Python IDE


We often look at IDEs for programming languages on these pages. But the ones we look at are usually most beneficial to experienced programmers. Thonny is the opposite. It's a small, low-resource, and self-contained IDE that helps immensely when learning Python. There's even a mode designed specifically for the Raspberry Pi desktop. But the best thing about it is that it bundles Python 3.x with the main application. That means the beginner doesn't have to struggle with installing the right version of Python and making sure it takes precedence in their path before they've even typed a line of code. And when you're ready to write code, the user interface is initially as simple as it can be. The main panel taken by the text editor, an object inspector on the right, and an interactive interpreter along the bottom are all empty.

To get started, start writing code in the editor. There's easy to see syntax highlighting, which will even flag simple errors, and simple code completion when you press the industry standard Ctrl and space keys, although we did notice it didn't offer elif for some reason. With the integrated debugger, you can also watch how your variables change through the running of your code, and the right panel can be used to introspect functions and objects during execution. This will even open a new window showing only the code for that function so that you can easily see its namespace and scope. It's much easier to use than Python on the command line, and it doesn't require any specific onboarding of its own, which is probably why it's so popular on the Raspberry Pi. If you're looking for an environment to use when teaching people how to code in Python, Thonny is a great place to start.

Project Website

Thonny is a simple Python IDE that does a great job of making Python programming easier to manage.

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