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What are the best IDEs for Python Programming?



Python is a powerful, versatile programming language that has experienced exponential growth in usage over the last five years.

Python was designed to be interactive and has a relatively clean syntax. It also reads very much like pseudocode. In addition, it can be compiled into standalone executables that are non-interactive, so you don’t need an actual Qt framework installation to run your python apps. Naturally, there’s an extensive library of third-party modules available to support many applications, such as NumPy (multidimensional arrays and matrices library) or SciPy (scientific library) for scientific computing.

It’s easy to learn and use, which makes it perfect for beginners and experts alike. Knowing what IDE (integrated development environment) to choose can be difficult with so many options out there. Python is mighty when combined with the right IDE.

An IDE, or computer Integrated Development Environment, is where you do the coding. There are many popular IDEs, including Visual Studio Code and JetBrains' IntelliJ IDEA. For data scientists specifically, we often encounter Jupyter Notebook (or simply "IPython" as IDE due to its interactive nature. Interestingly enough, Jupyter does not fall under the traditional definition of an IDE by itself (it doesn't compile code into binaries, doesn’t have syntax highlighting and many other features).

Let’s take a look at some of the best IDEs for Python Programming!



Screenshot by Ross S.

One of the most popular IDEs is PyCharm by JetBrains. PyCharm is a lightweight, cross-platform Python IDE with unique code intelligence and intelligent coding assistance.

It features docking windows for code editing, debugging and profiling, and terminal integration. Auto import assistant: automatically adds the necessary libraries to your project, helps resolve package conflicts, bundles third-party libraries into an archive that can be used in other modules with just a "from ..." import statement. PEP8 style code formatting rules are enforced if you've enabled them for your code via Editor > Code Style > Python. Auto bracket placement is supported too! Inline rename refactoring is available as well (e.g., when debugging). 

Whether you're just getting started or you want to explore the cutting edge of Python technologies, PyCharm supports you along the way making your programming faster and easier than ever before.

Benefits: Free for students and teachers, open-source projects, coding schools, classroom assistance, and other special offers.

Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code

Screenshot by Ross S.

Visual Studio Code is designed to take advantage of the strengths of both VS Code (strong code editing with a highly configurable lightweight mode) and Visual Studio (support for debugging, IntelliSense, etc.). Visual Studio Code's editing and debugging features, coupled with the powerful Python Extension Pack from Microsoft, can make your day-to-day Python programming tasks more productive.

Critical advantages of Visual Studio Code include:

  • Free and open source;

  • A concise code editor that helps to focus on syntax rather than performing text manipulation;

  • Intuitive code navigation through such features as 'goto definition' and find all references;

  • Superior debugging tools that allow you to monitor your application's execution in real-time or set breakpoints and examine variable values at opportune moments;

  • A minimalistic UI for a distraction-free coding experience.



Screenshot by Ross S.

Atom - IDE is a free, open-source text editor that programmers are constantly updating for programmers. It comes with built-in integration with Git, which will be helpful if you don't have a separate system setup for tracking version control.

Atom has a very intuitive UI and can be easily customized to your preferences by installing packages from the Atom marketplace, which automatically integrate with the Atom text editor. Packages range from programming languages such as Rust, TypeScript, or even Elm to advanced concepts such as a LaTex package for rendering mathematical formulas without needing LaTex on the command line.

All of this makes Atom IDE an excellent choice if you're looking for an all-inclusive package that integrates with everything you need in terms of Software Engineering Development tools.

Jupyter Notebook

Jupyter Notebook

Screenshot by Ross S.

The Jupiter Notebook is an open-source interactive computing environment that works in both Python and Node.js, where you can run code and explore data with one click. 

A notebook allows us to develop a complete analysis end-to-end while keeping code production, cross-validation, theory development, and results in communication on one page. You can use text and mathematical equations in a notebook document and then run them directly with the command line interface. 

The JupyterLab is a browser-based user interface for Project Jupyter comes with many more capabilities than the typical notebook. It's useful for interactive and exploratory programming in Python without leaving your browser's comfort. The Jupyter Notebook Viewer is available on recent versions of Chrome or Firefox.

The Jupyter Notebook is fast becoming the most popular framework for computational work in the data science community because of its flexibility and ease of use. 

And of course, you can discuss your results online with Voilà. Voilà is a great way to share the results of your data analysis. It's like magic! Presenting graphs and charts in an interactive dashboard, Voilà lets you control what readers see by giving them choices on how they want to interact with your work.

Sublime Text

Spyder IDE

Screenshot by Ross S.

Sublime Text is a cross-platform text editor for code, markup, and prose. If you're a programmer, chances are you've heard of this popular option among the coding community. We love using this for Python programming (and, in truth, most other types of languages).

Features for Python programming include syntax highlighting, autocompletion, automatic indentation, and code linting. Packages are regularly introduced that support other programming languages such as HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, and Ruby on Rails.

Python programming with Sublime Text includes some great features, including the Command Palette. With this tool, you can look up and run any of the 200+ powers right from where you are.

What about Git? One of the more important features is a git plugin Sublime Merge, which provides you with Git support for syncing files. Unlike what its name suggests, it is not a merger but instead a "tool to merge and sync differences between two directories."

Limitations: The cost for personal use is $80. Educational discounts are not presently offered.


Spyder IDE

Screenshot by Ross S.

And last on the list is Spyder IDE. Spyder is a free, open-source IDE for scientific computing that supports an interactive development environment for Python. Spyder is a cross-platform IDE, meaning you can install it on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

The first time you start the application, you'll see the welcome page showing which version of Python is currently used (as well as other platforms) together with an editor window for editing files and a terminal to run bash commands.

The highlights include:

  • Support for interactive development in Python or Jupyter Notebook languages with intelligent code completion, code navigation, debugging, running REPL (read, evaluate, print, loop) commands;

  • Integrated tools for data science & scientific computing that include editor for Matplotlib plots; integrated environment for Plotly Python charts; data visualization with Palettable; integration with NumPy and SciPy libraries;

  • A player that runs both PyQt5 graphical applications.

You can also add more customized tools.

Benefits: Free. Donations for the development of the project are welcome.


This lengthy article has explored some of the best IDEs for Python Programming and what they offer developers. Despite their differences in features, all IDEs are designed to give programmers a seamless experience with the coding languages they need for their projects.

So what's the best IDE for Python programming?

The answer to this question depends on your needs. If you're a beginner, we recommend Spyder IDE. It's free and has an intuitive user interface that will get you started quickly with all of the features of Python programming. For more advanced users, we recommend PyCharm IDE. So you can choose whichever one is most comfortable for you!

We've compiled a list of our top favorites above! You can't go wrong with any of them!

Feel free to comment on Twitter what you thought of it. Something broken? File a bug