best text editor for programming Python on a Mac

Marko Rauhamaa marko at
Sat Jun 18 05:40:09 EDT 2016

Michael Vilain <mev94303y at>:

> "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.

That's a bit like asking what gender, nationality and religion you'd
prefer for yourself.

I mean, having used emacs since the mid-1980's, everything just seems to
be in the right place -- including typing this posting.

> - syntax coloring
> - parathesis/block matching
> - auto indent

Yes, in active use.

> - expansion of keywords, variables, subroutines

Never learned to need that.

> - integrated documentation so you don't have to lookup the syntax and 
> arguments of a function

I have seen that in action with eclipse and Java. It could never match
having a web browser window next to the editor window: <URL:>.

It would be nice if python provided a full set of man pages as well as
info documentation like C. Those are integrated into emacs.

> - 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)

Yes, in active use.

> - integrated compile, run & syntax checking (this is really a function 
> of an IDE)
> - interactive debugger (program stepping, expression & variable 
> evaluation, breakpoints, watchpoints, macros) [this is why I like perl]

As far as Python goes, emacs does have some elementary support for pdb.
Haven't found it all that practical, though.

> - extensibility to add features (lint or code formatting, special 
> framework, etc.)

Although they do exist for emacs, I'm not a big fan of special plugins
of any sort.

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

Emacs doesn't take up the whole screen. It integrates seamlessly with
the Unix way of doing things (but has some trouble with non-Unix culture
items like Java). It can be run perfectly fine in a text terminal
session. It takes care of all of your typing needs: when you type, type
in emacs. Shell, email, news, documentation (with ASCII graphics!),


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