Best Python editor (under Linux)

Dan L. Pierson dan at
Fri Jan 3 21:04:50 CET 2003

On Fri, 03 Jan 2003 14:10:39 +0000, Peter Hansen wrote:

> Harry George wrote:
>> Let's stay on topic, which is editing for python.
>> I've trained up a dozen or so newbies on python over the last few
>> years.  I always offer them the option of their favorite editor.  We
>> get some vim, emacs, nedit, notepad, idle, jot, and others I can't
>> remember.  But when it gets serious, as in XP sessions (two people on
>> one keyboard), the emacs guys are far more productive.  As far as I can
>> tell, the vim guys are faster keystroke-by-keystroke, but the emacs
>> guys are more productive overall.  The notepad guys weren't productive
>> enough to be a fair sampling of the editor itself (they weren't really
>> programmers).  I haven't seen enough experienced idle or scintilla
>> people to have an opinion there.
> To avoid interpreting your comments as pure mysticism, I would need to
> know specifically what features you find to be "far more productive"
> with emacs.

> On the other hand, moving from a trivial editor like Notepad in Windows,
> to something with proper automatic indentation gives me a huge increase
> in productivity, especially with Python.

Correct automatic indentation is a huge win.  In some ways it's even
bigger with languages like C where a simple indentation error can produce
code that behaves differently that it appears.

Other Emacs features that I find improve my productivity a lot:

1. Multiple windows in the Emacs sense (i.e. multiple panes of one
window).  Especially multiple windows showing different parts of one
file.  Way too many editors only let you look at one part of a file at a
time -- I find this causes me to either waste a lot of time moving around
the file or sacrifice readability for speed (and come back later and fix
it up).

2. IMenu!  That is an index menu of every function, class and method in
the file that is constantly available and quickly updatable.  Speedbar
is essentially the same thing with a more "Visual Studio" like look but
I find it slower, YMMV.

A few years ago I would have added the immediate execution features and
shell buffers.  Now I find that I frequently do that stuff in a separate
terminal window.  Maybe all those years of Windows without proper
subshell support in my Emacs caused some brain damage? :-)

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