Update (April 2009) – The Python Development Environments Learning Path covers all the following information and more.
Deciding on a Python IDE can take time and a lot of effort. There are lots of things to look for including good ergonomics and a good set of tools. You will probably be looking for a debugger, also syntax high-lighting and automatic indentation. More advanced features might include support for refactoring tools and source-code control.
We have some videos which might help you choose the right IDE.
Side note – are you learning Python? We’ve started Club ShowMeDo which is aimed at new and intermediate Python programmers, our specially-crafted screencast tutorials are aimed directly at getting you to learn Python the easy way.
Update – I asked a few days later Which Python IDEs Need Covering and received a strong response – can anyone help us to cover these IDEs?
Using PyDev set 1 and set 2: a great all-round IDE, PyDev has free and paid versions, a good debugger (Update but you can’t alter variables whilst debugging Fabio says that from v1.2.7 you can update variables in the debugger), good support for multiple files and has some refactoring tools. I use this as one of my main IDEs. Fabio responds to emails quickly.
Using Wing set 1 and set 2: another great all-round IDE, this is my alternate choice of IDE. Wing is commercial, has a stronger debugger than PyDev, has good support for multiple files. Wing doesn’t have any refactoring tools (not the end of the world, but it would be nice to have basic refactoring support). Stephen and crew respond quickly to support emails.
IDLE video (and bonus): bundled with the default Python distribution. This is an old workhorse, it has all the features you need for working on small projects (I’m not sure if it gives much aid when working on larger projects containing many files?). The Bicycle Repair Man refactoring tool can be added to IDLE.
SPE videos: One of the longer-running open-source editors. Good navigation and syntax high-lighting support. I don’t remember seeing refactoring tools. This was the first IDE I used, it is easy to get going with SPE for simple projects. [Update - Stani notes that the upcoming version of SPE (0.8.5) will have refactoring support, the current version supports editing variables during a debug session, and he asks if anyone would like to make ShowMeDo videos for the new version].
IPython set 1, set 2, set 3: Less of an IDE and more of a great environment. IPython is my shell of choice – it has everything from the stock Python shell and a whole heap more. Coupled with a simple text editor you have everything you need to quickly develop and test new ideas. Fernando and team’s open-source shell is great, I highly recommend you check this out.
DrPython videos: We have two videos that show DrPython in action, here and here. DrPython is aimed at beginners, providing a nice and simple environment to learn Python coding. We’d love to have some videos focused on DrPython if someone would like to have a go?
Learn to write Python software using our python tutorial videos – most are free and some are in our Club.subscribe to my RSS feed!