What is an Interactive Development Environment (IDE)?

An IDE can make your development process more effective by:

  • applying syntax highlighting to show your code structure
  • auto-formatting your code to improve readability
  • help you to search your files efficiently

IDEs can also go beyond this core functionality by:

  • integrating with git to do version control on your files
  • run your unit test suite
  • integrating with virtual environments or Docker to run your code inside the IDE
  • allow you to edit code on clusters via SSH
  • and so on

What are the choices for a python IDE?

There are numerous options for an IDE in python. The two most popular are probably VS Code and PyCharm.

I work with VS Code, but it’s a matter of personal preference. I recommend installing one of these in advance of the workshop using the links above. If you use VS Code you should also install the python extension.