Who uses IDLE -- please answer if you ever do, know, or teach

Chris Angelico rosuav at gmail.com
Thu Aug 6 04:30:21 CEST 2015

On Thu, Aug 6, 2015 at 11:06 AM, Terry Reedy <tjreedy at udel.edu> wrote:
> There have been discussions, such as today on Idle-sig , about who uses Idle
> and who we should design it for.  If you use Idle in any way, or know of or
> teach classes using Idle, please answer as many of the questions below as
> you are willing, and as are appropriate

When I'm talking to my students about interactive Python on Windows,
I'll sometimes recommend Idle. It's not any sort of official thing,
but when they're having issues (particularly if they're tinkering with
a 'while' or 'for' loop, as Idle recalls those as coherent units
instead of fetching up individual lines), I'll point them to it as
another way to tackle a problem. Usually on Linux or Mac OS they're
better able to manage with the console interpreter and readline, but
Windows sucks so Idle has a bigger advantage (plus, a lot of Linux
distro-supplied Pythons don't include Idle, whereas I can be fairly
confident that a Windows Python will have it).

> 1. Are you
> grade school (1=12)?
> undergraduate (Freshman-Senior)?
> post-graduate (from whatever)?

I'm a high school dropout; my students probably cover all three of
those categories.

> 2. Are you
> beginner (1st class, maybe 2nd depending on intensity of first)?
> post-beginner?

Usually Idle is mentioned only in the context of the very early
explorations. After that, it's all "use a text editor, and then run
it", and students use whichever editors they like. Most don't ask
about editor options. Possibly I'd recommend Idle's editor mode in
some cases, but it's usually more convenient to have a single editor
which also understands HTML and CSS, as this is a web programming

> 3. With respect to programming, are you
> amateur (unpaid)
> professional (paid for programming)

Pro. A lot of my students are currently amateurs; a decent number are
professional and moving around in skillset. (Do you count as a pro
programmer if you're currently paid to work with Excel macros, and
you're learning Python so you can do better? Line gets blurry.)

If Idle didn't exist, it wouldn't kill what I'm doing, but it is a
convenient option to have around.


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