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Other Tools

This section lists some additional tools which are popular ways to create, maintain and execute Python programs. While IDLE is suitable for many purposes, you may prefer an IDE with a different level of sophistication.

Any Platform

The Komodo Edit is an IDE that is considerably more sophisticated than IDLE. It is — in a way — too sophisticated for this book. Our focus is on the language, not high-powered IDE's. As with IDLE, this is a tool that runs everywhere, so you can move seamlessly from GNU/Linux to Wiundows to the Mac OS with a single, powerful tool.

See for more information on ordering and downloading.


Windows programmers might want to use a tool like Textpad. See for information on ordering and downloading. Be sure to also download the python.syn file from, which has a number of Python syntax coloring configurations.

To use Textpad, you have two setup steps. First, you'll need to add the Python document class. Second you'll need to tell Textpad about the Python tool.

The Python Document Class. You need to tell Textpad about the Python document class. Use the Configure menu; the New Document Class… menu item lets you add Python documents to Textpad. Name your new document class Python and click Next. Give your class members named *.py and click Next. Locate your python.syn file and click Next. Check the new Python document class, and click Next if everything looks right to create a new Textpad document class.

The Python Tool. You'll want to add the Python interpreter as a Textpad tool. Use the Configure menu again, this time selecting the Preferences… item. Scroll down the list of preferences on the left and click on Tools. On the right, you'll get a panel with the current set of tools and a prominent Add button on the top right-hand side. Click Add, and select Program… from the menu that appears. You'll get a dialog for locating a file; find the Python.exe file. Click Okay to save this program as a Textpad tool.

You can check this by using Configure menu and Preferences… item again. Scroll down the list to find Tools. Click the + sign and open the list of tools. Click the Python tool and check the following:

  • The Command is the exact path to your copy of Python.exe
  • The Parameters contains $File
  • The Initial Folder contains $FileDir
  • The “capture output” option should be checked

You might also want to turn off the Sound Alert option; this will beep when a program finishes running. I find this makes things a little too noisy for most programs.


Macintosh programmers might want to use a tool like BBEdit. BBEdit can also run the programs, saving the output for you. See for more information on BBEdit.

To use BBEdit, you have two considerations when writing Python programs.

You must be sure to decorate each Python file with the following line: #!/usr/bin/env python. This tells BBEdit that the file should be interpreted by Python. We'll mention this again, when we get to script-writing exericses.

The second thing is to be sure you set the “ chdir to Script's Folder ” option when you use the the run... item in the #! (“shebang”) menu. Without this, scripts are run in the root directory, not in the directory that contains your script file.

  Published under the terms of the Open Publication License Design by Interspire