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Asking as a Python beginner, what IDEs ("GUIs/editors") do others use for Python coding?

If you can just give the name (for example, Textpad, Eclipse ..) that will be enough. If it is already mentioned, you can just vote for it.

But if you can also give some more comparative information, that will be much appreciated.

Update: Results so far

                                       Rapid Application Development -.
                                           Integrated DB Support -+   |
                                                GUI Designer  -+  |   |
                                             Unit Testing -+   |  |   |
                                        Code Templates -.  |   |  |   |
                                       Code Folding -+  |  |   |  |   |
                           UML Editing / Viewing -+  |  |  |   |  |   |
                              Line Numbering -+   |  |  |  |   |  |   |
                         Bracket Matching -+  |   |  |  |  |   |  |   |
                          Smart Indent -+  |  |   |  |  |  |   |  |   |
         Source Control Integration -+  |  |  |   |  |  |  |   |  |   |
                   Error Markup  -+  |  |  |  |   |  |  |  |   |  |   |
  Integrated Python Debugging -+  |  |  |  |  |   |  |  |  |   |  |   |
    Multi-Language Support -+  |  |  |  |  |  |   |  |  |  |   |  |   |
  Auto Code Completion -+   |  |  |  |  |  |  |   |  |  |  |   |  |   |
 Commercial / Free --+  |   |  |  |  |  |  |  |   |  |  |  |   |  |   |
 Cross Platform -+   |  |   |  |  |  |  |  |  |   |  |  |  |   |  |   |
 BlackAdder     |Y | C |  |   |  |  |  |Y |  |  |   |Y |  |  |   |  |   |
 BlueFish       |L |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |  |  |   |  |  |  |   |  |   |
 Boa Constructor|Y | F |Y |   |Y |Y |  |Y |Y |Y | Y |Y |Y |  |   |  |   |
 ConTEXT        |W | C |  |   |  |  |  |  |  |  |   |  |  |  |   |  |   |
 DABO           |Y |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |  |  |   |  |  |  |   |  |   |
 DreamPie       |  | F |  |   |  |  |  |  |  |  |   |  |  |  |   |  |   |
 Dr.Python      |  | F |  |   |  |Y |  |  |  |  |   |  |  |  |   |  |   |
 Editra         |Y | F |Y | Y |  |  |Y |Y |Y |Y |   |Y |  |  |   |  |   |
 Emacs          |Y | F |Y | Y |Y |Y |Y |Y |Y |Y | Y |Y |Y |Y |   |  |   |
 Eric Ide       |Y | F |Y |   |Y |Y |  |Y |  |Y |   |Y |  |Y |   |  |   |
 E-Texteditor   |W |   |  |   |  |  |  |  |  |  |   |  |  |  |   |  |   |
 Geany          |Y | F |Y*| Y |  |  |  |Y |Y |Y |   |Y |  |  |   |  |   |* very limited
 Gedit          |Y | F |Y¹| Y |  |  |  |Y |Y |Y |   |  |Y²|  |   |  |   |¹ with plugin ² sort of
 Idle           |Y | F |Y |   |  |  |  |  |  |  |   |  |  |  |   |  |   |
 JEdit          |Y | F |  | Y |  |  |  |  |Y |Y |   |Y |  |  |   |  |   |
 KDevelop       |Y | F |  | Y |  |  |Y |Y |Y |Y |   |Y |  |  |   |  |   |
 Komodo         |Y |C/F|Y | Y |Y |Y |Y |Y |Y |Y |   |Y |Y |Y |   |Y |   |
 NetBeans       |Y | F |Y | Y |Y |  |Y |Y |Y |Y | Y |Y |Y |Y |   |  | Y |
 NotePad++      |W | F |  | Y |  |  |  |  |  |Y |   |  |  |  |   |  |   |
 Pfaide         |W | C |Y | Y |  |  |  |Y |Y |Y |   |Y |Y |  |   |  |   |
 PIDA           |LW| F |Y | Y |  |  |  |Y |Y |Y |   |Y |  |  |   |  |   |VIM based
 PTVS           |W | F |Y | Y |Y |Y |Y |Y |Y |Y |   |Y |  |  |Y* |  | Y |*WPF bsed
 PyCharm        |Y | C |Y | Y*|Y |  |Y |Y |Y |Y |   |Y |  |Y |   |  |   |* javascript
 PyDev(Eclipse) |Y | F |Y | Y |Y |Y |Y |Y |Y |Y | Y |Y |Y |Y |   |  |   |
 Pyscripter     |W | F |Y |   |Y |Y |  |Y |  |Y |   |  |Y |Y |   |  |   |
 PythonWin      |W | F |Y |   |Y |  |  |Y |Y |  |   |Y |  |  |   |  |   |
 SciTE          |Y | F |  | Y |  |Y |  |  |Y |Y |   |Y |Y |  |   |  |   |
 ScriptDev      |W | C |Y | Y |Y |Y |  |Y |Y |Y |   |Y |Y |  |   |  |   |
 SPE            |  | F |Y |   |  |  |  |  |  |  | Y |  |  |  |   |  |   |
 Spyder         |Y | F |Y |   |Y |Y |  |Y |Y |Y |   |  |  |  |   |  |   |
 Sublime Text   |Y | C |Y | Y |  |  |  |Y |Y |Y |   |  |Y |  |   |  |   |extensible w/python
 TextMate       |M |   |  | Y |  |  |  |Y |Y |Y |   |Y |Y |  |   |  |   |
 UliPad         |Y | F |Y | Y |Y |  |  |Y |Y |  |   |  |Y |Y |   |  |   |
 Vim            |Y | F |Y | Y |Y |Y |Y |Y |Y |Y |   |Y |Y |Y |   |  |   |
 WingIde        |Y | C |Y | Y*|Y |Y |Y |Y |Y |Y |   |Y |Y |Y |   |  |   |* support for C
 Zeus           |W | C |  |   |  |  |Y |Y |Y |Y |   |Y |Y |  |   |  |   |

