03Dec 2020

Best Python IDE & Code Editors For Developers in 2021

Developed in 1991, Python is one of the leading programming languages, used mainly for developing websites and software, scripting, and artificial intelligence.

You can use this language on multiple platforms like Mac, Windows, Raspberry Pi, and Linux, among others.

Many developers have embraced Python due to its simplicity, a wide collection of packages, seamless execution of programs, and other features and benefits. Indeed, it comes only second to JavaScript, on Github.

As of 2019, StackOverFlow Developer Survey ranked Python as the fastest-growing programming language; up to 41% of software engineers are using it. 

The best applications for Python are deep learning, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, among others. IDEs and code editors are also increasingly using this programming language for improved efficiency and productivity. 

To fully understand Python’s applications, we will discuss the definition of IDE and code editors, the best Python IDE and code editors for developers in 2021, and their features, advantages, disadvantages, and real-life examples.

What is Python IDE?

Integrated development environment (IDE) is a toolkit used by developers to design different software components.

It comes with automation tools, making it easier for developers to perform otherwise manual tasks like selection, integration, and deployment. Python IDE ensures improved productivity and efficiency in completing projects while at the same time, helping reduce typing errors.

It comprises the following tools:

  • A text editor
  • A code editor with code formatting and syntax highlighting
  • A compiler/interpreter
  • Assembly automation tools
  • Integrations and plugins
  • Testing and debugging tools

What is a Code Editor?

what-is-a-code-editor

A code editor comes with functionalities for developing and modifying (or editing) the programming language’s source code. The codes are a combination of reading human text and other programs.

However, since formatted notations like italics, fonts, and underlining are not included in the text, they are developed using the code editor.

Developers use the editors to format their code and highlight their syntax. These are simply text editing tools and plugins for improving the software development process and have lesser functionalities than the IDE.

The latter comes with additional application development features used in version control, code execution, compiling, auto-completion, refactoring, testing, debugging, and others.

A code editor’s programming-specific features include:

  • Code formatting
  • Multiple selections
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Split file editing and viewing

The 5 Best Python IDE for Developers in 2021

When starting a new project, developers have to choose the right tools to ensure a seamless process. Here, we will look at the best Python IDE for developers in 2020, their features, and their advantages and disadvantages.

1. PyCharm

pycharm
Image Credit: jetbrains.com

Created by JetBrains, this Python scripting tool can run on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. It is one of the leading IDEs enabling developers to apply various PyCharm application programming interfaces (APIs) to create Python plugins.

With this IDE, you can write maintainable and neat code, mainly due to its smart assistance functionalities. It has automated features, saving you time, and improving your productivity at the same time.

PyCharm comes in three versions – Apache Licensed Community, Educational (Edu), and Professional versions. You can acquire the first two for free (open-source), while the professional package is billable.

Features:

  • Used for code completion, inspection, and live code verification.
  • It has a smart code editor and navigation, and safe and secure refactoring.
  • It comes with a variety of database tools, including debugging, mentoring, deploying, monitoring, and testing.
  • It has multiple web development frameworks, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, web programming, Angular JS, Flask, and Django.
  • The paid version has more advanced vital frameworks and full database management capabilities.

Advantages:

It has active community support, which developers can access through the open-source and paid versions.

Features like syntax highlighting and code verification are also useful in executing edits and debugging the development code without the need for external tools.

Disadvantages:

PyCharm has a slow loading time. You might also have to modify the program’s default settings before using the existing products, consuming more time for your project.

The leading companies using PyCharm Python IDE include Lyft, Alibaba Travels, and trivago.

Use this link to download PyCharm.

2. Spyder

spyder
Image Credit: spyder-ide.org

Spyder is one of the best Python IDE for developers in 2020 because it is open-source, which is appealing to programmers seeking free code development tools. Developers can redistribute it as desired.

You can also enhance its usability with plugins and APIs.

Due to its debugging, editing, and data exploration capabilities, Spyder is suitable for engineers and scientists seeking advanced tools with robust scientific functionalities.

