Noel Rappin Writes Here

Don't Ask Questions, It Only Encourages Him

Posted on December 3, 2006

Let me promote this from the comment section – it’s not hard to find, it’s the only comment on the previous post.

What is your favorite Python IDE? Your editor choices are interesting and valid but I wondered if you have a preffered IDE for Python and wxPython work?

I may have covered this somewhere, either on this site, or in the Python 411 podcast interview. If so, I’m sorry.

When I’m on a Windows machine, my Python editor of choice is JEdit, and has been for quite a while. I should say that I only rarely use the Python debugger and Jython interpreter add-ons that are available for it. I do have a couple of custom scripts that execute the script I’m working on and so on, but it’s not a very elaborate set-up. What I like about JEdit is that it has a clean interface, had familiar Windows keyboard shortcuts and menus, and had a lot of plugin and macro power. The main downside is that it’s kind of a memory hog for a text editor.

When I jumped Mac-side for my personal stuff, I tried just about every free programmer’s editor I could find (JEdit, like a lot of Java/Swing programs, behaves a bit oddly on a Mac). Finally, I somewhat reluctantly decided to pay for TextMate. Although Python-mode on TextMate hasn’t quite gotten the love and attention that Ruby has, there’s still a lot of power there. It’s really easy to script and customize, and it’s about the only editor I’ve seen that has dynamic mode. So that if you are writing, say, a Django template, TextMate knows the the HTML portion gets colored and edited under HTML scope, and inside the Django tags, you use Django/Python mode.

My main issue with the various IDE’s is that I haven’t seen a Python one where the gain in the IDE functionality makes up for the editor itself not being as powerful as my normal editor. Some of this is my personal workflow – using Python and test-first programming, it’s very rare for me to feel that I need a step-through debugger. I’m also not very fond of code-generating GUI builders, for reasons that are probably worth another post.

That said, one thing I do like when I’m in and IDE for whatever reason is the ability to specify a project and do useful things across project scope. (Both JEdit and TextMate have this ability, but not fully formed.) I’ve done some Ruby work using Eclipse with Ruby plugins, and it’s nice to, say, have one-button access to running all your unit tests.

That’s what works for me, but I’m always looking for new tools and finding out how other people work.


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