If you are just starting to learn Python development, you may be wondering what is a good IDE (Interactive Development Environment) you can use to get the code flowing? My personal favorite is Eclipse with the PyDev plugin.

Why is it my favourite? For a few reasons:

  • Eclipse is a powerful IDE with many built in features.
  • Eclipse has an extensive marketplace for plugins.
  • It’s Open Source.
  • Easily sync projects to remote servers over SSH.
  • Nice Git integration.

So, how do you get going with this awesome IDE?

In this tutorial I will be using Windows 8.1, however it will work equally as well on a Mac or Linux machine.

Download Eclipse

If you have not done so already, download eclipse from https://www.eclipse.org/downloads/.

Screenshot of the Eclipse IDE for Java EE Developers download link

The file you download will look something like this:

Screenshot of downloaded file

Extract the file to a location you wish to keep the application. Eclipse is unique in that there is no installer and it keeps all the files in the local directory.

Next, run eclipse.exe to load Eclipse for the first time.

Screenshot of Eclipse launcher

Choose a workspace (where the project files will be stored) and click OK.

Eclipse Luna IDE  Select Workspace Screenshot

When it loads it will look something like this:

Eclipse Luna IDE Screenshot

Click X on the tab to close the welcome screen.

Exclude Luna exit welcome screen screenshot

Now Eclipse is installed and set up, it’s time to install PyDev. Click Help > Install New Software.

From the Install window, select Add to add a new site (this is to add an external repository to install a plugin and get latest updates)Eclipse Luna install new plugin screenshot

In the Add Repository screen, enter the following:

Name: PyDev

Location: http://pydev.org/updates

Wondering what it all means? Well, Name is what it will be called in your repository list. Location is the URL for the repository updates. At the time if writing this article the repository URL is http://pydev.org/updates. This is unlikely to change, however, you can ensure you get the latest URL by looking on the PyDev website (http://pydev.org/download.html).

Enter the details into the Add Repository screen and click OK.

Eclipse Luna Add Repository Input Screenshot

Now that the PyDev repository is added, you can install PyDev. From the Work with dropdown box, select PyDev.

Eclipse Install New Software Work With Page Screenshot

The Available Software list should populate with some items. Check the box next to PyDev in the list, then select Next to continue.

Available Software list in Eclipse with PyDev

The next screen is Install Details screen where you can review what you would like to install. Ensure that PyDev for Eclipse is in the list and click Next.

Eclipse Review Installation for PyDev Install Screenshot

In the Review Licenses screen, read the license thoroughly and (if you agree) select I accept the terms of the license agreement. Then click Finish.

Eclipse Install PyDev Accept Terms and Conditions Screenshot

The Installing Software box will appear to show you the progress of the installation.

Eclipse Installing Software Screen Screenshot

A popup will appear to confirm that you trust the certificates that are being used to install the software. In the Selection  Needed box, select the certificate for Brainwy Software; PyDev; Brainwy and click OK.

Eclipse Trust Certificate Selection Screenshot

After the installation completes, you will be prompted to restart Eclipse. Select Yes to complete the installation.

Restart Eclipse Prompt Screenshot

When Eclipse restarts, on the surface, it will look as though nothing has changed and all the work has been for nothing. However, if you navigate to Window > Open Perspective > Other, you will see that all the hard work has in-fact, paid off.

Eclipse Open Perspective Selection Screenshot

In the Open Perspective menu, select PyDev from the list and click OK.

Eclipse Open Perspective Selection Box Screenshot

You will see the PyDev option appear on the top right of the screen. Select it to switch to the PyDev perspective (which basically sets Eclipse into Python mode).

Eclipse Open With PyDev Screenshot

If you wish to start a new project, select File > New > PyDev project from the top menu.

Eclipse New PyDev Project Menu Screenshot

That’s it. PyDev is installed and setup for your Eclipse installation. If you have any questions of feedback, please use the comments box below.