In my day job I program exclusively in the Windows environment. I pushed hard to get Python into our development environment here. I love Python, what a great language it is! The problem with Python is the development tools, or as any Windows programmer will whine: “You can’t use Visual Studio!” (insert sobbing noises here). Visual Studio spoils us, and when we can’t use it, we’re as sad as a MAC fanboi that just dropped his iPhone in the toilet. I should say the problem with free Python development tools as I had no budget to try commercial tools. I have heard that some of the commercial Python development tools, like Wing IDE, are quite good. But, after blowing the budget on Visual Studio, I was left to choose from amongst the free tools.
Eclipse is almost Visual Studio. Eclipse is a very nice IDE. Add the PyDev tools from Aptana and it is a great Python development environment. It supports Jython and IronPython development as well. This environment support many features including:
- You can configure PyLint for static analysis.
- Source level debugging, breakpoints, the whole bit.
- You can configure and use multiple Python interpreters.
- Constantly updated and improved, (thanks Fabio!)
SharpDevelop wants to be Visual Studio. SharpDevelop is an open source IDE for the .NET world. It is taking on Visual Studio directly, come one, Visual Studio is like a MacBook Pro, waaayyy overpriced! SharpDevelop supports an impressive array of languages: Boo, C#, F#, ILAsm, IronPython, and VB.NET. SharpDevelop 3.1.1 comes with IronPython 2.6 in the box. It also gives you a drag and drop Windows Forms editor just like Visual Studio, except that you can use Python!
Get SharpDevelop here http://www.icsharpcode.net/OpenSource/SD/Download/ and IronPython at this Codeplex download page
Unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to really use IronPython for anything real. I have written a few toy applications with it. I plan to spend more time with SharpDevelop and IronPython in the near future. I have read the wonderful book “IronPython in Action” by Micheal Foord and Christian Muirhead. My first project will be to get the cherrypy web framework working under IronPython. Right now about half of the cherrypy test suite passes, it’s a work in progress. But that is for another blog entry.