Suggested improvements for IDLE (non-official)

James Stroud jstroud at
Wed Jan 14 22:51:53 CET 2009

r wrote:
> I actually like the IDLE, but it could use a few improvements. If
> anybody else has suggestions by all means post them.
> 1.) The text widget and the prompt(>>>) should be separated. Trying to
> write a conditional in the interactive IDLE is a real PITA. Not to
> mention if you copy the working code snippet to the IDLE editor window
> the indention is 8 spaces instead 4 AND you've got that prompt(>>>)
> stuck in there. I have a solution for the problem though.( I hope you
> all are using fixed-width font)
> frm |<---------------------text widget ----------------->
>>>> |
>>>> |if this == 1:
> ... |    if that == 2:
> ... |        #do
> ... |    elif that ==3:
> ... |        #do
> ... |    else:
> ... |        pass
>>>> |
>>>> |x = 10

Brilliantly put. This is probably the main reason that IDLE is not worth 
using. Good luck on getting this changed. Best is to find yourself 
another IDE. Try vim.

> Basically you have a Listbox on the left for the prompt and a Text on
> the right. Disable the Listbox highlight and key press events and now
> we have a very friendly interactive IDLE! No more prompt hijacking
> your snippets, and no more 8 space indention!

Excellent suggestions are a dime a dozen. Finding people to implement 
them is slightly harder. Getting said suggestions accepted into the 
python distribution is nearly impossible. Accept what you are given and 
try vim.

If you really want a cool IDE, try Leo. It had some bugs about 4 years 
ago when I tried it, but I'm sure they have been worked out now. I'm 
addicted to vim, but if I wasn't, I'd probably be using Leo.


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