Last updated on 10th Oct 2020, Blog, Tutorials
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PyCharm is the most popular IDE used for Python scripting language. This chapter will give you an introduction to PyCharm and explains its features.
PyCharm offers some of the best features to its users and developers in the following aspects −
Code completion and inspection
Support for web programming and frameworks such as Django and Flask
Features of PyCharm
Besides, a developer will find PyCharm comfortable to work with because of the features mentioned below −
PyCharm enables smoother code completion whether it is for built in or for an external package.
SQLAlchemy as Debugger
You can set a breakpoint, pause in the debugger and can see the SQL representation of the user expression for SQL Language code.
Git Visualization in Editor
When coding in Python, queries are normal for a developer. You can check the last commit easily in PyCharm as it has the blue sections that can define the difference between the last commit and the current one.
Code Coverage in Editor
You can run .py files outside PyCharm Editor as well marking it as code coverage details elsewhere in the project tree, in the summary section etc.
All the installed packages are displayed with proper visual representation. This includes list of installed packages and the ability to search and add new packages.
Local History is always keeping track of the changes in a way that complements like Git. Local history in PyCharm gives complete details of what is needed to rollback and what is to be added.
Refactoring is the process of renaming one or more files at a time and PyCharm includes various shortcuts for a smooth refactoring process.
User Interface of PyCharm Editor
The user interface of PyCharm editor is shown in the screenshot given below. Observe that the editor includes various features to create a new project or import from an existing project.
Overview of PyCharm
PyCharm is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that provides tools for writing efficient code. It supports various frameworks such as Django, Flask, and Pyramid. PyCharm is majorly used by developers for application development with Python language. This PyCharm tutorial is entirely focused on answering the questions ‘What is PyCharm?’ and ‘Why do we use PyCharm for Python application development and for other frameworks?
’Let’s first understand the necessity of an IDE.
Why do we need an IDE?
Let’s suppose, we are making a project using Python programming language. We know that Python is extensively popular among the developer’s community, as well as in industries, due to its following features:
Simple to code: Python is a very simple language compared to other programming languages. Also, it is a developer-friendly language.
Object-oriented language: Python is an object-oriented language that uses concepts of classes and objects.
GUI programming support: We can create graphical user interfaces using Python Tkinter library. Besides, we can use modules such as PyQt5, PyQt4, and wxPython to create a GUI application.
High-level language: Python is a high-level programming language. We do not need to take care of managing memory or the system architecture while writing Python codes.
Portability: Python is a portable programming language, i.e., we can run Python codes on any platform. For example, we can run a code written for Windows in Linux, UNIX, and Mac, without changing it.
Integrated language: Python is an integrated programming language. We can easily integrate C, C++, etc. with Python.
Interpreted language: Python is an interpreted programming language as well. Python’s source code is changed to bytecode. Due to this, it is directly executed without compiling.
Large set of standard libraries: Python consists of a rich set of modules, packages, and libraries. It helps in various stages of application development.
Now, a question arises that where can we effectively use these Python features? This is where an Integrated Development Environment plays its key role.
What is an IDE?
An IDE typically has an editor and a compiler window. There, we can write our code, run it, and compile it. Hence, it becomes much easier to develop applications using an IDE. The major reasons for using an IDE are given below:
We can easily write our code in its text editor window.
To store the resource files of a project, we have a project editor window.
It makes debugging of the code easier.
An IDE’s autosuggest feature helps us in writing efficient code.
We can import other projects for integrating with the existing one.
Further, we will see the details of an IDE in this first module of the PyCharm tutorial.
What is PyCharm?
PyCharm is among the most popular IDEs for application development in the industry. We use PyCharm as an IDE for developing applications in Python programming language. There are two versions of PyCharm: v2.x and v3.x.
Features that make PyCharm the most preferable IDE for development are as follows:
Intelligent code editor
Presence of visual debugger
Assistance for many Web technologies
Support for popular Python Web frameworks
Assistance for Python scientific libraries
Support for various database tools
A customizable and cross-platform IDE
Support for version control system
Further, in this PyCharm tutorial, we will see the installation of PyCharm.
For installing PyCharm, first, go to the official website of JetBrains. The link is given below:
After opening the above link, we will see the following window:
From here, we can choose either a Community or a Professional version as per requirement and can download and install it in our system easily with no effort.
Later in this PyCharm tutorial, we see a detailed explanation of PyCharm installation in Windows, Linux, Ubuntu, and macOS.
Configuring and Customizing PyCharm
PyCharm is an IDE that is configurable and customizable according to our requirements.
Following customizations are possible in PyCharm:
Resetting the style of code
Changing fonts and colors
Customizing keyboard shortcuts
Customizing keyboard and mouse shortcuts
Moreover, we can configure the interpreter and projects in PyCharm. If we are working on a Python project, then we need to set a Python interpreter for it. If we are working on a project in R programming language, we should use an R interpreter in PyCharm.
In this section of the PyCharm tutorial, we had an overview of PyCharm as an IDE and some hints about its installation, customization, and configuration. In the next modules of this PyCharm tutorial, we will look into each of these in detail.
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Introduction to IDE
An IDE is a software that helps developers write codes for developing applications. It has a user-friendly interface consisting of an editor and a compiler. We can write the code in the editor window and compile it using the compiler. Consequently, we can run it to check the output of the program on the output terminal.
An IDE facilitates developers with plenty of functionalities to program in various languages. Thus, it has become one of the essential tools for the development of various applications.
