In search of a Python IDE.

There is simply no good Python IDE under Linux. Yesterday night I tried searching for one and ended up empty handed, well amost. Under Windows the situation isn’t too good either. I mostly use PythonWin over there and it gets the job done, at least most of the time. Probably not as good as I would like but it does the job. Under Linux however the situation is even worse. There is no IDE, that can be used for serious Python development. Maybe it’s me, but I found it a little bit strange that such a popular language like Python would be lacking a proper IDE. To be fair the only thing that comes close to a good Python programming environment was Komodo Edit though it itself is rough around the edges.

KDevelop is kinda OK. Even though it is good for C++ development, it lacks proper support for Python. For one I couldn’t get the Python debugger working under KDevelop 🙁 . Also KDevelop uses Makefiles for its project management and that just made me run away from it rather quickly. Makefiles are just a little bit too much for a simple scripting like Python. The other editors/IDEs I tried were SPE, Eric, DrPython, Editra, Boa Constructor and Emacs. While most of the IDEs/editors are fairly decent, none of them are up to the mark. I would place gold o’l Emacs at number 3 since it does the job fairly well without crashing or major hiccups. Most of the other editors were either clunky or just simply crashed like way to often (, haven’t tried any commercial ones, sorry, strapped for cash here).

Komodo Edit is more like an editor that has partial support for Python. I haven’t managed to get the debugger working with it in a short while that I have used it (, no idea if you can actually do such a thing) 🙁 . But it seems the best bet for Python development under Linux (, if you want to use free software). The good thing about this editor is the fact that you can run custom commands. So you basically have to run your script via a custom command since the editor itself doesn’t provide a run command out-of-the box. The project layout; well there is none, you basically place everything under the project directory and the editor just picks it up in it’s tree window. Probably a little trivial, but come to think of it, what else do you need when it comes to Python. It’s not like you have compiler switches or linker optimizations that need to be performed. Besides such a setup means there is less complications running scripts from the command line since in Python all module paths are made relative to the script anyways. Overall, Komodo Edit is a good bet if you want to do quick and simple Python scripting under Linux.

6 thoughts on “In search of a Python IDE.

  1. Thanks 🙂 will try that. Actually I had kinda glanced over it, but I don’t have eclipse installed neither do I any experience with eclipse.

    Oh I can see it has an integrated debugger, good. Will definitely try it.

  2. The last time I used editra it was still a bit rough around the edges and it crashed on me once or twice. I don’t know about the latest version. Well it seemed to hold a lot of promise and did it’s job fairly well.

    As a matter of fact, now that I read the article again, I can see I have mentioned Editra in the entry above.

  3. I know that you may be looking for a free IDE, but after facing the same troubles as you, I decided to go for Wing Professional, and so far I’m quite satisfied. I’m using it on both Windows and Linux and so far, it’s the only IDE for Python that seems decent.

    And no, I’m in no way associated with Wingware.

Leave a Reply