Suggested improvements for IDLE (non-official)

Terry Reedy tjreedy at
Wed Jan 14 23:43:19 CET 2009

James Stroud wrote:
> 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.

My doc suggestions get accepted regularly, sometimes within hours.

I think the 'main' IDLE maintainer is no longer active.  I think someone 
who would do more than fix critical bugs might be welcome.

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