The Need for an Integrated Development Environment
Speed and efficiency are the two factors that affect every industry. In this competitive era, it has become a challenge to create fast and scalable software for customers. This is where a smart IDE wins the game. An IDE helps us with the following features:
Auto-completion: This feature helps us correct syntax errors immediately. It suggests the correct variables, keywords, functions, libraries, and packages to use while writing the code. Also, the color scheme of an IDE proves to be a great asset. It helps in understanding the flow of a program. We can easily distinguish between variables and the text and between functions and classes, and thus understand the logic of the code.
Debugging: Debugging is the most important step in creating successful software. Debugging the code involves testing and clearing up all errors so that our program does not crash.
File management: A project consists of different files carrying different functionalities. It becomes a necessary task to place these files in proper locations for the execution of the program. An IDE makes the location of all the resource files of a project more visible
Types of IDEs
Creating applications using different programming languages requires various types of IDEs compatible with the respective programming languages. In this section, we will see the different types of IDEs used for development in various languages.
There are different categories of IDEs, such as we use IDEs for multiple programming languages, mobile development, and for particular programming languages. Let’s now get familiar with each category.
IDEs for Multiple Languages
There are many IDEs available that help programming in different languages. We can use a single IDE for programming in various languages such as C, C++, or Java. Some of these IDEs are mentioned below:
NetBeans: It is an open-source IDE that consists of various useful packages and modules for development. NetBeans supports various languages as given below:
Eclipse: It is also an open-source software used for various development frameworks. It is majorly used for application development using Java. The languages supported by Eclipse are:
Aptana: It is a popular IDE used for the development of web applications. The programming languages supported by Aptana are:
Ruby on Rails
Mobile Development IDEs
There are various IDEs used for the development of mobile applications. Some of them are listed below:
IDEs for Particular Languages
For programming exclusively in a specific language, there are various IDEs available. They are as follows:
These are some of the commonly used Integrated Development Environments for various programming languages.
With the help of an IDE and its various features, it becomes an easy task to understand the functionalities and behavior of our code. Hence, we can create software with greater efficiency in less time.
This is the reason for the necessity of the Software Development Environment and we use an IDE for it.
Now, we can see that Python is supported by most of the IDEs. From this, we can infer that Python is one of the popular languages used for application development. In the next module, we will be going through the PyCharm IDE used for Python application development.
Smart Code Assistance
PyCharm provides smart code assistance that includes the following characteristics:
Smart code editor: It highlights the syntax in different colors. This helps in understanding the code easily. Auto-indentation is another feature that automatically adds an indent on a new line. The editor also detects and analyzes duplicate/copy–pasted programs. This helps in making proper changes in the code so that it becomes unique. Then, this smart code editor also suggests the insertion of matching braces and quotes.
Intelligent navigation: Smart navigation helps in finding items in the source code. We can easily navigate to any class or file in the project. Another feature of navigation is that we can add bookmarks in our code. This helps in navigating through the code to make the required changes that we have not made before.
Quick and secure refactoring: Refactoring helps in making changes in a project globally, as well as locally. We can rename files, functions, and classes. Also, we can split longer methods using the Extract method. Refactoring helps in upgrading the inner structure of the program, though it does not affect the overall performance of the program.
Integrated Tools for Developers
Visual debugger: In PyCharm, we can inspect and debug the code. Using Inline Debugger, we can see the data of live debugging in the editor window. It has a feature of multi-process debugging, which helps in debugging applications that support multiple Python operations.
Version control system (VCS): It helps in managing local changes. Here, operations such as combining, separating, and deleting files are automatically done. The features of VCS allows us to see the changes made by others. To protect our project from any unnecessary modification or data loss, PyCharm records the changes made to the code. We can revert the changes in the code to the previous state by inspecting the records.
Database tools: PyCharm provides access to databases such as MySQL, Oracle Database, and SQL Server. We can run queries, edit code, and alter data. It also gives quick code understanding ofthe SQLAlchemy library. Further, it helps in suggesting auto-completion options of the code.
Web Development: Frontend, Backend, and Testing
Backend: It supports Django, Remote, and Flask, which are popular web frameworks of Python.
Testing: PyCharm supports test frameworks such as Jest, Protractor, and Mocha. These test runners help do the testing of applications effectively.
Support for Scientific Tools and Libraries for Development
Scientific stack support: PyCharm integrates itself with various scientific libraries to build AI-based applications. These libraries include Pandas, SciPy, Matplotlib, and NumPy. To implement AI-based applications, it integrates with Jupyter Notebook. It helps in writing efficient programs using features such as auto-completion, smart debugging, and testing.
SciView: With the help of SciView, we can execute our code in the debug mode. Then, we can see the data in the list displayed in the graphical debugger of PyCharm.
A Customizable and Cross-platform IDE
Customizable UI: This IDE provides a customizable user interface. We can change the keyboard layout as per our own needs.
Configuring the editor window: This feature provides us with the facility to configure the editor window. It consists of various designs and colors for the editor window. We can modify these designs or create a custom design for use.
Plugins: It gives more than 50 plugins that include one that supports the version control system. Also, it helps in integrating various frameworks and tools with the IDE.
Speed: The process of debugging is fast in comparison to other debuggers. This helps in creating bug-free programs.
Breakpoints: We can add breakpoints in our code at specific points to examine the code’s behavior. A breakpoint stops the execution of the program at the specified location marked by the programmer.
Debug everywhere: We can debug within a Docker container, Anaconda, VM, Virtualenv, or in any other IDE, integrated with PyCharm.
In this module of the PyCharm tutorial, we have seen ‘What is PyCharm?’ and what makes it a popular IDE for Python developers.
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