If you are a python developer, then you have probably asked yourself the same question that many others have: Which IDE or code editor should I use for Python programming?
There are plenty of options to choose from, and it’s hard to find the best Python IDE. PyCharm and Visual Studio Code are two widely used Python IDE.
This blog post discusses these two IDEs with an overview of their features and why they might be better suited for your coding journey.
What is vS Code?
VS Code AKA Visual Studio Code is different from Microsoft Visual Studio, a cross-platform code editor that supports multiple programming languages. It is free and open-source.
What is pyCharm?
PyCharm is an IDE for python development with support for multiple python versions, imports and refactoring tools.
It comes with code intelligence features like autocomplete, live templates as well as integrated debugging capabilities.
It is available in two editions; community edition which is the freely available and professional edition which costs $89 per year license.
Which python IDE should you choose?
Most programmers when they start learning Python, they consider using Python IDLE. Which is not a bad option for someone who has just started learning Python. Once you are familiar with IDLE and Python Syntax, you can also try Atom for Python with Plugin installed.
You might want to consider PyCharm if you are a python developer who needs an IDE with code intelligence features and integrated debugging capabilities.
VS Code is best suited for those who need an easy-to-use cross-platform code editor with built-in python-support. It provides many robust editing features for Python developers.
Features common in VS Code and PyCharm
Auto code completion: Code completion tools like tabnine and Kite can be integrated with these IDES. Hovering over any identifier will enable Intellisense (autocomplete) capability. You can also view documentation for each definition, variable, class, etc.
Regexes support in code search: Find in files, rename class or function (or variables), extract a method from the whole class with a single click.
User code-defined code snippets: Both have an integrated snippet library that will come in handy when you have to search for snippets. The resources are very helpful at the time of creating custom code snippets.
Code inspection and debugging: This feature allows you to quickly navigate to either an imported module or a function/method definition with just one click.
Code linting/ Static Code Analysis: Static code analysis makes it easy to find compile time or even run time bugs in the code before delivering it to production.
Git integration: Git allows team members to work on their part individually while still being able to share changes. Both VS Code and PyCharm support gits like Github and Bitbucket.
Syntax highlighting and parentheses matching: Syntax highlighting and parentheses set matching makes it easy for programmers to tell which are opening and closing.
Autopep8 support and code formatting: Autopep8 allows coders not only to input text without worrying about whether it will produce any errors but also save time by avoiding tedious hand-coding schemes from scratch
Command-line tool: Integrated terminal, makes it easy to work with command-line tools and execute build commands on the fly without having to open a separate application or go through the trouble of switching between the windows.
While running a Python project in PyCharm, I noticed that it consumes a good amount of RAM. Depending upon the project size, it can easily consume at least 1 GB whereas VS Code is less memory intensive and consumes RAM in MBs.
Over time as the project grows, PyCharm eats more memory and slows down. Compared to PyCharm, VSCode is a lightweight editor with extremely responsive UI allowing you to edit multiple files at the same time.
PyCharm on the other hand relies on heavy graphical elements to display its features which makes it not suitable for PCs with low configuration. It takes time to settle at the startup and consumes a lot of memory and CPU time.
VSCode capability can be extended using plugins available through the marketplace. Literally, there are multiple plugins available to achieve a single task.
Python support is not native in VSCode, You have to install Python – Plugin in VSCode for it to support Python As of writing the article, the plugin is downloaded 39M times from the marketplace.
There are out of box plugins available for PyCharm as well but the community is smaller than VS Code.
The user experience of PyCharm looks more like an app for coding whereas VSCode offers multiple views for writing code. If you are a VIM user, VSCode makes it simple for you, just install VSCodeVIM from the market place and you can run all the VIM commands.
It can run any code snippet from your editor with just one keystroke (Ctrl + Shift + P). The terminal is in-built inside the VS Code and accessible by pressing Ctrl+`.
The interface in PyCharm is clean and simple with everything laid out in front of me. It was really easy for me to jump into the code editor and start writing my first PyCharm project!
PyCharm console is another feature similar to VS Code. It is very easy to run python commands and see the output in just a few seconds without shuffling through windows.
If you are a beginner looking at starting programming and have little experience with IDEs, I would recommend you PyCharm. For an experienced programmer, PyCharm might not offer any new features.
As we have already talked about the price, VS Code is open-source and available free under the MIT license. While PyCharm community edition is available for free with limited features. Buy professional edition for commercial use from their website for $80 per user license.
Code Completion and Highlighting
The PyCharm IDE has a real-time syntax checking feature which although is memory extensive, enables you to perform syntax checks on the fly, with real-time highlighting of errors and code completion as you type your code.
IntelliSense is an amazing VS Code capability that provides contextual information to the user as they type. This allows for autocomplete of functions and vars, saves time by providing suggestions when typing keywords.
Some of the features include code completion, smart indenting, debugging support (via PyCharm Debugger) and best for beginners.
PyCharm also has an integrated version control system called Git which is very helpful when you’re developing software in a collaborative environment.
VSCode has no built-in Git integration, which means that you need to install an extension such as Vscodium or Git-Plus. After installing the extension, it provides all basic Git features such as “checkout” for partial commits into the local codebase or remote git server without permanently altering files on disk
I can find VS Code and PyCharm both have a powerful refactoring feature. Both support features, like class, file variable renaming, debugging, function extraction, goto function definition, etc.
Pycharm has an interactive debugger that can catch errors quickly before they happen in production code. Its refactoring tool is extremely powerful making development easier with less effort needed from developers when changing code or updating existing ones.
After installing the Python extension in VSCode, it provides all the basic features that are needed to make VSCode a full IDE for Python. The plugin enables support for Django, Flask, Pyramid as well.
Cross Platform Compatibility
As both PyCharm and VSCode are available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, you don’t have to switch software when you move from your desktop at home to your laptop when you travel.
VSCode is an Open Source, it’s free to use. It offers extensions and plugins that add functionality to the editor. It also provides a suite of comprehensive colour-coded themes out of the box.
As discussed above, it integrates with Git control systems like GitHub or BitBucket.
Freqently Asked Questions
Is VS Code better than PyCharm?
VS Code is better than PyCharm if we compare them on the basis of resource consumption. PyCharm is specifically created for Python, so it offers features that are relevant only to Python.
Is PyCharm available for Linux?
PyCharm is available for Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux
Is PyCharm free for commercial use?
PyCharm community edition is available free for individual use whereas pro-edition is available for $89 per license
Can I install VS Code on Raspberry Pi?
VS Code is a lightweight code editor and less memory intensive. It can easily be installed and used on Raspberry pi.
Python developers are always looking for the right IDE to complete their development process. Visual Studio Code or PyCharm is a common question, so we’ve taken some time to compare these two popular options.
This will help you figure out which one will work best for you. If this article helped you make up your mind or offer more insight into the differences between them, please let us know in the comments below! Thanks for reading 🙂.