In this article I’ll be sharing my top 5 choices for best python IDEs and editors. Now all of these choices have their different pros and cons and different use cases. And of course this list is going to be according to my opinion, so my favorite may not be yours. And I would also love to see your favorites in the comments down below.
Difference between IDE and Editor
Now before seeing the list, let me make it clear what is the difference between an IDE and an editor.
An IDE (Integrated Development Environment), in general is a software with the sole purpose of making a programming language easier to code. What that means is that it comes with a lot of features and tools.
On the other hand, an editor, or a code editor is simple a software used for basic scripting / updating of code. And yes, it include Notepad too
Because of an lot of features and tools present in an IDE, it might be a little more CPU intensive than a code editor.
List of best python IDEs / code editors
Atom is a light weight free and open source IDE developed by Microsoft and github. It is very easy to use and can be really helpful for beginners.
It is compatible with many languages, including python.
Its interface is simple and intuitive and it also provides some of the very common features like debugger and syntax highlighting etc.
Spyder is one of the easiest python ide to work with. It has arguably the best auto – complete feature which saves you a lot of time. It does it by running a deep learning model while you are running the code. So its like someone(with brain) is helping you while writing code.
It has a great debugger, terminal and it comes with something called a variable explorer which essentially helps you to identify and modify different variables from a different interface, without actually looking in your (probably) messed up code. This makes coding even more cleaner.
It also comes with tons of unique plugins which I don’t think are provided by any other tool. For example an analytic tools (specially used for machine learning), data plotting tools, dedicated editors, spyder notebook (used to interact with jupyter notebook) and much more.
Here is how the interface of spyder looks like
In short words, it the smartest python IDE of all.
Jupyterlab is a web – based IDE. Along with python it supports many other languages like R and Julia too. It stores all your data in a server, which you can access any time using your web browser or internet. So first it terminates the need of installing every file in your computer.
Jupyterlab is great as it helps you break your code into smaller pieces of block. You can declare some variables in one block and test or see them in some other block. This is benficial if you are working on a task that requires consistent checking of variables and stuff. Like in the case of data science or machine learning.
One other thing that makes Jupyterlab stand out is its collaborating feature. Since everything is stored on the cloud, many people can work on a single project.
It also has some outstanding plugins which can make your task even more simpler. It has a wide variety of plugins as it supports plugins from third party too.
You can try jupyterlab from here.
Vscode is not an IDE, it an editor. Although with a few installs of extensions, it can result in a great python ide. Along with that vscode is one of the tools which is compatible with literally any programming language. Where some ide / editors are good with only a few, vscode is something you can use to write any kind of code, whether it is python, java, c, c++, R etc.
As a programmer, or any anyone else, you might wanna use only 1 tool to do all your work. And thats why vscode is one of my favorites.
Since it is created by microsoft, it already has a a lot of powerful extensions and plugins. Including plugins consisting of features of of the python ide like jupyter notebook.
Pycharm is my favorite python IDE out there. It is specially made for python and has some of the most powerful tools. It makes working with python a lot more easier than other python IDEs because it lets you do most of the processes through its GUI itself. From selecting a virtual environment to downloading packages.
It is the reason it is highly recommended for beginners in python. As it really simplifies most of the things. It is flexible and has some reasonably good tools and plugins.
While many might argue that it is not that flexible as vscode or jupyter notebook, and it is even very heavy weighted, I prefer pycharm as my python IDE is because it doesn’t make me compromise while coding at all ,which is the most important thing while programming. Pycharm’s interface makes your coding experience faster and is also great if you are working in some heavy weight project.
Pycharm has a free edition called the community edition. Which has more than sufficient tools, but it also comes with a paid one, called the professional edition, which consists of even more powerful tools which can be used for more advanced purposes.
Overall, pycharm is my personal favorite python IDE. I have been using it since the beginning and I still use it. I would recommend everyone to at least use it once.
So here was my top 5 list of python IDEs / editors. Tell me what you feel about it in the comments below.
At last everything comes down to your preference. I prefer pycharm because it has features which I value the most. Which includes the neatness of code. I also use VsCode sometimes.
Things might be different for you. You should try everything, and then decide which fits best for you.