Acronyms used:

  • CP - Cross Platform
  • C - Commercial
  • F - Free
  • AC - Automatic Code-completion
  • MLS - Multi-Language Support
  • PD - Integrated Python Debugging
  • EM - ErrorMarkup
  • SC - Source Control integration
  • SI - Smart Indent
  • BM - Bracket Matching
  • LN - Line Numbering
  • UML - UML editing / viewing
  • CF - Code Folding
  • CT - Code Templates
  • UT - Unit Testing
  • UID - GUI Designer (for example, Qt, Eric, ..)
  • DB - integrated database support
  • RAD - Rapid application development support
  • L - Linux
  • W - Windows
  • M - Mac

I don't mention basics like syntax highlighting as I expect these by default.

This is a just dry list reflecting your feedback and comments, I am not advocating any of these tools. I will keep updating this list as you keep posting your answers.

PS. Can you help me to add features of the above editors to the list (like auto-complete, debugging, etc.)?

Answered By: Rafał Rawicki ( 376)

Vim - For me it's the best choice, regardless of technology I'm using at the moment. It's not so hard to learn as it looks and during the work you are becoming more and more productive.

php, ide

Does anyone know of any good IDE (Code completion, Syntax coloring, etc) that will handle php. Looking for anything that might be relatively cheap or free and doesn't run like crap (IE: Eclipse)

Answered By: cynicalman ( 221)

NetBeans is a nice free editor that has been steadily adding support for languages like Ruby, PHP and Python. I've been using it on a MacBook Pro for Ruby and quite like it.

It has the standard IDE features like SCM integration and runs on most platforms.

Ethan Gunderson

As it stands now, I'm a Java and C# developer. The more and more I look at Ruby on Rails, the more I really want to learn it.

What have you found to be the best route to learn RoR? Would it be easier to develop on Windows, or should I just run a virtual machine with Linux?

Is there an IDE that can match the robustness of Visual Studio? Any programs to develop that give a good overhead of what to do? Any good books?

Seriously, any tips/tricks/rants would be awesome.

Answered By: Jason Navarrete ( 205)

I've been moving from C# in my professional career to looking at Ruby and RoR in my personal life, and I've found linux to be slightly more appealing personally for development. Particularly now that I've started using git, the implementation is cleaner on linux.

Currently I'm dual booting and getting closer to running Ubuntu full time. I'm using gedit with various plugins for the development environment. And as of late 2010, I'm making the push to use Vim for development, even over Textmate on OS X.

