Posts Tagged ‘Tools’

Choosing an IronPython editor for teaching

The Northtec D520 “Programming” course is changing to IronPython (from Visual Basic) this year, so I have to figure out what editor/IDE the students should use.  In some ways, Visual Studio would be ideal, since they need to get exposed to that during the course (and it’s an excellent IDE, with a really great form designer), but since there isn’t any real IronPython support in Visual Studio (hopefully coming in 2010), it’s not really a viable option.  Instead, they’ll start with a simpler editor, and then briefly learn how to use Visual Studio’s form designer and subclass the forms in IronPython (as described in IronPython in Action).

The requirements here are a bit different than when selecting an editor/IDE for actual development work.  Firstly, it needs to be free (at least for educational use), and it needs to be reasonably simple to use the basic functionality (since these are first-year students).  Code-completion isn’t necessary (on the one hand, it helps them out while they are learning – on the other, they rely a little too much on it), nor is a built-in debugger, or support for complex projects.

I considered seven different editors/IDEs – there are a couple of others, but they either seemed too young (e.g. IronPython IDE, IronEditor), or inappropriate for other reasons (e.g. ZeusEdit is not free, I can’t stand Eclipse.  UPDATE: I decided to try Eclipse and Netbeans after all).

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