Python IDE: great headache....

Don Taylor nospamformeSVP at
Sun Mar 12 02:44:22 CET 2006

Sullivan WxPyQtKinter wrote:
> IDLE is no longer satisfactory for me. Other IDEs make me very
> confused. Really do not know which one to use.
> I use WinXP sp2 for current development.
> So far as I know, Eclipse + PyDev + PyDev Extension is perfect for
> source code editing. Since I am really not sure how to use the debugger
> module, I really do not know how to add watch to variables etc. Anyone
> knows if this platform is a good one?
> I hope that an IDE should be featured with:
> 1. Grammar Colored highlights.
> 2. Manage project in a tree view or something alike, ie, a project file
> navigator.
> 3. Code collapse and folding.
> 4. Code auto-completion: especially prompting function parameters when
> I am typing a function previously defined by myself. Like the one in
> Visual Studio series.
> 5. Debugging: Breakpoints, conditional pause. watch for variables.step
> into, over and out of a function.
> What about other IDEs? Since I do not need GUI development. More over,
> the free-of-charge IDE is highly preferred.
> 6.Indentation management like in IDLE: press ctrl+[/] to modify the
> identation of a line or a block.

Eclipse + Pydev does most, if not all, of your list - I am not sure what 
you mean by conditional pause -  plus a whole lot more.  One feature in 
particular that I don't think that I could live without is "Local 
History" which automatically maintains a series of revisions of each 
file whenever it is saved.  This is coupled with a really nice built-in 
visual diff that allows you to look back on what changes you have made 
and restore them selectively.  It is a bit like a built-in SVN or CVS 
system (which Eclipse also has) but at a very fine granularity and 
completely automatically.  It allows you to be very agressive in making 
changes to files because it is so easy to wind the the clock back.

I like Eclipse, but lots of folks on the Python groups seem to hate it 
with a passion.

I think that the problem is that there are a lot of Eclipse concepts and 
terminology that you need to know before you can use it at all - it is 
puzzling to use right out of the box.  This is compounded by the fact 
that the Eclipse documentation and tutorials are aimed at the Java 
programmer, and even so it still seems to be hard for Java programmers 
to get started in Eclipse.  So it is even more difficult for Pythoneers. 
  If you have used Eclipse for doing some Java work then Eclipse + Pydev 
is a snap, except that you keep looking for some of the wonderful 
features from the Java Editor that are not yet implemented in Pydev.  If 
you have not used Eclipse for Java then you are likely to give up before 
you have discovered what it can do for you.

If you install Eclipse and try to use it without reading the Workbench 
User Guide then you are not going to get anywhere.

The one major missing Python feature in Pydev is an integrated Python 
Shell.  Fabio has implemented a sort of shell in the debugger that 
allows you to enter Python statements in the console when you are 
stopped at a breakpoint - which is really nice.  But you cannot use this 
in the traditional way to develop Python scripts.


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