[Python-Dev] Replacing IDLE

Greg Ewing greg.ewing at canterbury.ac.nz
Wed Nov 11 07:07:56 CET 2009

anatoly techtonik wrote:

> why not to replace it with something that you can actually use, with
> something that is at least extensible? So people will be interested to
> learn and contribute.

IDLE is written in Python, so it's about as extensible
as you can get.

Seems to me the only kind of IDE that it makes sense to
ship with Python is one that is written in Python and
maintained by the core developers. Anything else is best
left as a third party package for download by those
who want to use it.

Tkinter is arguably not a very good basis for it from a
technical point of view, but so far all the alternatives
are too bloated and/or nonportable to consider bundling
with the standard distribution.

So the only realistic alternatives at the moment seem
to be either IDLE+Tkinter or nothing.

Quite likely most experienced developers use something
else, and wouldn't care if IDLE were removed and not
replaced with anything. But there are benefits to having
a standard, lightweight IDE present in most Python
installations. Books and tutorials can be designed around
it, for example, with fairly high assurance that it will
be available to beginners who aren't comfortable finding
their way around text editors and command shells.

So, I'd say that, like democracy, it's not very good, but
it's better than any of the alternatives. :-)


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