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8 Editors To Get Started Writing Pythonby@sandeepsreedeep
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8 Editors To Get Started Writing Python

by SandeepOctober 29th, 2021
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A list of 8 editors to get you started writing code in Python.

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What is Python?


Python is an interpreted, high-level, general-purpose programming language. Created by Guido van Rossum and so on and so forth. All these can be found on the Wikipedia page on Python. But What is it to us? The curious, venturing into the world of coding. Well, I think it is the simplest language out there for us to script/code in without worrying about the numerous syntactic rules that other languages have, and at the same time, it doesn’t compromise the versatility and power of the language. Python can be used as a calculator for adding two numbers and at the same time, it can be used to write programs for self-learning machines. Python is used extensively in web development and is one of the most popular languages out there.

Why Python?


As a 3D artist, I first came to know about Python while working on Autodesk Maya. I started to realize that Python was really simple and it allowed me to bring in extra functionalities to Maya making my life a bit easier. And if you want something that doesn’t come with your software, chances are somebody has already written a Python module that does exactly what you want, all you have to do is import it. I could list out several advantages of Python. But, for keeping the interest alive and the brevity of the post let's move on.


Some of the software that I have worked with that support Python as a scripting language:

  1. Autodesk Maya
  2. Blender
  3. Houdini
  4. Nuke
  5. Autodesk Motionbuilder
  6. Autodesk 3ds Max
  7. Substance Designer/Painter


Some of the things I have used python for are: to build websites, automate my daily mundane tasks, make validation tools for files, make chatbots .etc. As you can see the possibilities are limitless and the language is easy to learn.

How to get started?


There are numerous methods to start coding in python. I’ll list down the ones (free ones) I have used.


1. Online Python editors


You could just google “online python editor” and google would spew out an exhaustive list of the editors available online. If you are just planning on learning python you can use any of them. They all seem to have the basic functionalities down. But they would only be able to support the basic modules that get shipped along with the default python install.


Here is a tiny list for you:


I used these in my learning days and moved on to more powerful editors as I advanced mainly because the task requirements at hand demanded it.


An example of online editors (online-python.com/)


2. Python Default Editors


When installing python from python.org, it comes with two things for us to code in


a) Python Console


Python console, also known as Python SHELL, is a CLI (command line interpreter) for python that lets users input one command at a time and returns the result if it is error-free.


The primary prompt of the python console is the three greater than symbols


>>>


You are free to write the next command on the shell only after executing the first command.


>>>"hello World"
'Hello World'
>>>


Python Shell/Console would open up to look like the following image


python SHELL


b) Python IDLE


IDLE is Python’s Integrated Development and Learning Environment. Basically, it lets you open, save, edit and execute python files with the extension .py. We will get into the details once we start coding. Most people don’t prefer this while coding, it just has the basic functionalities needed for a python script while third-party IDEs like PyCharm let you add additional packages/plugins that would let us have all that we need for a said project in one place.


Python IDLE


3. PyCharm Editor


PyCharm is a third-party IDE (Integrated Development Environment) from JetBrains. It is one of the most widely used IDE by web developers. Let’s just say it makes our life a bit easier while making stuff like a website(using a framework like Django or flask) or a standalone python application. It provides us with all our necessary tools in one place in a click or command. I will explain more about PyCharm and how to use it in another post. For now, let’s just say it’s a free and good option for a beginner. It’s also worth noting that PyCharm comes with a Community (free to use) and Professional version.


PyCharm


4. Sublime Text Editor


Sublime is a lightweight text editor that lets you code in many languages. Also Sublime was my choice when I started out. It’s safe to say Sublime is no less than any IDE out there especially with the packages and plugins available. The one thing that made me choose text editors over IDE was that my system used to be really crappy when I started out. An IDE would consume most of your system memory just to open up whereas a text editor can really help if you’re using a system that is low in RAM.


Sublime Text 4


5. Visual Studio Community


Visual Studio Community is a free IDE from Microsoft. The advantage while using VS Community was that it was not just made for python, it supported other languages as well. You could say that this IDE is jam-packed with a lot of features and it lets you use the same IDE if you want to code in other languages (like C++ or .Net).


Visual Studio 2019 Community Edition


6. VS Code


VS Code is another contribution from Microsoft but it’s not an IDE like its community cousin. It’s needless to say it consumes less RAM compared to an IDE. But you can add extensions to it based on the requirements and expand its functionality.


VS Code


7. Atom Editor


Atom is another great text editor(hackable), and it’s from the github team. So all the github extension that come along with it are implied. This is a text editor much preferred in the web development circle of python.


8. Python as a scripting language


All of the 3d software I mentioned in the beginning use python as a scripting language, meaning I can use python to modify the already present functionality of the software. If your intentions are to use python for scripting, chances are the software comes with a free python interpreter inbuilt. You could stick to that for learning and altogether avoid the installation of any text editor or IDEs.