Oct 23, 2023
about 6 min read
What is PyCharm and How Does It Benefit Python Development?
Learn what PyCharm is and why it is one of the best Python IDEs. Discover its key features, benefits, and how it compares to the others.
Python is one of the most popular programming languages in the world, and for good reason. It is versatile, easy to learn, and has a thriving community of developers constantly creating new tools and applications.
If you are a Python developer, you may need an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to keep up with your needs and streamline your workflow. This is where PyCharm comes in. But what is PyCharm? Let’s find out in this article.
What is PyCharm?
What is PyCharm? Developed by JetBrains, it is a Python IDE that offers a range of features and tools to help developers write better Python code faster. With a clean and intuitive interface, PyCharm supports a variety of Python frameworks, libraries, and tools. In addition, it is versatile and powerful, with comprehensive features to write, debug, test, and run Python code productively.
Therefore, PyCharm is suitable for both beginners and experienced Python programmers. With it, you can create high-quality Python applications for the web, data science, machine learning, and more.
Why is PyCharm Best for Python? 8+ Key Features of PyCharm
After knowing what PyCharm is, it is time to learn about its features. PyCharm has many great features, making it a go-to choice for many Python developers. Some of the most notable ones are:
- Code analysis and refactoring: PyCharm analyzes your code and suggests improvements, like removing unused imports, extracting variables or functions, renaming symbols, and optimizing imports. It also helps you refactor your code safely and efficiently with automated tools.
- Debugging and testing: PyCharm has a built-in debugger that allows you to inspect and modify variables, set breakpoints, evaluate expressions, and step through your code. It also has a testing framework that supports various testing libraries, including unittest, pytest, and nose. You can run and debug your tests within the IDE and see the results in a graphical interface.
- Version control and collaboration: PyCharm integrates with various version control systems, like Git, GitHub, SVN, and Mercurial. You can manage your code changes, review diffs, commit, push, pull, merge, and branch from within the IDE. You can also collaborate with others using the code review tool and the remote development feature.
- Project management and deployment: PyCharm helps you manage your projects efficiently with its project explorer, virtual environments, package manager, configuration files, and run configurations. You can also deploy your projects to various platforms: local servers, remote servers, Docker containers, cloud services, and more.
- Web development support: PyCharm supports multiple web development frameworks, including Django, Flask, Pyramid, and web2py. You can create, run, and debug web applications within the IDE and use the built-in tools for web development.
- Advanced search and navigation tools: PyCharm has powerful search and navigation tools that help you find what you need quickly and easily. You can search for files, classes, methods, symbols, and keywords using the global search bar or the context-sensitive search options. You can also navigate through your code using the breadcrumbs, structure view, go-to definition, go-to declaration, and go-to implementation features.
- Customizable layouts and themes: PyCharm allows you to customize your IDE layout and theme to suit your preferences and needs. You can change the tool windows and panels’ size, position, and visibility using the drag-and-drop or the view menu options. Moreover, using the settings menu options, you can change the color scheme, font size, editor theme, and UI theme.
- And many more: PyCharm has many other features that enhance your development experience: a built-in terminal, remote development environment, profiler, auditor, documentation generator, code formatter, plugin manager, and more.
3 Main Benefits of Using PyCharm
PyCharm is popular among Python developers for many reasons. Some of the main benefits of using PyCharm are:
- Productivity: PyCharm helps you save time and work more efficiently by automating many tasks and providing smart tools and shortcuts. With its smart code editor, you can write code faster and easier. The debugging and testing tools are also handy as they help you debug and test your code more effectively. In addition, the version control and collaboration features allow you to manage your code changes and work more smoothly with others.
- Quality: PyCharm helps improve the quality of your code by detecting and fixing errors, bugs, and vulnerabilities. You can write cleaner, more readable code with its code analysis and refactoring tools. It also ensures that your code adheres to the standards and conventions with the help of its code style and inspection features. Moreover, PyCharm provides profiling and auditing tools to enhance your code’s performance and security.
- Versatility: PyCharm supports an extensive range of Python applications and frameworks. With it, you can effortlessly develop web applications using Django, Flask, Pyramid, or web2py. You can also work on data science and machine learning projects with pandas, numpy, scipy, scikit-learn, TensorFlow, or PyTorch. Additionally, you can create desktop applications using PyQt or Tkinter.
PyCharm Community Edition vs. Professional Edition
After figuring out what PyCharm is, you should realize that it comes in two editions: Community Edition and Professional Edition. The Community Edition is free and open-source. In contrast, the Professional Edition requires a paid license or subscription.
The key difference is the degree of support they provide for different Python applications and frameworks. The Professional Edition offers more advanced features and tools for web development, data science, machine learning, and remote development. On the other hand, the Community Edition provides a more basic set of features and tools that are still sufficient for most Python development needs.
Some of the features that are exclusive to the Professional Edition are:
- Web development support for Django, Flask, Pyramid, web2py, and other frameworks
- Data science and machine learning support for pandas, numpy, scipy, scikit-learn, TensorFlow, PyTorch, and other libraries
- A remote development environment that allows you to connect to remote servers, Docker containers, or cloud services and run your code there
- Profiler that helps you measure and optimize your code performance
- Auditor that supports you in detecting and fixing security issues in your code
- Documentation generator that allows you to create HTML or PDF documentation from your code quickly
- A code formatter that aids you in formatting your code according to PEP 8 or other standards
- Plugin manager that helps you install and manage various plugins and extensions for PyCharm
You can compare the features of the two editions in more detail on the official website of PyCharm. Depending on your project type, budget, and preferences, you can choose the edition that suits you best. You can also try the Professional Edition for free for 30 days before deciding whether to buy it.
PyCharm vs. Other Python IDEs: Is There Anything Better Than PyCharm?
PyCharm is not the only Python IDE available in the market. There are other alternatives that you can choose from depending on your preferences and needs. Some of the popular Python IDEs are:
Visual Studio Code
Visual Studio Code is a free, open-source code editor supporting multiple languages and platforms. It boasts a large community of users contributing to its extensions and plugins. It shares many features with PyCharm, such as intelligent code completion, debugging, testing, version control, and deployment. However, it lacks some of PyCharm’s advanced features, including code analysis, refactoring, profiling, and auditing.
Spyder is a scientific Python IDE that is free and open-source. It is designed for data analysis, visualization, and exploration. The IDE has a user-friendly interface similar to MATLAB’s. Also, it integrates well with popular scientific libraries like numpy, pandas, matplotlib, and IPython. It has many useful features for data science, including a variable explorer, plotting panel, interactive console, and support for IPython notebooks.
Nonetheless, it does not have some of the features that PyCharm has, such as support for web development, remote development, and collaboration tools.
Jupyter Notebook is a web-based application that is free and open-source. It allows you to create and share documents with live code, equations, visualizations, and text. It is widely used for data science and machine learning projects because it allows you to interact with your data and models dynamically and rigorously. Jupyter Notebook offers several features convenient for data analysis, such as inline plotting, markdown support, widgets, and extensions.
Nevertheless, it does not include some of the features PyCharm provides, such as a code editor, debugger, tester, and version control.
Conclusion: Why is PyCharm Popular?
After learning what PyCharm is, we can see that it is one of the best Python IDEs, offering a comprehensive and rich set of features and tools to help you develop Python applications efficiently and productively. It is suitable for various types of Python projects and frameworks and can improve your code quality and performance. However, PyCharm is not the only option that you have. You can also try other Python IDEs that may suit your preferences and needs better. Ultimately, the best Python IDE for you depends on your personal choice and experience.