best text editor for programming Python on a Mac

Terry Reedy tjreedy at
Sat Jun 18 05:09:09 EDT 2016

On 6/18/2016 3:04 AM, Michael Vilain via Python-list wrote:
> In article <f632164f-11ce-4383-a268-db5c446450cb at>,
>  support at wrote:
>> use notepad++

To me, for programming only in Python, IDLE beats Notepad++.  Some 
features noted below.

> [pay no attention to the little windows troll behind the curtain]
> "best" is subjective.  Anytime someone wants the "best", I ask "what
> features are important to you that would make it the best" because I'm
> pretty sure what I find important wouldn't be what they find important.
> Things I've seen in a bunch of straight editors:
> - syntax coloring
> - parathesis/block matching
> - auto indent
> - expansion of keywords, variables, subroutines
> - integrated documentation so you don't have to lookup the syntax and
> arguments of a function
> - integration with code management systems (svn, git, github)
> - regular expression searching
> - multi-file regular expression search/replace
> - multi-pane/window diff/merge
> - programmability (e.g. write/store macros to perform repeatable tasks)
> - integrated compile, run & syntax checking (this is really a function
> of an IDE)

When compile of text in editor fails, the cursor is moved to the spot 
where indicated by the compiler.

When compile succeeds but there is a runtime error, one can jump from 
traceback to any of the file and line specified in the traceback.  This 
is *extremely* useful.

When one runs the integrated grep over part of the directory tree, one 
can jump to any of the file/line hits.

> - interactive debugger (program stepping, expression & variable
> evaluation, breakpoints, watchpoints, macros) [this is why I like perl]
> - extensibility to add features (lint or code formatting, special
> framework, etc.)

> What's the best? That's your homework.  Write 500 describing what is the
> Best editor and why.

Terry Jan Reedy

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