25 Feb 2017

Review: JetBrains PyCharm

PyCharm from JetBrains, is a full featured Python IDE. Which over the last 6 months has been my Python IDE of choice.

The official site is: https://www.jetbrains.com/pycharm.

I would like to share my experiences, which have mostly been positive.

Editions

Before jumping into thoughts and experiences, lets preface with the two different editions of PyCharm. Community and Professional.

PyCharm Community Edition is the free version. For my usage, it can almost do everything I need. Featuring everything that I would expect from an IDE. Such as, auto indentation and code completion. There are less features then the paid version. However, it doesn’t feel like they have made it just to give a taste. For many people it would do everything that they would want.

The Professional Edition adds a good chunk of additional features. As I change between my laptop and desktop often. The remote development feature was very compelling. For me, this provides the ability to a script on an instance in the cloud. Along the same lines, you can select an interpreter which is a docker container.

The remote development feature, was what the deciding point to pay for the licence. Otherwise I would have probably stayed with Community Edition.

Interface and UX

The interface is well laid out in it’s default state. It is, also very customization. You’re able to personalize the layout, colours and fonts to your hearts content. I haven’t delved into the customization greatly. Simply because after changing window locations and colour them, I’m happy.

I did find when I had the Python console on the bottom, it would expand up and cover more of the screen then I would prefer. While on the right hand side, I do not have this occur.

As PyCharm is a multi-platform system, it includes the ability to sync your profile settings between instances. Making the change from Windows to Mac and back very seamless.

In terms of user experience, PyCharm has been great. I haven’t had crashes and it’s not feeling bloated. There are a lot of features, most I don’t even know what they mean. But using it feels quick and responsive. Code suggestions are in real time and not lagging behind.

Debugging and Documentation

PyCharm features a debugger. For me this has been fantastic. It’s very easy to dig through to code and see what is happening. Stopping and a break and seeing what variables contain at that point.

The debugging functionality makes a lot of sense to use. Which makes the frustrating task of debugging a bit easier.

Documentation has been great. Features are well covered and the language used is simple enough to understand. I find many products are let down by poor documentation, thankfully this is not the case for PyCharm.

Summary

I have used IDE’s when dabbling with code before, but I’m not a heavy coder. As someone knew to Python, I have found PyCharm to be an exceptional piece of kit.

If you want to try it out, grab the community edition. You don’t even have to supply an email address.

Thank You For Reading