PyCharm is an integrated development environment (IDE) created by JetBrains, a company known for its suite of developer tools. PyCharm was created specifically with Python software developers in mind, and, as such, is an ideal tool for programmers who primarily work in the language. It features a number of features aimed at streamlining the development process and is known to increase productivity and code quality. In this review, we will look at PyCharm’s features, pros, cons, and pricing. In addition, we will look at some PyCharm alternatives in case the IDE is not quite what you are looking for.
Overview of PyCharm
PyCharm is a feature-rich coding environment that is ranked among the top choices for Python developers. It has a clean user interface that is easy-to-use and intuitive. This makes it a great choice for Python programmers of all shapes and size – whether they be a beginner or seasoned veteran. We will look at some of its features in the following section.
PyCharm has the following features for Python programmers:
- Ease of Use
- Code Editing and Refactoring
- Built-in Debugger
- Version Control tools
- Project management support
- Code Collaboration and Review
- Plugins and integrations
- Responsive for smaller projects
As mentioned above, one of the most important features of PyCharm is its ease of use, intuitive interface, and low learning curve. All of this equates to the developer tool being simple to setup and start using, regardless of your skill level.
Its workspaces are well organized and navigation is clear cut – you won’t be clicking around wasting time trying to figure out where things are. The menus themselves are comprehensive, showcasing everything the IDE is capable of performing. It has a great dark theme and customizable color schemes that is visually appealing and easy on the eyes, especially after hours of coding.
Another great feature of PyCharm is its selection of code editing and refactoring tools. It has intelligent code completion that can predict and suggest code snippets on the fly. This reduces time spent typing in completed code and naturally reduces errors due to user input (such as typos or missed colons). PyCharm’s code analysis also highlights any errors and provides suggestions that will enhance code quality. Refactoring is achieved through code restructuring automation, furthering the readability and performance of the codebase.
PyCharm is also great for debugging Python code. The IDE offers step-by-step execution, variable inspection, breakpoints, and even provides stack trace analysis. With these tools, development teams can save significant time in the debugging process.
PyCharm has a suite of version control features as well. Further, it integrates with popular version control software like Git, Mercurial, and SVN. This integration adds collaboration opportunities for the team and lets them track code changes, merge code, and manage branches. PyCharm’s own built-in VCS tools add functionality for commits, pulls, and pushes within the IDE, meaning developers won’t need to use a secondary tool and can in one environment.
Another cool feature PyCharm offers that sets it apart from other IDEs and code editors is the fact that it has built-in project management. Project managers of software development teams can quickly set up Python-specific software projects, web app projects, and even scientific ones, thanks to its project templates. A simplistic package manager also makes it easy to manage task dependencies.
For remote or distributed development teams, PyCharm has built-in support for both code reviews and code collaboration. This means several developers can work on the same codebase at the same time, regardless of location. Coders can also share code snippets and modules for feedback and to comment on each others code to offer suggestions or ask questions.
If PyCharm’s native functionality does not match your teams needs, you can use the IDEs large ecosystem of plugins to add even more features. As a Jet Brains tool, PyCharm users have access to the JetBrains Marketplace, which has a large number of plugins that include frameworks, libraries, and programmer tools of all types. These add-ons add additional language support, third-party integration support, and enhancements to coding productivity – to name but a few.
Read: IntelliJ IDEA Review.
PyCharm offers three pricing tiers for organizations, including:
- Free Community: Free, with limited features.
- PyCharm: $249 per user, per year
- All Products Pack: $779 per user, per year
The PyCharm option costs $249 per user, per year, with lower pricing for the second and third year. It is ideal for developers that work as part of a team, versus individual developers.
The All Products Pack is $779 per user, per year and grants access to 10 IDEs, 3 extensions, 2 profilers, and 16 total developer tools.
