[Baypiggies] What am I missing using a text editor with some good Python features instead of an IDE?

Shannon -jj Behrens jjinux at gmail.com
Tue Mar 6 19:39:14 CET 2012

On Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 10:19 AM, Paul Hoffman <paul.hoffman at gmail.com>wrote:

> Hi again. I use BBEdit on the Mac and love it for editing all sorts of
> text files. It does a very nice job with Python programs: it handles
> indentation well; it shows me balanced opens when typing closing ), ],
> and }; it has a drop-down for all the subroutine names, and a few
> other things.
> However, I haven't used any of the free/paid Python IDEs, and I
> realized that I might be missing some Really Cool Features that would
> cause me to use an IDE for my Python work and my text editor for the
> rest of the text work (like the HTML files documenting the Python...).
> What useful features am I missing?
> Yes, this could cause a "my IDE is best" war, but I think some of us
> on the sidelines would benefit. :-)

The exact same conversation just happened on the SF Ruby Meetup mailing
list.  Here's a link (http://www.sfruby.info/messages/30916602/).
 Unfortunately, Meetup doesn't have a threaded view of the mailing list.

Here's a summary of my opinion on the subject:

 * Lots of people still like Vim.

 * Lots of people are using the new Janus set of plugins for Vim.  I tried
it, and it didn't bring me joy at all.

 * Emacs seems to be more popular for Python than for Ruby.

 * Sublime Text 2 is an up-and-coming popular contender in the text editor
wars among Ruby users.  I'm a Vim diehard, but I've been using Sublime Text
2 for a few weeks now. Beware, it's commercial.

 * TextMate has traditionally been the editor of choice for Rails

 * As far as I can tell, IntelliJ is the best IDE for Java, PyCharm is the
best IDE for Python, and RubyMine is the best IDE for Ruby.  They're all
from the same company.  They all cost money.

 * There are lots of things that a good IDE can do that a text editor can't.

 * Generally, an IDE speeds up my development workflow in many ways, but
using Vim's keybindings speeds up my text editing.

 * PyCharm's Vim keybindings are okay, but not fantastic.  PyCharm's editor
isn't very sophisticated.

 * There are lots of ways in which Python and Ruby reduce the effectiveness
of a good IDE.  I.e. it's less useful for Python and Ruby programmers than
it is for Java programmers.

 * PyCharm and RubyMine really are amazing.  I encourage you to watch the
videos on the website to get a feel for what they can do.

 * PyCharm and RubyMine aren't without flaws.  They are big software.
 Sometimes they don't work as promised.  Sometimes they hang.  Sometimes
they crash.  They almost always eat lots of memory, although that's less
relevant these days since I have so much memory.

 * In my own experience, PyCharm and RubyMine can help you write software
quicker and more correctly, and they can also help you refactor software
quicker and more correctly.  However, when it comes down to moving and
tweaking text, you can't beat Vim.

 * There was a great IDE panel at last year's PyCon.  PyCharm came out on
top.  Most Python programmers don't care.

 * Sublime Text 2 is easier to use, easier to learn, and has more *built
in* power than Vim and Emacs.  Sure, Emacs lets you do anything with Emacs
Lisp.  Sublime Text 2 lets you do "anything" with Python and/or the
external programming language of your choice.  It is compatible with
TextMate bundles.  It has many tricks that other editors fundamentally lack
(such as multiple cursors, a 10,000 foot view of your code, and the ability
to guess at what the right indentation settings for a random file are).

 * NetBeans with the jVi plugin is a good compromise of IDE functionality
with very good Vim keybindings, if that floats your boat.

 * I just can't get into Eclipse no matter how hard I try.  PyCharm is
simply better.

Ok, I will now don a fireproof vest and hide in an undisclosed location.  I
really do love talking about editors and IDEs.  It's too bad the subject
always devolves into flame wars.

Best Regards,

In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with
great love. -- Mother Teresa
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