Before we delve deeper into choosing the best Python IDE for Windows, let’s take a moment to summarize what Python is, for anyone unfamiliar with it. Python, explained in the shortest terms possible, is an object-oriented, interpreted, high-level programming language which incorporates dynamic semantics. It’s quite versatile, making it extremely attractive for Rapid Application development, as well as for use as a scripting language. Despite its versatility and adaptability, Python is surprisingly straightforward and easy to learn.
You can start using it with something as simple as your basic text editor or notepad, but you won’t be anywhere near its full potential and usability. For that, you need a complete Python IDE, full of useful features and add-ons. Choosing the right IDE can be daunting since it usually dictates the language’s efficiency and productivity. With a bit of research, however, you can opt for the right Python IDE for Windows Operating System which will suit your personal needs. To help you with that, we’ve compiled a list of the ten best IDEs out there.
1. Pydev with Eclipse
This is, in the eyes of many, the best Python IDE for Windows. The biggest reason for that? It’s free and easy to use. This makes it perfect for students and rookies who are just starting to learn the language. It’s an open source plugin for Eclipse which is easy to install as well, and if you’re already familiar with Eclipse, then the addon should feel right at home. It’s feature-rich, with the likes of Django Integration, full auto code completion, Integrated Python Debugging, smart intent, code analysis, error markup, code folding and bracket matching all being thrown in for absolutely free.
Consider PyCharm the big brother of Pydev. It’s a full-featured, commercial IDE for Python developed by the guys over at JetBrains. It’s a professional Python IDE used by nearly all top-level programmers, and it comes in two guises: the Free community Edition and the advanced professional edition aimed at enterprise developers. Companies such as Twitter, Spotify, and eBay have used, or are using, PyCharm Python IDE, making it a big plus. Even the free version comes loaded with all the features you’d expect out of a great Python IDE.
VIM is an advanced text editor which is extremely popular amongst the Python developers community. It’s an open source editor available for free under a GPL license, but it doubles as a fully-working Python IDE if properly configured. It’s modular and fast, best suited for those who prefer only working with the keyboard. The initial configuration is the most difficult part, but by no means impossible. It’s well worth the effort.
4. Spyder Python
Just like VIM, Spyder Python is an open source product, but unlike VIM, it’s a specific Python IDE, best suited for scientific python development. It was written in Python, and it too is available for free under the MIT license. It’s got all of the basic features, and it’s available for Mac and Linux, in addition to Windows. Although it’s a standalone IDE, it can also be used as a great PyQt extension library.
5. Komodo IDE
The Komodo IDE is a cross-platform IDE developed by ActiveState. It’s an IDE suited for a wide array of languages, one of which is Python. The full version is a commercial product, but an open source version is available. It’s named Komodo Edit, and it offers most of the same basic functions as the full-fledged version. The latest update made Komodo one of the best Python IDEs and it’s now up there with the likes o PyCharm and Pydev.
6. Wing IDE
Wing IDE is a commercial Python IDE developed by Wingware. It’s mostly aimed at professional developers, but students and rookies can give it a go if they’re okay with the slightly complex interface. Truth be told, the basic edition is free and easy to use, but the personal and professional editions are more powerful as well as complex, especially the ladder. Debugging is where this IDE shines. It’s got multi-process debugging, auto child process debugging, debugging of threaded code, code stepping, code inspection data, etc.
PTVS is essentially Visual Studio’s Pydev. It stands for Python Tools for Visual Studio, and the title says it all really. This addon transforms Visual Studio into one of the most powerful Python IDEs out there. It’s totally free, making it accessible to everyone. Although you will need to get used to it if you haven’t used Visual Studio, it’ll be worth it in the end.
Emacs is a really weird program on this list. It’s a GNU text editor which is extremely customizable and has an ecosystem of its own. Although not compatible with Python as standard, you can configure it into a really powerful Python IDE which is also free. Using extra packages and add-ons, you can add more advanced features as you progress.
9. Eric Python
Again, we encounter another open source best Python IDE for Windows which comes loaded with all of the needed features for powerful and efficient programming. The program was written only in Python, and it’s based on the Qt GUI toolkit. It also incorporates a powerful Scintilla editor control. Eric was developed by Detlev Offenbach, and it’s free to use thanks to the GPL license. Eric is amongst the most feature-rich IDEs out there, with a strong, solid plugin management system and ease of use.
10. Sublime Text 3 with Anaconda Python IDE
Sublime Text 3, on its own, is a great cross platform code editor. With great plugins such as the Sublime Python IDE, it can become a fantastic development environment. The Anaconda package, however, completely transforms the editor. It offers code completion and linting for Python, with all of the features needed for Python programming. It features plenty of themes, an extremely quick user interface and tons of extra features on top. It’s easy to configure and can be used by pros and amateurs alike. What’s not to like about it?
There are so many options to choose from. I know, a list of 10 just makes things a lot more confusing. However, the fact of the matter is that you will need to try out several software to find your best Python IDE for Windows. One way to shorten the list is to look for the specific features that you need.