Individual developers or solo programmers have the same pricing tiers, but the pricing is different:
- PyCharm: $99 per year
- All Products Pack: $289 per year
Advantages of PyCharm
PyCharm offers the following advantages for software developers and programmers:
- Integrates with other Jet Brains Tools
- Built-in learning tools
- Licensing options
A major selling point of PyCharm is the fact that it integrates seamlessly with other JetBrains products. If you use developer software like IntelliJ IDEA, WebStorm, or some of the companies refactoring tools, you will find transitioning to PyCharm (or adding it to your arsenal) is fairly simple, as it shares a similar interface. In fact, the IDE shares similar features and shortcuts with other JetBrains tool, making your workflow and experience much the same if you switch between projects or languages.
PyCharm also has a great amount of education resources that help you learn not only PyCharm, but Python programming as well. In fact, PyCharm has an Educational Edition that comes with an easier interface and interactive learning, making it a terrific entry tool for Python beginners. This version includes a plethora or tutorials, exercises, and testing tools that help cement the fundamentals of Python and coding in general in the user’s mind.
Another terrific resource is the PyCharm community, which is pretty active. Within the community you will find other users whom you can ask questions, as well as posts solving common issues and even more tutorials.
PyCharm also provides professional support plans if you need a dedicated technical assistant.
Despite its many benefits, PyCharm does have some disadvantages worth mentioning, which include:
- Can be resource intensive
- Initial setup can be complicated
- System requirements
PyCharm is considered a powerful, feature-rich IDE and, as such, it does require a decent amount of system resources to run optimally. This is especially true for large, more complex, or data-driven codebases. This has the potential to cause slower startup times and performance lags here or there if you are working on budget machines or legacy systems.
Another potential “con” of PyCharm is that its free version does not include some of the more advanced features of its regular version – as to be expected. This can be limiting for freelance developers or small teams with small budgets who were looking to take advantage of all that PyCharm has to offer.
PyCharm, as noted, has many features, and while the user interface and menus are quite intuitive, it can be overwhelming for newer developers that are not used to working in such a robust development environment. This can be overcome with a little patience, however, as well as through the user of PyCharm’s many tutorials and learning resources.
Still not convinced PyCharm is the right integrated development environment for your software development team’s needs? Check out some of the PyCharm alternatives below for more options.
Visual Studio Code (VS Code)
Visual Studio Code – also known as VS Code, is an immensely popular development environment from Microsoft. It is the free, open source option of Microsoft’s Visual Studio. It supports virtually every major programming language, including Python, Java, C, C#, and C++ – to name but a few.
The IDE is lightweight and highly customizable and comes with a large featureset. In addition, programmers can enhance the developer tool by installing extensions from the Marketplace. Some common extensions for Python developers include Python for Visual Studio Code and Python Intellisense.
Spyder is another free open source development environment for Python developers. Python is well-known for its benefits to data science and scientific computing, as well as data analysis. Spyder further enhances Python’s abilities, as it was designed specifically for those same purposes.
Among its many features is its interface, which integrates with many popular tools for data science and AI development, including a variable explorer, data viewer, interactive console, and support for machine learning and artificial intelligence Python libraries like NumPy, SciPy, and Pandas.
PyDev is an integrated development environment created as an Eclipse plugin. This makes it a great alternative (or addition) for programmers that code in Java or already use the Eclipse ecosystem. Features for Python development include code completion and autocomplete, built-in testing and debugging, integration with other Eclipse plugins.
PyDev supports several languages other than Python as well, making it a great developer tool for multi-language coders. It also integrates with VS Code as well, making it even more versatile. Finally, the tool is free to use.
Final Thoughts on PyCharm IDE
PyCharm is easily one of the top Python IDE and code editors on the market, thanks largely to its bevvy of features and integrations with trusted developer tool maker, Jet Brains. Add to that its ease of use, intuitive interface, and educational resources, and PyCharm becomes an excellent choice for new developers or those looking to branch out and learn a new development environment.
PyCharm is much more than a code editor, as it also has features for code refactoring, version control, project management, and programmer collaboration.