Best IDE for Python

Best IDE for Python

Python is a general-purpose programming language used in multiple areas like Data Science, Web Development, Machine Learning, Automation, etc.

Like any other programming language, we need a software environment to write and debug Python code. We also need an interpreter to translate Python code as it is an interpreted language.

This brings us to IDE (Integrated Development Environment): a software environment where you can write code, a compiler/interpreter for you to run code, and a debugger to find errors in the code.

IDEs are essential to software development, as an IDE can make or break a software development process. In the case of Python, we can use IDEs like Visual Studio Code, PyCharm, IDLE, etc.

In this blog, we will recommend some of the best IDE for Python and provide you with our top pick. So, if you want to learn more, continue reading.


What Are IDEs and Code Editors?

As we mentioned earlier, an IDE is a software development tool that integrates a compiler or interpreter, a code editor, and a debugger to provide an environment for software development in a specific language.

Thus, IDEs possess features that ease the job of programmers. On the other hand, a code editor provides an environment where you can write and save code.

Although some code editors have compilation or interpretation features, most code editors only provide syntax highlighting and code auto-complete.

With that out of the way, let us now look at some of the best Python IDEs.


10 Best Python IDEs

There are many Python IDEs with unique sets of features. Out of all the IDEs, we have discussed the top 10 IDEs here:

Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is a code editor, but it can also be used as an IDE because you can install different compilers and interpreters with extensions.

Here are some of the features of VS Code for Python developers:

  • VS Code can be configured with a Python interpreter.
  • Debugging Python code is also quite easy with Visual Studio Code.
  • Syntax highlighting is another excellent feature of VS Code. With syntax highlighting, the code becomes easily readable.
  • The auto-complete feature of VS Code recommends possible code to programmers.
  • VS Code integrates with GIT so that users can perform GIT operations like push, pull, commit, etc.

PyCharm

PyCharm is a dedicated IDE for Python. It is available in both paid and open-source editions. We can install PyCharm quickly on different platforms and run Python code instantly.

Since PyCharm is a dedicated IDE for Python, it comes pre-loaded with everything you need to run Python code. You don't have to install extensions manually. PyCharm also supports Python projects and has a strong community of developers to help you out.

Atom

Atom is a customizable code editor that can also work as an IDE, thanks to extensions. You can hack this code editor and customize it any way you want.

The package manager in Atom is extensive, which lets you install compilers and interpreters of multiple languages.  

In the case of Python, there is a dedicated Python package named 'ide-python' that you can install with Atom.

Thonny

Thonny is an excellent IDE for Python beginners mainly because the IDE features a lot of Python-centric features.

Indentation can be annoying at times while coding in Python. Thonny indents your Python code automatically. Thonny also provides an excellent debugger that is simple to use.

In addition to this, auto-completion and code highlighting are also available in Thonny.

Sublime Text

Sublime Text is a simple, fast, and popular code editor with out-of-the-box Python support. It is also compatible with all major operating systems.

Some features of Sublime Text include:

  • In-built package manager to install additional packages.
  • Integration with Git.
  • Syntax Highlighting.
  • Auto-code completion and more.

Vim

Vim is a text editor capable of creating and modifying all text types. Programmers like to use Vim because it is very efficient and can run as a small program in the terminal.

Some of the features that make Vim so popular not only for Python developers but for all types of programming languages are:

  • Highly configurable, as Vim comes with a massive number of extensions.
  • Vim has a GUI option if you want to use it in a more straightforward manner.
  • Syntax Highlighting is available.
  • Vim is easy to learn because of its excellent documentation.
  • Vim also has a vibrant community of developers.

Spyder

Spyder is an open-source Python IDE that is used in data science. This IDE integrates pretty well with Python libraries like SciPy, NumPy, etc.

Aside from this, Sypder has other standard IDE features like Syntax Highlighting, Code Completion, and more. If your goal is to become a data scientist, this is the best IDE.

Jupyter

Jupyter notebook is an easy-to-use IDE for data science enthusiasts. It supports Python's data science libraries and comes with features such as:

  • live code sharing
  • numerical simulation
  • support for data visualization and statistical modeling
  • HTML integration and more

IDLE

IDLE (Integrated Development and Learning Environment) is the default Python development environment. You get an automatic IDLE installation when you install Python.

This IDE is quite simple and is used primarily by beginners to learn Python. IDLE has the following features:

  • It is cross-platform, meaning a beginner programmer can use it in all operating systems.
  • IDLE also has a multi-window text editor and a powerful debugging tool.
  • One of the main features of IDLE is automatic indentation, which makes learning Python more fun.

GNU Emacs

GNU Emacs is a text editor primarily designed for Linux systems but is also available for Windows.

You can use the Elpy extension in GNU Emacs to run Python code. Emacs has features such as automatic indentation, syntax highlighting, and more.


Requirements for a Good IDE

Before selecting an IDE, it is crucial to understand what you need to look for. An IDE can be considered "good" if it provides the following features:

Syntax Highlighting

IDEs that highlight the code with different colors are extremely useful, since they allow programmers to read the code more easily.

Learning to code also becomes more accessible when the syntax is highlighted with the correct colors. Most IDEs have syntax highlighting installed, but a few might not have this feature.

So keep this requirement in mind when selecting an IDE for Python.

Automatic Code Completion

You will be mistaken if you think programmers know all the syntax of a programming language. It is not possible to know everything.

So, automatic code completion is a great tool as the IDE will suggest the complete code or syntax as you write your program. Make sure the IDE you choose has this feature.

Extensions

Extensions allow IDEs and code editors to add additional features. For instance, VS Code doesn't run Python code by default, but we can install an extension for a Python interpreter.

Debuggers

Debugging is another area where an IDE has to shine. A proper debugger will save you a lot of time while programming. So, always try to go for an IDE with an appropriate debugger.


What Does Programiz Recommend?

At Programiz, we use Visual Studio Code for Python and recommend this IDE to both beginners and professionals.

Visual Studio Code has many features that make it an excellent IDE for multiple programming languages (including Python).

You can install extensions of multiple languages in Visual Studio Code and integrate Git and GitHub into it. In addition, you get all the necessary features like syntax highlighting, debugging, and a marketplace with more than 20,000 extensions.

Aside from this, Visual Studio Code is not a full IDE but a code editor, so it is much faster than other full-fledged IDEs like PyCharm.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which is the best Python IDE for Mac?

Since using Visual Studio Code (a Microsoft product) doesn't make sense on a Mac, the next best option is to use PyCharm, which is still an excellent IDE for Python.

2. Which is the best Python IDE for Windows?

Visual Studio Code is easily the best IDE for Windows. It is free to use and incorporates multiple features like extension support, code highlighting, auto-completion, and more.

3. Which Python IDE should I use for Linux?

If you are using Ubuntu, IntelliJ is easily the best Python IDE. For other Linux distributions, you can go with PyCharm and GNU Emacs.  

4. Which Python IDE is best for beginners?

Beginners can try either IDLE or Thonny to learn Python. If you don't want to install a Python IDE, you can try our online python interpreter to learn the language.

5. Which is better for Python: PyCharm or VS Code?

VS Code provides you with all the features in PyCharm and runs much better. The Professional Edition of VS Code is also cheaper than that of PyCharm, which makes it a better option.

6. What is the best free Python IDE?

IDLE, the default Python IDE, is the best one as it is free with no strings attached. Most other IDEs have certain conditions on their free version.