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I know this is perhaps slightly dodgy teritory, but I'm going to go ahead.

I'm wondering which of the many python IDEs/interactive shells are best suited to the RPi? By this I mean low RAM, and fairly low memory on the SD.

If anyone has any other factors they think this should include, please do comment.

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IPython is very nice imho. As for IDE i use Eclipse... but not exavlty lightweight :) –  Paolo Jun 17 '12 at 13:44
I use vim. You can't really call it an IDE, but it has great syntax highlighting and is probably the lowest demand editor in terms of size and memory. –  Jivings Jun 17 '12 at 14:05
@Paolo Does that run well? Considering the pi has no JIT JVM I would imagine it is unusable –  Jivings Jun 17 '12 at 14:06
Eclipse on the Pi?! I'd ruled that out because of size. Thanks for the suggestions guys. –  ACarter Jun 17 '12 at 15:11
Just to clarify, I didn't run those on RPi ... :) I wouldn't even try Eclipse since typical RAM usage is some hundred of MB... –  Paolo Jun 19 '12 at 15:13
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3 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

On other computers I use Eclipse with PyDev installed but I judge Eclipse to be too big to run on the Raspberry Pi.

A Python IDE needs to give me the following three things,

  • Python colorizing
  • smart indenting
  • debugger

I would suggest using IDLE for a quick and simple way to get Python colorizing and smart indenting. As far as a debugger is concerned you can use Winpdb (simply open your Python files with it and you have all the debugging control and insight that you would get on PyDev).

Winpdb comes installed on the Debian Squeeze distribution from the Raspberry Pi website. IDLE does not come installed on Debian Squeeze but can be easily installed using sudo apt-get install idle.

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I'd go with bash using vi or nano. Emacs would probably be be fine too.

While these are not in the literal sense IDEs, with the right setup you can achieve the functionality of an IDE with a smaller footprint. I'll be honest, I have no idea what the resource requirements of the "proper" IDEs like IDLE require, but as they are windowed environments, it strikes me that they'll use a lot more resources up than a simple text editor with syntax highlighting, and a command line for running the code.

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+1 for vi. Although these are not IDE's, they get the job done, and are the best performance you will have on the Pi. –  Jivings Jun 19 '12 at 9:34
Unix is an IDE –  Alex Chamberlain Jun 19 '12 at 10:00
Really? I wouldn't use Vi, Vim is the better bet. –  Bryan Dunsmore Jun 19 '12 at 17:07
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We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

Raspberry Pi is great but yes, it has limitations. That's fine. We work within that, and thats what its all about. So...

Why not just use IDLE? It has/does pretty much everything you need. * Its small, it was designed for Python * cross-platform: works on Windows and Linux * multi-window text editor with multiple undo * Python colorizing and many other features, e.g. smart indent and call tips * Python shell window (a.k.a. interactive interpreter) * debugger (not complete, but you can set breakpoints, view and step)

Its the best way, really.


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