A large amount of the Rails developers are using (gasp) Macs, which has actually got me thinking in that direction.

Although I haven't tried it, Ruby in Steel gives you a Ruby IDE inside the Visual Studio world, and IronRuby is the .NET flavor of Ruby, if you're interested.

As far as books are concerned, the Programming Ruby (also known as the Pickaxe) book from the Pragmatic Programmers is the de-facto for learning Ruby. I bit the bullet and purchased that book and Agile Web Development with Rails; both books have been excellent.

Peepcode screencasts and PDF books have also been great for getting started; at $9 per screencast it's hard to go wrong. I actually bought a 5-pack.

Also check out the following:

I've burned through the backlog of Rails and Rails Envy podcasts in the past month and they have provided wonderful insight into lots of topics, even regarding software development in general.

You can create various Java code templates in Eclipse via the

Window->Preferences->Java -> Editor -> Templates


sysout is expanded to:


You can activate this by typing sysout followed by CTRL+SPACE

What useful Java code templates do you currently use?
Include the name and description of it and why it's awesome.

There's an open bounty on this for an original/novel use of a template rather than a built-in existing feature.

  • Create Log4J logger
  • Get swt color from display
  • Syncexec - Eclipse Framework
  • Singleton Pattern/Enum Singleton Generation
  • Readfile
  • Const
  • Traceout
  • Format String
  • Comment Code Review
  • String format
  • Try Finally Lock
  • Message Format i18n and log
  • Equalsbuilder
  • Hashcodebuilder
  • Spring Object Injection
  • Create FileOutputStream
Answered By: Robert Munteanu ( 151)

Create Log4J logger:

private static final Logger _logger = Logger.getLogger(${enclosing_type}.class);

It both creates the Logger with a proper category and imports it.

For those using SLF4J:

private static final Logger _logger = LoggerFactory.getLogger(${enclosing_type}.class);


Simon Howard

In another question, Mark speaks highly of IDEs, saying "some people still just dont know "why" they should use one...". As someone who uses vim for programming, and works in an environment where most/all of my colleagues use either vim or emacs for all of their work, what are the advantages of IDEs? Why should I use one?

I'm sure this is a charged issue for some people, and I'm not interested in starting a flame war, so please only reply with the reasons you believe an IDE-based approach is superior. I'm not interested in hearing about why I shouldn't use an IDE; I already don't use one. I'm interested in hearing from "the other side of the fence", so to speak.

If you think that IDEs may be suitable for some types of work but not others, I'm also interested to hear why.

Answered By: Jon Skeet ( 385)

It really depends on what language you're using, but in C# and Java I find IDEs beneficial for:

  • Quickly navigating to a type without needing to worry about namespace, project etc
  • Navigating to members by treating them as hyperlinks
  • Autocompletion when you can't remember the names of all members by heart
  • Automatic code generation
  • Refactoring (massive one)
  • Organise imports (automatically adding appropriate imports in Java, using directives in C#)
  • Warning-as-you-type (i.e. some errors don't even require a compile cycle)
  • Hovering over something to see the docs
  • Keeping a view of files, errors/warnings/console/unit tests etc and source code all on the screen at the same time in a useful way
  • Ease of running unit tests from the same window
  • Integrated debugging
  • Integrated source control
  • Navigating to where a compile-time error or run-time exception occurred directly from the error details.
  • Etc!

All of these save time. They're things I could do manually, but with more pain: I'd rather be coding.


I have heard from people who have switched either way and who swear by the one or the other.

Being a huge Eclipse fan but having not had the time to try out IntelliJ, I am interested in hearing from IntelliJ users who are "ex-Eclipsians" some specific things that you can do with IntelliJ that you can not do with Eclipse.

Note: This is not a subjective question nor at all meant to turn into an IDE holy war. Please downvote any flamebait answers.

Answered By: Pavel Feldman ( 91)

CTRL-click that brings you to where clicked object is defined works everywhere - not only in java classes and variables in java code, but in spring configuration (you can click on class name, or property, or bean name), in hibernate (you can click on property name or class, or included resource), you can navigate within one click from java class to where it is used as spring or hibernate bean; clicking on included JSP or JSTL tag also works, ctrl-click on javascript variable or function brings you to the place it is defined or shows a menu if there are more than one place, including other .js files and js code in html or jsp files.