Features:

  • Advanced capabilities like syntax highlighting and auto code completion.
  • Easy to install and an intuitive developer interface.
  • Can be easily integrated with scientific use libraries, such as IPython, NumPy, SciPy, and Matplotlib, enabling developers to flexibly alter variables for a smooth line by line coding.
  • Enables developers to explore and edit GUI-based variables.

Advantages:

Using Spyder is beneficial because the support team is always available to clarify issues with programmers. The tool’s comprehensive documentation is also useful in fixing errors whenever they arise.

The scientific software version has visualization capabilities, including a documentation viewer, interactive console, and other development tools.

Disadvantages:

The main demerit of using Spyder is that some developers, especially newcomers, find the execution and optional dependencies challenging to use. 

Use this link to download Spyder.

3. PyDev

pydev
Image Credit: raspberrypi4u.blogspot.com

This IDE is written in Java though you can still use Eclipse to install the third-party Pydev plugin for use on Python.

PyDev is a stable, open-source programming language, enabling developers to execute their project life cycle effectively. It allows for code analysis, python code refactoring, and graphical pattern debugging.

Other advanced benefits include remote debugging of Python-based errors and instant fixing of bugs, among others.

Features:

  • It supports Unittest integration, Django integration, and PyLint integration.
  • Used for auto code completion and folding due to its auto-import functionality.
  • It has an effective remote debugger and syntax highlighting.
  • It also comes with robust capabilities like an interactive console, tokens browser, folding code, parser errors, and multiple languages.
  • Enables programmers to develop a Google App Engine (GAE) Python project.

Advantages:

Despite being written in Java, PyDev is easy to use because the plugin makes it compatible with Python.

It is also a free language, which comes with analysis and code completion capabilities, enabling programmers to develop and execute their projects successfully.

Disadvantages:

PyDev has a complex user interface, which some developers find challenging to work with. It can also be difficult for beginners to use Eclipse to download and install the PyDev plugin. 

The leading companies using PyDev Python IDE include Accenture, Webedia, Hike, and Edify.

Use this link to download PyDev.

4. IDLE

idle
Image credit: codersera.com

This cross-platform open-source IDE is a default language, which developers can easily find on Python without additional setup or installation.

It ranks among the best Python IDE for developers in 2020 due to its Python-integrated environment.

Many beginner-level developers and learning institutions use IDLE for practice because of its lightweight and easy-to-use functionalities; you can build projects like basic web scraping applications, web browser game automation, and office automation.

Since IDLE’s capabilities don’t suit advanced projects, it is always advisable to shift to a more advanced IDE once you learn the basics.

Features:

  • It is designed within Python and draws its graphical user interface (GUI) using the basic Tkinter toolkit.
  • Supports syntax highlighting for stack visibility.
  • It has a Python shell with a highlighter.
  • It is a cross-platform development language, making it flexible to use.
  • Multi-window code editor, suitable for call tips, undo, auto-completion, smart identification, etc.
  • An interactive interpreter with colorizing of output, input, and error messages.
  • It comes with a robust debugger with a global view, continuous breakpoints, and local spaces.
  • It supports program stepping, animation, dialog boxes, and editable configuration.

Advantages:

In addition to the mentioned basic features, IDLE’s integrated debugger has a call stack visibility, which increases developers’ performance. This language also enables developers to search within any window, multiple files, and use the windows editor to replace code or text.

Disadvantages:

Using IDLE can be disadvantageous because it lacks advanced capabilities, such as the inability to copy code to the dashboard. It also lacks project management facilities, though you can use it for projects requiring only a handful of files.

The leading companies using IDLE Python IDE include Wikipedia, Google, Yahoo, and NASA.

Use this link to download IDLE.

5. Wing

wing
Image Credit: codersera.com

Wing is a multi-platform IDE specially built for Python. It is easy to use and has multiple features, which enable developers to perform interpretation and debugging functions with ease.

The Wing Pro is a free trial version with full commercial use features, enabling professional programmers to test the language’s capabilities before buying.

