What is Python? It’s a simple, easy-to-learn programming language. And despite its name, pretty much everything you have seen in the movies has been written in Python! The reason for that is it’s a very readable and versatile programming language. Python was designed with the aim to be as “simple and clean” as possible and it did just that and more!
Python is a programming language that has been popularly used for developing websites and creating apps on a number of platforms including Android, PC, and Mac. It has a syntax that relies on indentation instead of enclosing code blocks in brackets or braces. Below are some free Python IDEs for Mac users worth checking out.
PyCharm. One of the best (and only) full-featured, dedicated IDEs for Python is PyCharm. Available in both paid (Professional) and free open-source (Community) editions, PyCharm installs quickly and easily on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux platforms. Out of the box, PyCharm supports Python development directly.
What is Python IDE used for
IDE stands for Integrated Development Environment. It’s a coding tool which allows you to write, test, and debug your code in an easier way, as they typically offer code completion or code insight by highlighting, resource management, debugging tools,… And even though the IDE is a strictly defined concept, it’s starting to be redefined as other tools such as notebooks start gaining more and more features that traditionally belong to IDEs. For example, debugging your code is also possible in Jupyter Notebook.
You can probably most clearly see this evolution in the results of the Stack Overflow Developer Survey below, which also includes these new tools, next to the traditional IDEs that you might already know; They all fall under the section “development environment”.
Because of all the features that IDEs have to offer, they are extremely useful for development: they make your coding more comfortable and this is no different for data science.
However, given the fact that there aren’t only the traditional IDEs to consider, but also new tools, such as notebooks, you might be wondering which development environment to use when you’re just starting out with data science.
Spyder is a Python-specific IDE designed for data scientists and ML engineers. It’s included with the Anaconda distribution that includes other popular Python libraries like Scikit-learn, Mumpy, Matplotlib, Scipy, and Pandas.
It includes great features like autocompletion, a powerful debugger, iPython shell, and limited data visualization tools. Spyder is specifically optimized for data science and therefore interfaces perfectly with all the top tools.
Spyder has fewer features than extensive IDEs like PyDev and rather focuses on providing a straightforward, easy-to-use tool for non-developers.
- Simple to install and integrate with top libraries
- Tailored to data science tools and needs
- Powerful debugging tools to help non-developers
- Limited functionality outside of data science
- Few customization options
You use Python solely for data science or machine learning and want an IDE with tools tailored to your coding needs.
PyDev is an open-source IDE plugin available for Eclipse, a popular Java IDE for open source development. PyDev comes with all of Eclipse’s built-in control and adds support for Python autocompletion, an interactive console, and debugging.
While not as featured or customizable as other Python IDEs, PyDev lets those already familiar with Eclipse get started in a fraction of the time it would take to learn a new tool. Those inexperienced with Eclipse will have a noticeable learning curve.
- Quick to pick up for current Eclipse users
- Optimized for Django web dev
- Includes support for Jython and Cython
- Limited in functionality as a simple plugin
- Noticeable learning curve due to Eclipse
You use Python as a secondary language for web development or open-source contributions and have some experience with Eclipse already.
Official website: https://www.jetbrains.com/pycharm/
Pycharm is an integrated development environment developed by JetBrains. It stands out from the competition because of its productivity tools, such as quick fixes. Available in three versions, the Apache-licensed Community version, the Educational (Edu) version, and the proprietary Professional version. The first two versions are open source and therefore free of charge, while the Professional version is paid
The Community version is very interesting because it has different features such as syntax highlighting, auto-completion, and live code verification. The paid version has more advanced features such as full database management and a multitude of more important Frameworks than the community version such as Django, Flask, Google App, Engine, Pyramid, and web2py.
- Active community support
- Live code verification and syntax highlighting
- Executes edits and debugs Python code without any external requirements
- Slow loading time
- The default setting may require adjustment before existing projects can be used.
If you’ve spent any amount of time in the open-source community, you’ve heard about Eclipse. Available for Linux, Windows, and OS X
at, Eclipse is the de-facto open-source IDE for Java development. It has a rich marketplace of extensions and add-ons, which makes Eclipse useful for a wide range of development activities.
One such extension is PyDev, which enables Python debugging, code completion, and an interactive Python console. Installing PyDev into Eclipse is easy: from Eclipse, select Help, Eclipse Marketplace, then search for PyDev. Click Install and restart Eclipse if necessary.
Pros: If you’ve already got Eclipse installed, adding PyDev will be quicker and easier. PyDev is very accessible for the experienced Eclipse developer.
Cons: If you’re just starting out with Python, or with software development in general, Eclipse can be a lot to handle. Remember when I said IDEs are larger and require more knowledge to use properly? Eclipse is all that and a bag of (micro)chips.
Developers like to use an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for various reasons. Some may prefer IDEs because of their ease-of-use while some will prefer IDEs because of their advanced features. Whatever the reason you want to select an IDE for your Python development, there are still some things you need to look out for when trying to find the best IDE for Python.
A window of opportunity has appeared for Python developers on macOS, thanks to PyCharm’s recent price change. The pricing change puts the full strength of PyCharm Professional Edition on par with JetBrains’ own Python IDE, PyCharm Community Edition—free for open source projects, and now for everyone else as well.