Python… the most popular and favorite programming language in the world for programmers of all age groups. If you are a beginner this language is strongly recommended to learn first. Well, In programming, we all know the importance of code editor and IDEs to write our program and to execute it but choosing the best code editor or IDE is always a confusing question. Understand that the best code editor or IDE depends on so many things such as programming language, project type, project size, OS support and considering a lot of other features. If we talk about Python so this language is also not an exception.

We are going to discuss the code editor or IDEs for Python to use in 2020. This information is going to be based on the opinion given by experienced developers, public web data, some previous surveys like Python Developers Survey 2018 Results / Editors and IDEs and the most important person Guido van Rossum (Python Creator). Firstly understand that IDE and code editor both are different things.

Text/Code Editor: Code editors are the lightweight tool that allows you to write and edit the code with some features such as syntax highlighting and code formatting. It provided fewer features than IDE.

Code editors are the lightweight tool that allows you to write and edit the code with some features such as syntax highlighting and code formatting. It provided fewer features than IDE. Integrated Development Environment (IDE): IDEs are full-fledged environment which provide all the essential tools needed for software development. It just doesn’t handle the code (for example, write, edit, syntax highlighting and auto-completion) but also provides other features such as debugging, execution, testing, and code formatting that helps programmers.

Let’s start with some overview of the best code editor based on certain terms…

What is Your Level?

Beginner — IDLE (or Online Python Editors) is perfect choice for the first steps in python language. PyCharm is also good but takes the help of some experienced person while using this.

— IDLE (or Online Python Editors) is perfect choice for the first steps in python language. PyCharm is also good but takes the help of some experienced person while using this. Intermediate — PyCharm, Sublime, Atom, Vs Code.

— PyCharm, Sublime, Atom, Vs Code. Advanced — PyCharm, Vim, Emacs, Sublime, Atom, Vs Code.

What’s Your End Goal?

Web development — PyCharm Professional, VS Code

— PyCharm Professional, VS Code Data Science — Spyder, Jupyter Notebook, PyCharm Professional

— Spyder, Jupyter Notebook, PyCharm Professional Scripting — Sublime, Atom, PyCharm Community, Eclipse + PyDev

— Sublime, Atom, PyCharm Community, Eclipse + PyDev QA — Sublime, Atom, PyCharm Community, Jupyter Notebook

What is Your Environment/OS?

Linux, macOS — PyCharm, Sublime, Atom, Vim, Jupyter

— PyCharm, Sublime, Atom, Vim, Jupyter Windows — Sublime, VS Code, Eclipse + PyDev, PyCharm

— Sublime, VS Code, Eclipse + PyDev, PyCharm Multiple/mixed OS — PyCharm, Sublime, Atom

Which Hardware Do You Have?

Bad — IDLE, Atom, Sublime, Online Editor

— IDLE, Atom, Sublime, Online Editor Good — PyCharm, VS Code, Eclipse + PyDev

Note: We have considered limited terms but it also depends on budget, git integration, teamwork, previous programming knowledge.

List of Best Python IDE

1. PyCharm

In industries most of the professional developers use PyCharm and it has been considered the best IDE for python developers. It was developed by the Czech company JetBrains and it’s a cross-platform IDE. It gives daily tips to improve your knowledge of how you can use it more efficiently which is a very good feature. It comes in two versions community version and a professional version where community version is free but the professional version is paid. Below are some other features of this IDE.

It is considered as an intelligent code editor, fast and safe refactoring, and smart code.

Features for debugging, profiling, remote development, testing the code, auto code completion, quick fixing, error detection and tools of the database.

Support for Popular web technologies, web frameworks, scientific libraries and version control.

2. Spyder

Spyder is another good open-source and cross-platform IDE written in Python. It is also called Scientific Python Development IDE and it is the most lightweight IDE for Python. It is mainly used by data scientists who can integrate with Matplotlib, SciPy, NumPy, Pandas, Cython, IPython, SymPy, and other open-source software. It comes with the Anaconda package manager distribution and it has some good advanced features such as edit, debug, and data exploration. Below are some other features of this IDE.

Auto code completion and syntax highlighting.

Ability to search and edit the variables from the graphical user interface itself.

Static code analysis

It is very efficient in tracing each step of the script execution by a powerful debugger.

3. Eclipse PyDev

Eclipse is one of the most popular IDE among developers which is written in Java but you can install Pydev plugin in eclipse and use it for Python as well. The primary focus of this IDE is the analysis of code, debugging in the graphical pattern, refactoring of python code, etc. Eclipse PyDev is stable and provides good performance for most of the python project life cycle. Below are some other features of this IDE.

Pydev supports Django integration, Unittest integration, PyLint integration

Code folding and code completion with auto import

Good syntax high lighting and remote debugger

Interactive console

Allows you to create a Google App Engine (GAE) Python project


IDLE is a cross-platform open-source IDE that comes by default with Python so you don’t need to worry about the installation or setup. IDLE is written in Python and this IDE is suitable for beginner level developers who want to practice on python development. IDLE is lightweight and simple to use so you can build simple projects such as web browser game automation, basic web scraping applications, and office automation. This IDE is not good for larger projects so move to some advance IDEs after learning the basics from IDLE.