Autocomplete in HSQL expressions, in hibernate configuration (including class, property and DB column names), in spring configuration

<property name="propName" ref="<hit CTRL-SPACE>"

and it will show you list of those beans which you can inject into that property.

Very smart autocomplete in java code:

interface Person {
    String getName();
    String getAddress();
    int getAge();
Person p;
String name = p.<CTRL-SHIFT-SPACE>

and it shows you ONLY getName(),getAddress() and toString() (only they are compartible by type) and getName() is first in the list because it has more relevant name. Lastest version 8 which is still in EAP has even more smart autocomplete.

interface Country{
interface Address {
    String getStreetAddress();
    String getZipCode();
    Country getCountry();
interface Person {
    String getName();
    Address getAddress();
    int getAge();
Person p;
Country c = p.<CTRL-SHIFT-SPACE>

and it will silently autocomplete it to

Country c = p.getAddress().getCountry();

Smart autocomplete in javascript.

function Person(name,address) {
    this.getName = function() { return name };
    this.getAddress = function() { return address };

Person.prototype.hello = function() {
    return "I'm " + this.getName() + " from " + this.get<CTRL-SPACE>;

and it shows ONLY getName and getAddress, no matter how may get* methods you have in other JS objects in your project, and ctrl-click on this.getName() brings you to where this one is defined, even if there are some other getName() functions in your project.

Lastest version has language injection, so you can declare that you custom JSTL tag usually contains javascript and it will highlight javascript inside it.

<ui:obfuscateJavaScript>function something(){...}</ui:obfuscateJavaScript>

Indexed search across all project. You can use Find Usages of any java class or method and it will find where it is used including not only java classes but hibernate, spring, JSP and other places. Rename Method refactoring renames method not only in java classes but anywhere including comments (it can not be sure if string in comments is realy method name so it will ask). And it will find only your method even if there are methods of another class with same name. Good source control integration (does SVN support changelists? IDEA support them for every source control), ability to create a patch with your changes so you can send your changes to other team member without commiting them.

When I look at HashMap in debugger's watch window, I see logical view - keys and values, last time I did it in eclipse it was showing entries with hash and next fields - I'm not really debugging HashMap, I just want to look at it contents.

It validates spring and hibernate configuration right when you edit it, so I do not need to restart server to know that I misspelled class name, or added constructor parameter so my spring cfg is invalid.

Last time I tried, i could not run eclipse on Windows XP x64.

Autocomplete and ctrl-clicking in JSP EL and JSF EL. Type <h:outputText value="#{person.<CTRL-SPACE>

and it will suggest you or person.address. Ctrl-click on and it will navigate you to getName() method of Person class.

Type Pattern.compile(""); put \\ there, hit CTRL-SPACE and see helpful hint about what you can put into your regular expression. You can also use language injection here - define your own method that takes string parameter, declare in IntelliLang options dialog that your parameter is regular expression - and it will give you autocomplete there as well. Needless to say it highlights incorrect regular expressions.

There are few features which I'm not sure are present in eclipse or not. But at least each member of our team who uses eclipse, also uses some merging tool to merge local changes with changes from source control, usually WinMerge. I never need it - merging in IDEA is enough for me. By 3 clicks I can see list of file versions in source control, by 3 more clicks I can compare previous versions, or previous and current one and possibly merge.

It allows to to specify that I need all .jars inside WEB-INF\lib folder, without picking each file separately, so when someone commits new .jar into that folder it picks it up automatically.

Did I mention autocomplete and ctrl-clicking in paths to files, like <script src="", <img src="", etc?

Autocomplete in html tag attributes. Autocomplete in style attribute of html tags, both attribute names and values. Autocomplete in class attributes as well. Type <div class="<CTRL-SPACE> and it will show you list of css classes defined in your project. Pick one, ctrl-click on it and you will be redirected to where it is defined.

Mentioned above is probably 10% of what it does. I do not use maven, flex, swing, ejb and a lot of other stuff, so I can not tell how it helps with them. But it does.

Craig P. Motlin

I like all three of the popular Java IDE's and all three have plug-ins for Scala. I'll probably try all three eventually, but since I'm totally new to the language I figured I'd ask which is the most full featured Scala IDE?

