Eclipse + PyDev = Python Fun

At the last class, I noticed my classmate’s homework printout had syntax color-coding. I decided then to switch from IDLE to a more advanced IDE. I decided upon Eclipse, which required something like PyDev in order to handle python files.

Although Eclipse is quite bulky (125MB download) and takes a while longer to start up and shut down, I think I’ve made the right choice.

Here are some of the things I like about my new setup:

  • Printout of code has syntax color-coding to improve readability. I need all the brownie points I can get in class. :)
  • Everything is run from the same window. With IDLE, I would have at least 2 windows and often clicked on the wrong one.
  • It includes a type of file explorer as one of the sections in the window, eliminating yet another window I would have had to open.
  • Supports file diffing. It’s easy to do from the file explorer.
  • Customizable workspace. This is important since I work on a laptop and need to make efficient use of screen real estate.
  • Each run of the script starts from a clear screen. This makes things much neater.
  • It’s possible to manually clear the screen with a click of a button.

There are some drawbacks to the setup, though:

  • It took some time and effort to set this up the way I wanted. The information isn’t consolidated so I had to do some research. I’ll describe what I did in another post.
  • The interactive console doesn’t have command recall. So I have to copy and paste commands, or retype them.
  • When I run a script that needs input from the console, the focus doesn’t automatically go to the console. Many times have I started replying to prompts when I was actually entering text in the code itself.

It’s a personal choice but for me, the pros outweight the cons.

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