Monday, April 6, 2015

Komodo vs. PyCharm - Teenager Reviews Two Famous Python IDEs

by Kai of Palo Alto High School
As a fifteen-year old novice programmer who codes in Python, I tested two different editors, PyCharm Professional and the new Komodo IDE 9 that was just released.

When I first opened up PyCharm, I felt like it provides the maximum amount of features from the start. Initially, the crowded menu and taskbar were too much of a distraction as I could not figure out what many of the options actually did.  I liked that PyCharm gives me the ability to see the file path of the program I am editing. This is useful when I edit multiple programs at once, as it is easy to quickly distinguish one program from another. 

The other tools worked well and the ability to access old variables when writing new code is nice. My first impression of PyCharm was that it tried to be too versatile and sacrificed usability in the process.
When I opened up Komodo the first thing I noticed was the elegant presentation. The editor relies on alternating color schemes to make text easy to read. The entire window is taken up by the code you are editing. Additionally, the menu consisted of simple icons and pop-up menu’s that made editing and running my program a easy task.

A nice feature is that Komodo lets you know which function you are editing, a feature that would be nice to have in PyCharm. Two arrows at the top of the page allow you to revisit code you were previously editing.

This functionality is extremely helpful for longer pieces of code. Unfortunately, the icon based menu occasionally made it difficult to find what I are looking for. For example, I wanted the command to comment out a section of my code. Usually, it would be housed under the section of the menu called “Edit”. With Komodo there is no such section. Therefore, one either has to reference the “Search” function or have previous knowledge of the command in order to use Komodo effectively. Ultimately, Komodo 9 is a more efficient editor than PyCharm, but is held back by an icon-heavy menu.

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