Spyder, a good IDE for Python to choose

On the previous semester, i taught a class named “Teknologi Informasi” in my campus. On the beginning session or meeting until session of 6th, i taught Introduction of Information Technology and the rest sessions for Basic programming and Data Management with Python. The class has 16 sessions including mid-semester examination on session of 8th and final-semester examination on the last session or session of 16th.

In Python sessions, i chose Spyder as Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and i requested my students to use it too. There are a few of students could not install Spyder using online Python editor. In another side, Jupiter notebook is popular in Python but i still choose Spyder because i already familiar and comfortable with Spyder.

Spyder (www.spyder-ide.org) has tag “The Scientific Python Development Environment”. It is written with Python for Scientists, Engineers and Data Analysts. It features a unique combination of the Advanced editing, analysis, debugging and profiling functionality of a comprehensive development tool with the data exploration, interactive execution, deep inspection and beautiful visualization capabilities of a scientific package [1].

It has some components, they are Editor, IPython Console, Variable Explorer, Plots, Debugger and help.It also has plugins; Spyder Notebook, Spyder Terminal and Spyder Unittest [1].

To install Spyder we can install it using Anaconda (https://www.anaconda.com/products/individual). Anaconda is a Data Science toolkit, a package contains some software inside besides Spyder and Python interpreter/Python. Because Spyder is an IDE for writing Python, we need Python installed in our computer. Besides Spyder and Python, Anaconda contains Jupiter and Python libraries such as scipy, numpy, pandas, matplotlib and scikit learn and it helps us to be more productive in Software development and Data Science.

If you are a Linux user, you can install Spyder using apt-get install command, use below syntax in your home user:
$ sudo apt-get install spyder
Don’t forget to execute “sudo apt-get update” first for download package information from all configured sources [2].

Anaconda installers are available for 3 major Operating Systems, Windows, MacOS and Linux.Because Anaconda contains some software and libraries inside, no wonder if the installer file has a big size. For Windows 32 bit, we need 403 Mb empty space, Windows 64 bit is 457 mb, MacOS 64-bit for command line installer (428 mb), MacOS 64-bit for Graphical installer (435 Mb), Linux 64 bit (x86) (529 MB) and Linux 64-bit (Power 8 and Power 9) installer (279 Mb).

If you use Windows, after you download the installer successfully, put the installer file in your hard drive, you can put it on C:/, then double click the installer file and the installer process will begin immediately.

After install Anaconda or Spyder IDE for Linux successfully, on shortcut icon, you can choose it to run Spyder. The latest version of Spyder when this article is written is Spyder 4.2.1, but i still use Spyder 3.3.6 and the first appearance is as below.

Spyder IDE 3.3.6

If you use Linux, after you put the installer file on your hard drive, you can run some steps below :
1.Move the installer file to /usr/local. Use : sudo move Anaconda*.sh /usr/local
2.change the installer file become executable file with : sudo chmod a+x Anaconda*.sh
3. Execute it with : sudo ./Anaconda*.sh
4. Follow the instruction steps of installation until finish.

After you open the Spyder, you will find some panes, the important panes are Editor, IPython console and Variable Explorer. You can choose other panes by choosing View → Panes and you can find some other panes there. Editor is a pane for writing your Python code, IPython console is for displaying output from your Python code, variable explorer is a pane for displaying variables you use.

In Editor, Spyder has text highlighting and auto completion feature. The more interesting one is Spyder console, it is like Python console in Linux terminal or C Prompt in Windows is put in Spyder, so we don’t need to interpret our Python code in different window. We can run our Python code in Spyder but we also can run it too in Linux terminal or C prompt in Windows. Other menus are available too in Spyder, such as Edit, Search, Debug and Tools.

Spyder brings joy and eagerness in Python coding which you can try for you Python IDE.

[1] Spyder website contributors, Home-Spyder IDE, Spyder IDE, 2020. Accessed on : Feb 04 2021 [Online]. Available : https://www.spyder-ide.org/

[2] Vivek Gite, What does sudo apt-get update command do on Ubuntu/Debian?, nixcraft, January 1, 2021. Accessed on : Feb 4, 2021 [Online]. Available : https://www.cyberciti.biz/faq/what-does-sudo-apt-get-update-command-do-on-ubuntu-debian/

I am a Software Engineer and a computer science lecturer. I am interested in Software Development,Machine Learning, Data Mining and Spatial Data.