Python shell with syntax highlighting

Call stack’s clear visibility

Multi-window code editor that allows features like smart indentation, autocomplete, etc

It has an interactive interpreter with colorizing of input, output, and error messages.

Program animation or stepping.

5. Wing

Wing IDE is created by Wingware and it is faster, stable and extremely lightweight cross-platform Python IDE. It comes in three editions:

Wing Pro (Free Trial): A full-featured commercial version, for professional programmers.

A full-featured commercial version, for professional programmers. Wing Personal (Paid): Free version that omits some features, for students and hobbyists.

Free version that omits some features, for students and hobbyists. Wing 101 (Paid): A very simplified free version, for beginners in programming.

This IDE comes with a strong debugger and smart editor that makes the interactive Python development speed, accurate and fun to perform. Some of its main features are given below…

Automatic multi-process, child process, remote debug process and refactoring, etc.

Test-driven development with various frameworks like the unittest, pytest, nose, doctest, and Django testing.

It also has auto code completion in which the error is displayed in a feasible manner and line editing is also possible.

Remote development support.

List of Best Python Code Editor

1. Emacs

Emacs was created in 1976 by Richard Stallman. It is free and fully customizable software available on all platforms. Emacs uses a form of the powerful Lisp programming language for customization, and various customization scripts exist for Python development.

Syntax highlighting to differentiate document elements such as keywords and comments.

Automatic indentation such as spaces, newlines, and brackets for consistent formatting in a file.

24-bit color encoded support for the terminals supporting it.

Guido van Rossum (Python creator) accepted Emacs his favourite text editor in one of his tweet in 2016 Emacs of course!. We also took his recent opinion about his favorite text editor and Emacs is still his favorite one.

In the book “The Art of UNIX Programming”

Emacs is undoubtedly the most powerful programmer’s editor in existence. It’s a big, feature-laden program with a great deal of flexibility and customizability.

2. Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is a free and open-source code editor created by Microsoft that can be used for Python development. You can add the extension to create a Python development environment. It provides support for debugging, embedded Git control, syntax highlighting, IntelliSense code completion, snippets, and code refactoring. Some of it’s best features are given below.

Thousands of plugins/extensions available through the VS Code Marketplace.

Powerful debugger by which the user can debug code from the editor itself.

Easily customizable.

Multi-platform, multi-language support, multi-split window feature and vertical orientation.

3. Sublime Text:

Written by a Google engineer sublime text is a cross-platform IDE developed in C++ and Python. It has basic built-in support for Python. Sublime text is fast and you can customize this editor as per your need to create a full-fledged Python development environment. You can install packages such as debugging, auto-completion, code linting, etc. There are also various packages for scientific development, Django, Flask and so on. Some of its best features are given below…

Goto anything for opening files with few clicks and can navigate to words or symbols.

Python-based plugin API.

Syntax highlighting and allows simultaneous editing (multiple selections)

Command Palette implementation that accepts text input from users.

High performance, block selection and simultaneous editing (multiple selections).

4. Atom

Atom is an open-source cross-platform IDE built using web technologies. It is based on a framework built by GitHub named Electron. Atom is highly customizable and provides Python language support installing the extension when Atom is running. Some of the good packages for Python development are atom-python-run, Python Black, python-indent, atom-python-test, autocomplete-python, Python Tools, linter-flake8, python-debugger, etc. Below are some nice features of the Atom.

Enables support for third-party packages

Lightweight, smart auto-completion, multi-language support with good syntax highlighting

Multiple panes and themes

Allows installation and management of packages

5. Vim

Vim is an open-source, cross-platform text editor. It is pre-installed in macOS and UNIX systems but for Windows, you need to download it. This text editor can be used as a command-line interface as well as a standalone application. Vim is extremely popular in geeks communities and by adding extensions or modifying its configuration file you can easily adapt it for development in Python. There are big lists of plugins, features, and versions of Vim. Some of its good features are listed below…

Very stable and lightweight.

Plugins are available for syntax highlighting, code completion, debugging, refactoring, etc

It has a powerful integration, search and replace functionality.

It is very persistent and also have a multilevel undo tree.

Honorable Mentions

We have mentioned all the IDEs and text editor for Python development but there is one popular web application or tool which is mainly used for data science projects and Jupyter Notebook. Let’s see the introduction and some of its features…

Jupyter Notebook: Jupyter Notebook is a web-based interactive development environment; It’s well known in the data science community for analyzing, sharing and presenting the information. It is easy to use, open-source software that allows you to create and share live code, visualizations, etc. Some of its good features are given below…

Support for Numerical simulation, data cleaning machine learning data visualization, and statistical modeling.

Markdown and HTML integration.

Integrated data science libraries (matplotlib, NumPy, Pandas).

It offers you to see and edit your code to create powerful presentations.

You can also convert your complete work into PDF and HTML files, or you can just export it as a .py file.

Starting and stopping servers, opening folders and files.

Tomasz David
Tomasz David

Leave a Comment