A survey of Python IDEs

Alan Green web.mail at lycos.com
Fri Aug 17 06:46:35 CEST 2001

I've been looking at Python IDEs over the last week, and this is what
I've found. On the theory that other people might be interested, here
are the results...

1. IDLE - comes with the standard Python distribution. USD0.00

2. IDLEfork <http://idlefork.sourceforge.net/> "just like IDLE, only
crunchy". An experimental fork of IDLE. USD0.00

3. PythonWin - comes with ActiveState Python. Based on IDLE. Has a
couple of nice, extra features, but basically the same animal. USD0.00

4. Komodo - ActiveState's cross-language IDE. Looks like it would be
really cool if you were working on a Perl/Python/XSLT/PHP system.
Otherwise, PythonWin probably does what you want. USD295 a throw.

5. PythonWorks Pro - from SecretLabs. Very cool looking IDE. Has a
layout editor for Tk. USD395 a seat. Might take a few days to get the
hang of.

6. BlackAdder - from TheKompany. Has all of the features of IDLE +
support for Ruby + GUI editor for Qt.
<http://www.thekompany.com/products/blackadder/> USD250 a go.

7. VisualPython - from ActiveState. A Python plug-in for Visual
Studio.NET Beta 2. Still in Beta itself. USD0.00 at the moment.

All of these IDEs have a debugger. None support multi-threaded
debugging :-(, although the VisualPython documentation threatens to.

Despite these IDE's, it seems that most Python developers use a text
editor to program Python. Here are three theories about this:

a. Python is the kind of language that doesn't need a lot of tool

b. The IDEs that are there are fairly primitive compared to VC++ (the
yardstick against which all other IDEs seem to be measured)

c. Python programmers are the kind of people that don't use IDEs.

If you develop or sell or otherwise know of a Python IDE that is not
listed, please feel free to chime in. If I have listed your IDE, but
missed out an amazing feature, please mail me ('avgreen' at 'avaya'
dot 'com'), and I'll summarise to the list.



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