Evaluating IDEs for scientific Python

xcorr: comp neuro

Updated March 2020.

TL;DR: Spyder is a great IDE to start. For more advanced features, choose PyCharm.

Python is a general purpose scripting language that can be used for statistical analysis, numeric work, machine learning, and much more. If you’re coming from other scientific computing environments like Matlab, Mathematica or R, you might miss having an integrated development environment (IDE). An IDE combines editing, execution, plotting, debugging, etc. into a single coherent package.

Here I evaluate 4 IDEs for scientific Python on my Ubuntu 16 laptop to see how they stack up:

  • Spyder 3.3
  • Atom with Hydrogen 2.14
  • VSCode 1.42
  • PyCharm 2019.3.3

These IDEs combine a text editor, an integrated ipython shell or jupyter kernel integration, support for interactive plotting via matplotlib as well as several other features to tie everything together.

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