The Wing Personal edition is paid but has a free version with lesser features for hobbyists and students. The Wing 101 version is also paid, but it comes with a simplified free package for programming beginners.

Developers seeking functionalities for commercial use should go for the paid editions, as they have more advanced features for testing and debugging codes efficiently.

Wing has a smart editor and robust debugger for improved development speed and accuracy, making it one of the best Python IDE for developers in 2020. 

Features:

  • It has a go-to definition enabling developers to move around the code, find application uses and symbols, edit symbol index, and perform multiple file search.
  • It supports multiple test-driven development, including pytest and Django testing.
  • It comes with remote development capabilities and is easily customizable.
  • It allows for line editing, auto code completion, and displays errors clearly.

Advantages:

Wing is a fast, stable, and lightweight cross-platform. The additional handling tab supports code debugging. Upon the expiry of the free version provides programmers about 10 minutes to migrate their application.

It also has a source browser for displaying the script variables, while the extract function on the refactor panel helps improve developers’ performance.

Disadvantages:

It does not support dark themes, which are preferred by many developers. Additionally, the commercial version can be costly; it can be as high as $179 per user per year, while a permanent commercial use license goes for $245 per user.

The leading companies using Wing Python IDE include Facebook, Apple, Google, and NASA.

Use this link to download Wing.

The 5 Best Code Editors For Developers in 2021

1. Atom

atom
Image credit: codersera.com

Atom is a lightweight and cross-platform Python code editor, which was developed by Github. It comes with multiple features, built-in CSS, HTML, CSS, and Node.js.

It’s a versatile text editor and is built on an electron framework (a platform for developing desktop applications).

With continuous improvements on factors, such as latency time, Atom has become one of the best code editors for developers in 2020.

Features:

  • Its built-in Package Manager supports third-party packages.
  • It supports collaboration between developers.
  • It has multiple user experience-extending versions.
  • Supports access to multi-pane files and smart code completion.
  • Easily customizable interface.

Advantages:

Atom is a lightweight text editing tool, which also comes with a well-documented support library and community-driven user experience. It has an easy-to-use syntax highlight and auto-completion tools for improved coding.

Disadvantages:

Due to frequent updates, this code editor now consumes a sizable memory and excess RAM. You will also be required to perform some modifications in Atom’s settings before using it.

More improvements are required to enhance system latency and the ability to handle large code files.

The leading companies using Atom Python code editor include Hubspot, Figma, Accenture, and Lyft.

Use this link to download Atom.

2. Visual Studio Code

visual-studio-code
Image credit: stackify.com

Visual Studio Code is an advanced cross-platform code editor developed by Microsoft. It is very easy to customize, and developers can apply it in multiple programming languages, including Python.

Programmers use this code editor for smart debugging, plugin support, and customization to improve core features.

Developers use Visual Studio Code to run and debug project tests on pytest, unittest, and nose frameworks.

Features:

  • It supports code refactoring.
  • It has an integrated terminal.
  • It has an IntelliSense for smarter completion and code highlight.
  • Comes with intuitive debugging functionalities.
  • Supports seamless implementation on Azure. 

Advantages:

Visual Studio Code is free. It also has active community support and regular updates, making it one of the best Python code editors for developers in 2020.

Disadvantages:

It has multiple plugins, which can make it challenging to find the right one. It also takes longer to launch the code editor, making it less suitable for handling large files of code.

The leading companies using Python’s Visual Studio Code editor include the Delta Group, Focus Ponte Global, and National Audubon Society.

Use this link to download Visual Studio Code.

3. Sublime text

sublime-text
Image credit: codersera.com

Sublime Text supports multiple programming languages, Python included. It enables developers to add their preferred options through community-built and licensed plugins.

This cross-platform source code editor comes with various visual customization themes and a clear user interface (free of distractions).

The package manager enables users to extend the code editor’s core functions using plugins.

Features:

  • Users can open files and search for words and signs with a few clicks (GOTO feature)
  • It has up-to-date plugins available through the Package Manager.
  • It allows file auto-save.
  • It comes with code auto-completion and syntax highlight.
  • Supports simultaneous code editing.

