Recently my programming practice has been primarily on the Linux operating system family, and for most of what I do this is totally sensible. Linux has the best IDEs for every language I can think of, the easiest setup for extra libraries i.e. python‘s pip works right in bash without any setup to speak of… But I also have this new computer with Windows 10
Is It Better To Work On Both Platforms With Different Tools?
Of course most of the mainstream IDEs work in Windows, eclipse, codeblocks, pycharm, etc but my favorite for python really is Ninja. As Ninja does work on Windows as well as Linux I decided to set it up. Of course this means I’ll have to install python, and perhaps anaconda, though I was thinking to get matplotlib I might not need to do the whole anaconda thing, maybe just django.
Then I remembered that I was using Visual Studios for C++ and never really checked to see if it could do python 2.7 – which was the goal.
Naturally it does and for using standard libraries so far it works great, there is an interactive shell in tools which is on par with Ninja’s functionality – but you will definitely want to know a few things if you are transitioning over from a Linux development environment and planning to use Visual Studios 2015 Community Edition:
- Install python before you install the IDE on Windows – and perhaps pip
- Grab Ninja as a backup and because it’s much quicker if you’re doing a python script only
- Expect a massive install – up to 8Gb across your devices
- Remember to set up something like dropbox to go back and forth between machines
Advantages of the Visual Studios 2015 Community Edition do include the massive community, the wonderful interface for deeper projects, the complete setup for releases and even cycles – not unlike the tools in QT – some of which were used to create Ninja.
Visual Studios has a very rich interface allowing for very complex website construction, simple enough app development, and not surprisingly an A+ level C++ build environment, I’m quite pleased to find it has decent tools for python. I’m not particularly surprised to find out that beyond the standard library you really will have to do some digging to find out which library systems to install to get the most out of it.
*Native Linux QT type GUI tests on Windows aren’t likely to yield positive results – however toolkits like QT can make some of that work as well.
Advantages of also installing Ninja:
- Fast in both modes
- Stable like nothing else on short to medium scripts
- Highly configurable-ish
Now a word about Visual Studios Blend
As a team collaboration interface it’s amazingly well thought out. It has code peek features for a variety of languages and in place editing of XAML documents. It’s instantly recognizable and probably low resource enough to use alongside Skype until it’s time to compile or test anything.
If this were a product review I’d be saying things about speed that might detract from the functionality of Visual Studios 2015 Community Edition – particularly where it relates to quick and dirty python scripting – or even moderately quick and perfect python where nothing is rushed but everything is pretty. That would be unfair considering how much more you can potentially do with this awesome tool.
It helps to remember we’re talking about a plugin essentially and it delivers exactly what you need – if you know how to add the pip system or are comfortable with standard libraries.
Standing alone it’s a 5 star IDE – the plugin absolutely stays true to the expectations of passive scripting, and has a fully functional community backend that makes up for it’s lukewarm pace.
Coupled with Ninja as a backup – it’s an excellent way to unit test and release deeper incorporated applications – even for teams.