[Tutor] While learning Py: To IDE or not to IDE?

boB Stepp robertvstepp at gmail.com
Sun May 20 22:01:48 CEST 2012

Programming background;
1975-1978: FORTRAN, BASIC, some machine language/assembler.
1988: A summer of FORTRAN.
Post-1988: No programming until past 1.5 yr.

FORTRAN was used during pursuit of physics degree. Others while
playing around developing games for minicomputers. Structured
programming paradigm the only one I've used.

Currently have been doing scripting in a custom scripting environment
at work to make my life easier. This is on Solaris-based systems. Have
recently augmented the custom scripting environment with Perl
scripting to give me more power and error-checking capabilities
(Others have started to use my scripts. They don't always use them as
I intended.). Perl is a new language for me.

Goals: Learn Python. While learning Python, learn all of the good
C.Sc. stuff that I should have learned the first go-around, Learn Java
and C/C++. Reevaluate.

At home where I will be doing the brunt of my study, I am working on a
W7 laptop.

Currently continue to work on scripting projects at work, replacing
Perl scripts with Python scripts. My wife, who is a Montessori
teacher, has immediate need of programs for her students. Have
currently outlined a design for a program to drill spelling words,
which will have to have audio record/playback capabilities. Hope to
get this and others done this summer before the new school year
starts. I am certain that my wife will continue to have new projects
for me as I complete the current ones. Hope to have educational
software solutions to my wife's requests that are usable whether the
students are at home or in class.

Finally to the question: With the stated goals above, would it be
better to invest time now at the front-end in learning a powerful IDE,
or am I better served, while learning Python, to stick with IDLE and
the shell and worry about an IDE later? I am willing to invest time
now on learning an IDE if it will save me time overall. IF it would be
beneficial now to learn an IDE, then it begs the question as to
whether I should search for the best IDE for Python, then later the
best one for Java, etc., or, instead, look for the best one that can
handle all of the languages I plan to learn and use.

Thanks for any guidance you can provide!

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