FOSSPicks

Python IDE

Mu

Considering how many people (millions?) use the Python programming language, it's surprising that no one has yet created the perfect IDE for people who want to code. If the perfect IDE were to exist, it would have to cater to one of Python's most important and unique demographics: the beginner. It's this specific demographic to whom the Mu editor aims to cater, both in terms of beginners and those teaching beginners. As a good example of the latter, the user interface is remarkably clear. The toolbar, for example, features large and easy-to-distinguish icons. Not only are these going to be easy for people unfamiliar with programming to use, see, and understand, they're also going to be easy to see when projected in front of a room of students. This may also be why there are such prominent Zoom in and Zoom out buttons, allowing the teacher to easily scale the view according to the amount of wall space.

Behind the graphical niceties is a well thought out IDE with some unique features. You can change the editing mode, which defaults to writing code for the BBC micro:bit, but it can be switched to a mode more suitable for writing CircuitPython for Adafruit's hardware, making games with Pygame Zero, or simply writing a vanilla project for Python 3. As you change modes, Mu will understand automatically how to communicate with your hardware or provide extra tools, such as the visual debugger when using the Python 3 mode. There's even a very neat data plotter. If you're using a micro:bit, the Repl button let's you run your code interactively on the external hardware. It even runs on the Raspberry Pi, making it the perfect application for students in the lab and to run at home.

Project Website

https://codewith.mu/

If you're a Python beginner, especially if you're working with hardware like the BBC micro:bit, the Mu editor is a great place to start.

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