Advantages:

Sublime Text has a distraction-free user interface and allows developers to split their edits. It also comes with a fast and high-powered editor. The cross-platform software is highly customizable and offers great compatibility with the user’s language grammar.

Disadvantages:

This code editor can be annoying because it has pop-ups promoting the sublime license. The package manager is also not easy to navigate. 

The leading companies using Python’s Sublime text code editor include Starbucks, Stack, Trivago, and Zapier.

Use this link to download Sublime text.

4. Vim

vim
Image credit: softwaretestinghelp.com

With more than 25% users, VIM is one of the most preferred and best python code editors for developers in 2020. It is highly reliable and continuous improvements have made it more efficient.

This IDE code editor allows programmers to manipulate text files and perform powerful edits. It has three basic modes, which include the Insert, Command/Normal, and Command-Line mode.

Due to its efficiency during coding, many programmers see Vim as a complete IDE.

Features:

  • It has extensive plugins.
  • It has a vast level of support for multiple programming files and languages.
  • It has robust integration, and search and replace capabilities.
  • Supports searches, smooth integration, and replace functions.

Advantages:

Vim has two modes for users to work (normal/default and editing mode), which makes it flexible. It also has a scripting language of its own, enabling developers to edit and customize behavior and functionalities.

It can support non-programming applications while its strings can be saved and reused as per the user’s preference.

Disadvantages:

Since it is used solely as a text editor, Vim lacks multiple color coding for its pop-ups. The easy learning curve is also challenging, especially for beginners. 

The leading companies using Python’s Vim code editor include Stack, Lyft, Alibaba Travels, and Typeform.

Use this link to download Vim.

5. Emacs

emacs
Image credit: zwodnik.com

Emacs is a free and fully customizable code editor whose Lisp programming language is used for Python development.

The software’s developer, Richard Stallman, insisted on having a free code editor, which has led to the development of many versions of Emacs, such as GNU.

GNU Emacs has several customizable scripts, which allow for development in Python and other programming languages. The Elpy extension is also available on Emacs to support Python projects.

Features:

  • Emacs Lisp supports multiple advanced tasks, such as compiling programs, writing, internet surfing, reading emails, and discussion forums.
  • Supports syntax highlighting to differentiate document elements like comments and keywords.
  • Enables users to automatically indent files for consistent formatting.

Advantages:

Emacs is a free and fully customizable programming tool. It also enables users to automatically insert elements in their documents, including newlines, spaces, and brackets.

Additionally, it comes with a 24-bit color encoded support for all support terminals.

Disadvantages:

Beginners in programming may have difficulties using Emacs because it has advanced features and functionalities.

The leading companies using Python’s Emacs code editor include Stack, Chime, Accenture, and Bukalapak.

Use this link to download Emacs.

Conclusion

Python is one of the leading programming languages for developing websites and software, scripting, and artificial intelligence.

 Integrated development environment (IDE) is a toolkit for designing different software components, such as selection, integration, and deployment.

On the other hand, code editors are used in developing and modifying (or editing) the programming language’s source code.

In this article, we have discussed the best Python IDE for developers in 2020, which include PyCharm, Spyder, PyDev, IDLE, and Wing. We have also discussed the top 5 code editors, which are Atom, Visual Studio Code, Sublime Text, Vim, and Emacs.

These IDE and code editors come with multiple features, advantages, and disadvantages, which help developers choose the best ones for their project needs.

You can download and install the recommended Python IDE and code editors either on Mac, Windows, Raspberry Pi, or Linux to derive the best results for your project. 

Acodez is a renowned web development company and web application development company in India. We offer all kinds of web design and Mobile app development services to our clients using the latest technologies. We are also a leading digital marketing company providing SEO, SMM, SEM, Inbound marketing services, etc at affordable prices. For further information, please contact us.

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Jamsheer K

Jamsheer K

Jamsheer K, is the Tech Lead at Acodez. With his rich and hands-on experience in various technologies, his writing normally comes from his research and experience in mobile & web application development niche.

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