, but we can help you make an informed decision. This piece will describe each IDEs and code editor best for Python.

If you are on a quest to find the best IDE or code editor for Python in the first step, answer these questions:

Go-to IDEs & Code Editors for Python - question table

In a second step, learn more about each of them. FYI, the following lists of the best IDE and code editors for Python are based on the opinions of Python developers at Sunscrapers.

List of best Python IDE

  1. PyCharm
  • It was created by JetBrains as a comprehensive IDE dedicated for Python.

  • There are two versions of PyCharm available:

a. Community - free, open source, lightweight, great for Python and scientific development.

b. Professional - paid version, full-featured IDE, support web dev.

  • What comes with it is everything a good IDE should provide - an intelligent code editor, navigation and refactoring tools, a debugger, and a test runner.

  • It is a perfect choice for you if you want to be more efficient and improve the quality of your code. Do not think twice if you operate in ML/AI, data science, and web dev.

  1. Spyder IDE
  • Open source, optimized mainly for scientific development.

  • Easiest way to start with Spyder is by installing Anaconda distribution. Anaconda is a popular distribution for data science and machine learning.

  • It integrates well with standard Python packages like NumPy, Pandas, SciPy, Matplotlib, etc.

  • Spyder IDE has an autocompletion, debugging, and iPython shell.

  • Special feature is Spyder’s “variable explorer” that allows you to display data using a table-based layout right inside your IDE.

  1. Thonny
  • Thonny is rather a newbie in Python’s IDE family and considered a tool for beginners. It is available for all major platforms, and installation instructions are available on the site.

  • It’s an IDE ready to roll thanks to installation with its own bundled version of Python. If you are more advanced, you may want to tweak some settings for already installed libraries to be found and in use.

  1. Eclipse + PyDev
  • Popular IDE can be used for Python development using the PyDev plugin. It is open source and available for Linux, Windows, and OS X.

  • It has a very rich availability of extensions and add-ons, which makes it useful for many development activities. One of these is PyDev (it enables Python debugging, code completion, and an interactive Python console).

  1. IDLE
  • It’s installed by default the moment you decide to install Python.

  • Major features include Python shell window (interactive interpreter), auto-completion, syntax highlighting, smart indentation, and a basic integrated debugger.

  • It is a good choice for learning - it is lightweight and easy to use. However, it is not suitable for large projects.

  1. Visual Studio (VS)
  • It is a full-featured IDE, free, open source, and lightweight, created by Microsoft.

  • It provides features like intelligent code completion, linting for potential errors, debugging, unit testing, and more.

List of best Python Code Editors

  1. GNU Emacs
  • It is one of the very first extensible, customizable, self-documenting, real-time display editors.

  • Available on every platform, it uses Lisp programming language for customization, and some of the customization scripts exist for Python dev.

  1. Sublime Text
  • It supports many other languages besides Python. It is fast, highly customizable, and has a vast community at its disposal.

  • It has essential built-in support for Python. However, you can customize it to create a full-fledged Python development environment.

  1. Atom
  • It is an open-source code editor made by Github, built on Electron, is small, downloads, and loads fast. It is labelled as the “hackable text editor for the 21st century”.

  • It is similar to Sublime Text - also highly customizable. You can install packages according to your needs.

  • It is characterized by a sleek interface, file system browser, and marketplace for an extension.

  1. Vim
  • Modal text editor, separating the viewing of a file from the editing of a file. It is pre-installed on every UNIX system and its derivatives like Linux, BSD systems or even Mac OS X. If you want to use it on Windows - you’ve to download it.

  • The plugins can be added for syntax highlighting, code completion, debugging, and refactoring. Because of that, it can be used as an IDE for Python.

  1. Visual Studio Code

Note: Do not confuse it with full Visual Studio!

  • VS Code is a small, lightweight, full-featured code editor available for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows platforms.

  • Open source, extensible, and configurable for almost every task. It is built on Electron (as Atom).

Final remarks

Only you can decide which Python IDE suits you. Here is our conclusion:

  • If you’re a Python newbie, you should try solutions with as few customizations as possible. In this case, the less (gets in the way), the better.
  • If you use text editors for other tasks, check out the possibilities of using code editor solutions.
  • If you’re already developing other software, you may consider adding Python’s capabilities to your existing toolset.

We hope that these short descriptions helped you make your choice. We strongly recommend reading more about IDE and code editors that caught your attention. The best sources to have your information are the official IDE and code editor’s websites - you can find the official documentation there and functional tutorials and videos.

Are you ready for your next project?

Whether you need a full product, consulting, tech investment or an extended team, our experts will help you find the best solutions.

Hi there, we use cookies to provide you with an amazing experience on our site. If you continue without changing the settings, we’ll assume that you’re happy to receive all cookies on Sunscrapers website. You can change your cookie settings at any time.