There are lots of lists out there on good code editors and integrated development environments (IDEs) for programming in Python. But those articles are often aimed at full-time developers. In this article I want to show you the three IDEs I recommend to Python programmers that are a bit more casual in their programming, each of them with their own scenario in which they’re preferable.
Let me be clear, I’m not saying Spyder isn’t up to facilitating professional-grade work. Rather, I think it’s simple and intuitive design lends itself to beginners, while it’s focus on data science lends itself to a wide variety of professions. That’s why this is generally the IDE I recommend to beginners, office workers, researchers, data analysts, and related folk. If you want to work in Python and can’t decide on an IDE, it’s hard to go wrong with Spyder. It’s great whether you’re new programming, just need to bang out a few scripts now and then, or are a top-performing data scientist. You can check out my Spyder tutorial to get started.
Repl.it is my online IDE of choice. It allows you to code in a variety of languages, including Python 3, online for free, which is very useful if you often switch machines or can’t install an IDE locally. Being able to save your projects online is just one of its many features, and you can learn more on their blog.
It’s free to make an account, but you can actually try it out before you even do that, just go to repl.it/languages and select Python to get started.
If you’re brand new to programming, give Thonny a try, it’s designed specifically for you. It possesses only the bare minimum of features that help you learn to code, so you won’t waste any cognitive resources trying to figure out the IDE itself. And it’s simple debugger will hold your hand through every step of the code.
And if none of these float your boat, there’s always the Forbidden IDE. Try at your own risk.