Answered By: Craig P. Motlin ( 165)

I've finally had the chance to use all three. As of June 2009, I find NetBeans to be the best. That's based purely on the editor though and I find Eclipse to be better in other ways. None of the three are very mature now, so I use Vim just as often.


As of March 2010, using snapshot builds of Scala 2.8, I find IntelliJ to be the best.


As of September 2010, using 2.8.0, I'm happy with IntelliJ, it's nearly satisfactory.


As of September 2011, using 2.9.0, I'm still using IntelliJ. I haven't tried Eclipse or Netbeans in the last year. Not much has changed.


As of January 2012, using 2.9.1, I'm still using IntelliJ. Scala IDE for Eclipse 2.0.0 is less buggy than previous versions, but the new features were already mostly already there in IntelliJ since September 2010. The refactoring support isn't great in any IDE, but IntelliJ is still slightly ahead.


I feel obligated to keep the updates coming. I decided to work through the "Functional Programming Principles in Scala" Coursera course using the Eclipse-based Scala IDE 2.1-M2 and I'm still sticking with IntelliJ. The Eclipse plugin has a few new refactorings, but it still messes up basic things like indenting if there's anything other than curly braces on the line. Plus I miss two crucial features that IntelliJ has had for a while; the ability to reformat or re-indent a whole file, and the auto-fix which adds or removes type annotations.


Having moved from Java to Ruby, I am struggling to find a good IDE for Ruby. I used Eclipse on Java, so I tried Aptana Studio (previously Radrails), but it's not even half as good. Currently I am trying out NetBeans for Ruby. Please suggest me the best Ruby on Rails IDE out there.

I believe TextMate is universally accepted as the best editor on Mac OS X. I am looking for Windows. So far it seems NetBeans and E Text Editor are worth a try.

Answered By: Marcin Gil ( 84)

Netbeans! Especially the 6.5beta or development version.

I've been learning Ruby using it for a week (or 2) now. Since I wasn't able to either make rspec tests using Eclipse/Aptana and Netbeans did it from scratch - that's one of things that made my choice.

Also "Netbeans TV" has lots of screencasts that can help you understand features. Great code completion and full support for TextMate templates.

EDIT Marcin Gil: my answer is no longer 100% valid unfortunately. Oracle just decided that starting Netbeans 7.0 there will be no longer Ruby support. Netbeans 6.9.1 is however still usable.

EDIT from comments: It's back! The JRuby guys have picked up support for NetBeans - see Ruby on NetBeans lives! for a good explanation. – Cincinnati Joe

Ian Patrick Hughes

I feel ridiculous for asking this because it seems like it should be so simple, however I have been unable to discover an answer to this question.

I have a free standing set of files not affiliated with any C# project at all that reside in a complicated nested directory structure. I want to add them in that format to a different directory in an ASP.NET web application I am working on; while retaining the same structure. So, I copied the folder into the target location of my project and I tried to “add existing item” only to lose the previous folder hierarchy. Usually I have re-created the directories by hand, copied across on a one-to-one basis, and then added existing items. There are simply too many directories/items in this case.

So how do you add existing directories and files in Visual Studio 2008?

Answered By: Darren Kopp ( 155)

drag the files / folder from windows explorer into the solution explorer. it will add them all.


I've downloaded, unzipped and setup Eclipse 3.4.2 with some plugins (noteable, EPIC, Clearcase, QuantumDB, MisterQ).

Now I find when I'm editing Java projects the code completion is not working. If I type String. and press ctrl-space a popup shows "No Default Proposals" and the status bar at the bottom shows "No completions available".

Any ideas?


Answered By: VonC ( 373)

Try restoring the default options in 'Windows > Preferences > Java > Editor > Content Assist > Advanced'

An example of the kind of data you see in this preference screen, however not necessarily what you currently have.

eclipse content assist setting

(From Vadim in this blog post " Content Assist Duplicates in Eclipse (Mylyn)":
if have duplicate Mylyn entries, uncheck the duplicate entries that do not contain "(Mylyn)" in their name)

The Eclipse help page defines the default list to restore:

Select the proposal kinds contained in the 'default' content assist list:

  • Other Java Proposals,
  • SWT Template Proposals,
  • Template Proposals,
  • Type Proposals