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Commercial Python IDEs

12/06/2000

Now you can choose between two commercial integrated debugging environments (IDEs) for Python. The Secret Labs' PythonWorks IDE was the first commercial Python IDE. They announced their 1.1 release just last month. Archaeopteryx announced their first production release of WingIDE last week. A single license for PythonWorks sells for $395. A single license for WingIDE is $95, student pricing is $45, and it is free for open source developers.

Both IDEs handle multiple files as projects and have editors that provide context highlighting. PythonWorks has a very friendly-looking interface. It looks more like a web browser than the more traditional Visual C-style interface. It also offers an integrated GUI layout editor for Tk. PythonWorks is available on both Windows and Linux. WingIDE is currently only available on Linux.

WingIDE's interface is less friendly than PythonWorks. Like many programs built with GTK, it uses small cryptic icons on a toolbar that can send you scurrying for documentation -- not all of these icons provide informative mouseovers. The WingIDE editor is built on Scintilla, the open source, source-code editor widget that is also used in the freely available Pythonwin IDE. WingIDE doesn't have a GUI layout editor, but it does contain a source browser that is well worth a look. The source browser alone is almost worth purchasing the software, particularly if you want to get a better understanding of how someone else's code works. I had a lot of fun just browsing through various Python modules. Both PythonWorks and WingIDE offer evaluation licenses, so if you are on a Linux system, you might as well try them both.

Boudewijn Rempt, whom you may remember from my last news piece, has written a nice review titled "A New Harvest of Python IDEs." It has been published on InformIT. He gives the details for the four main IDEs currently available for Python (IDLE, Pythonwin, PythonWorks, and WingIDE). You need to sign up for a free account to get to the article, and the site is very bookmark-unfriendly, but once you are logged in, a search on "Python IDE" should turn it up for you.

Stephen Figgins administrates Linux servers for Sunflower Broadband, a cable company.


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