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Picking the Right Tool for the Task


Course Slides (.pdf)

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Learn more about these editing environments in the following Real Python resources:

Python IDEs and Code Editors: The Complete Guide

Learning Path

Perfect Your Python Development Setup

13 Resources ⋅ Skills: Python Setup, Code Editors & IDEs, Running Apps

00:00 Here we are in the final video for this little course. We talked about Python IDEs and editors with the aim of helping you to pick the right tool for whatever task you want to work with.

00:11 I wanted to show you that there are different tools and that they’re not so difficult to get started with, and give you a quick overview of which kind of tools exist. We talked about what IDEs are and what are code editors—what’s the difference between the two.

00:25 We talked a little bit about what actually makes a good Python editor, what are things that you want to look for in a Python editor. And then we discussed how to get started with some of these different tools.

00:37 This is just a short course, so I just wanted to give you an intro into different types of editors, and I hope you know that there’s lots and lots out there.

00:45 This doesn’t aim to be a comprehensive guide, but just to give you a bit of insight into different types and maybe help you to pick the right tool for the task that you’re currently working on.

00:55 We looked at VIM, which comes with your command line interface if you’re working with a Linux system or a macOS system—anything based on Unix. We talked about a very nice beginner-friendly IDE called Thonny.

01:08 We looked at an online coding interface called

01:13 Then we looked at a popular, fast, and powerful code editor called Visual Studio Code. We looked at a professional IDE called PyCharm, with lots and lots of features.

01:23 And finally, we looked at a data science tool that’s also very popular called Jupyter Notebooks.

01:29 I hope that getting an idea of these different types of editors and showing you that it’s not so difficult to get started with them will help you along the way to pick and choose what is the right editor for whatever task you currently want to perform. And that’s all!

01:44 I hope you had a nice time and learned something in this course, and I’ll see you around at Real Python. Goodbye!

Anonymous on Feb. 20, 2020

I would have thought that Atom & Sublime would be included ? Also IMHO it’d be better to have one big video for each program instead of a minute here and two minutes there.

qmark42 on Feb. 21, 2020

Thank You, Martin and Real Python for this course. I’ve learned quite a bit about development setups, and although some of the material was over my head at present, the course did give me a good idea of what I can use in my present studies/work. For now I will probably use VIM or a similar editor and Jupyter Notebook. Maybe in a year or two, I will expand my setup to include an IDE. Right now, I am most interested in Pycharm. Again, thank you for the course.

Martin Breuss RP Team on Feb. 21, 2020

Hi @Michael. Atom & Sublime are not included because they are conceptually similar to VSCode. As mentioned in Different Types of Editors, I wanted to give you an overview of the different types of editors that exist. There are many editors to choose from for each of those types and the types aren’t that clear-cut either. For example, VSCode is a bit more IDE-like than Sublime Text. Editors are a broad field, so keep checking out others if you’re interested. This is really just meant as a broad overview and introduction. :)

I personally enjoy using Sublime as well, but VSCode has been getting a lot of love lately and is a great tool to check out when you’re interested in editors of ~that type.

As for the length, we aim to keep the videos in short chunks because that makes it easier to learn from as well as easier to look back to specific parts.

Martin Breuss RP Team on Feb. 21, 2020

Glad you liked it and that it was helpful @qmark42. :)

Walt94 on Feb. 22, 2020

Favorite line was: “You’ll always have VIM”. True dat.

Biggest surprise was seeing how good Repl.It was. I did not know they had come that far with online editors.

Thanks for the course. I really enjoyed it.

Shabazz Abdulrahman on Feb. 29, 2020

Thanks for the short but very informative course , i truly enjoyed it.

David Wright on April 20, 2020

Thank you Martin. Excellent course. I have decided on Thonny, since it seems to offer all the things I need at this point in my coding career. It is easy to use and offers many good features.

Enrique Pelaez on May 21, 2020

Great course Martin. Thank you! For now, I think I’m going to use visual studio code, I was a little reticent to do so given my experience with Microsoft software in general has not been great, but it seems to be a very comprehensive Editor/ IDE to start programing more complex software in Python, we’ll see.

My second choice would be probably PyCharm, but the downside I see is that the free version is not as complete as VS Code, also I read some concerns out there regarding PyCharm performance.

Again, thanks, nice job with the course.

Aldir on Dec. 4, 2021

Hi Martin, THANK YOU!! Great course!! That helped me to better understand the very high diversity of interfaces available. That said I am still confused wich one to to hold on my for trainings. Lately I discovered Google Colab that satisfied my needs so far (level: beginner to intermediate pythonist). One thing that was not mentioned on your course is the size of the files we can deal with for each of the free versions IDEs preseented. Maybe that is covered in the dedicated course for each of them. Per example, for Google Colab I needed to upgrade to the paid version of G Colab plus when the datasets I was working on passed 5 million lines. Once again, great work!!

David Barr on Dec. 7, 2021

Great course Martin!

I think it could be useful to mention free vs. paid options. I understand that this course is not a review of all the tools in the market, but I do think that this could be relevant to some people’s criteria.

Again, excellent course!

Martin Breuss RP Team on Dec. 9, 2021

Thanks @David Barr, glad it’s been helpful :)

And good point! All of the tools that I’m going over in the course are generally free. However, PyCharm has a paid version and some of the examples that I’m showing (e.g. the Database Inspector and some multi-language-support) are only available in the paid version. has a paid plan as well, but as far as I know you can use all of the editor features without needing to pay, and the subscription plans are more geared towards hosting and keeping private code snippets.

At the time of writing, Vim, Thonny, Jupyter Notebooks, and VS Code are completely free and don’t even have a paid version I think. :)

But again, you can use any of the tools for free and you’ll only see some differences to what I’m showing with PyCharm.

Phillip on June 16, 2022

Thank you for the course Martin. That was a great overview of the different coding platforms available. I thought it was great how you explained the various use cases for each editor. Jupyter Notebooks look really interesting as my interest is in Data Science. I’ll be checking out the Jupyter course soon.

Martin Breuss RP Team on June 17, 2022

Glad you found it useful @Phillip :))

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