standard IDE in python 3000 (or beyond)? *semi-newbie*

mike kreiner mike.kreiner at
Thu Dec 30 23:22:12 CET 2004

Thanks for all of your comments. I didn't intend for this to turn into
a "which IDE should I use?" posting, but everyone's comments gave me
food for thought all the same, and convinced me to try Eclipse and
WingIDE. Please forgive me for this lengthy explanation of my view.

Much of my original question deals with perception as well as actual
functionality. I am a mechanical engineering undergrad who has never
taken a computer science class. I've spent 3 summers programming in VB
for a large biomedical company, and have used Matlab extensively in
school. I've also used fortran and c++, although not nearly as much. I
was immediately blown away by the clarity and elegance of Python
syntax, which combined with rave testimonies all over the internet made
me pursue Python despite some early difficulties. The first python
program i tried to write was for my summer job. I wanted to compare two
ridiculously large sets of data (1 GB of scientific junk), and display
the differences between the sets in a nice grid. long story short i
wasted a few days trying to figure out GUI stuff, and ended up
programming it in VB. from this first experience i perceived python as
elegant but difficult to implement for real world programs. I kept on
pursuing python, still attracted to its elegance, and now i'm writing
code for independent research in python. I have a feeling though that
not many people would keep trying to learn python after such a setback.

Before posting this thread I had tried all the free python IDEs i could
find, as well as toyed around with kdevelop's python features. i hadn't
tried Eclipse, but in installing and looking over it today i'm
impressed. this may be what i wanted, despite the size. earlier i was
afraid to try the WingIDE trial for fear that i'd really love it, and
in a moment of weakness end up spending $200 i dont really have. i just
installed it however, and the screenshots and info online make it look
great as well. still not a solution to the original problem though,
because it ain't free. IDLE is about as basic an IDE as i can imagine.
it serves its role, however new python users won't be nearly impressed
with it as they are the language. i know the language is the most
important thing, however next on the list should be development tools.
ideally, after installing just python, people should be blown away by
the tools that simplify development as well as blown away by the
language itself. the total python experience should leave people
wondering "why didn't anyone think of that sooner?"

VS is a beast, and i'm not recommending something that huge go into the
standard install, but has anyone here used Matlab? The Matlab IDE is
intuitive and simple. it has a basic version of all the standard
goodies: GUI, debugging, etc. (no built-in source control though, you
have to integrate it w/ another system, which is easy as well). it has
the familiar prompt window we know and love, plus other windows for
browsing objects, files, etc. I just flat-out like it better than the
other python IDEs i've tried, which all seem to have one or two of the
basic things either absent or too complicated to figure out. A
Matlab-like IDE (or something similar) doesn't seem like a monumental
leap from IDLE, so why isn't more emphasis in python development put
into making the entire python experience "batteries included?"

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