A Guide to PyCharm IDE for Beginners | Hacker Noon

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@shailamShailam Khajanchi

Shailam Khajanchi is the owner of Quadiro Technologies LLP.

I have seen lots of people are asking questions like W”which is the best editor tool in Python?” The answer is different for different users but most frequently people use PyCharm. The reasons are as below:

  • PyCharm deeply understands your project, not just an individual file.
  • Refactoring is main feature of an entire project.
  • The built-in SQL tooling is amazing

PyCharm is a very popular Python IDE. It is developed by JetBrains for Python development. Python is the best language where users can build software applications by writing clean and readable code. Python is a very famous language in Data Science and Machine Learning. The biggest company Facebook, Twitter, Amazon use PyCharm as their IDE for writing code in Python.

This article demonstrates everything about PyCharm in detail. It will help you to write your code in Python using PyCharm IDE.

What will you learn from this article?

  • What is python
  • What is a Python development environment
  • Why do we need IDE
  • What is PyCharm
  • How to install PyCharm
  • Feature of Pycharm
  • Tools of PyCharm
  • Pros and Cons of using PyCharm
  • Who uses PyCharm
  • Competitor of PyCharm
  • How to install Python packages in Pycharm
  • Pycharm tips and tricks
  • Alternatives for PyCharm
  • PyCharm Keymap

What is Python?

Python is a general-purpose coding language. It can be used for other types of programming, software and web development. Python can be used for:

  • Back end ( server-side) web and mobile app development
  • Desktop app
  • To perform big data mathematical computation
  • To write system script

Python is easy to learn. It is an in-demand programming language that increases your chances to get hired in the best company and will give you good package also. Nowadays Python is a rising star in the programming world. It can handle a big range of task. Python code syntax uses an English keyword and makes it easy to understand. Now we will see with an example of how Python coding is easy to write.

E.g. we have to print “Hello World” on the screen.

If we use Java we have to write code like below:

Class HelloWorld {
Public static void main(String[] args) {
System.out, printIn("Hello World!");
}
}

If we use Python then we have to write code like:

Print("Hello, World!")

Now you can see why Python is easy to learn and execute.

What is Python Development Environment?

The Python development environment consists of a text editor and python runtime implementation. Due to text editor, we can write code for our application.

The runtime implementation such as CPython or PyPy provides the method of executing your codes. A text editor is simple like notepad running on windows or more complicated Integrated Development Environment (IDE) with syntax checking and code highlighting.

It is a software application that combines all of the features and a tool needed by software developers. It is graphical. It uses windows and controls like the button to display information. It accepts input from the users. A tool includes

  • A text editor: it is a window for input, arrangement and commenting of programming language code.
  • A project editor: It shows all of the files that make up the software project.
  • A toolbar: It is a set of buttons that represents the function that environment can perform.
  • An output viewer: It displays any message that the environment generates during the operation.

There are lots of IDE for Python development such as IDLE, PyCharm, VScode, PyDev, Eclipse etc. but common IDE for Python development is PyCharm which can run on any major operating system.

Why do we need IDE?

It is not compulsory to use IDE but as a developer, but it makes life easier. The code insight is one of the most helpful tools that IDE provides. The program changes the text color to represent different classes, functions and variables.

Due to IDE, debugging of the program becomes easy. Testing is a crucial part to make sure that the program doesn’t have any error. Whenever writing a new program, different files have a reference in a specific path location. So it is very important for running the program that these files are in the correct location. Using IDE it becomes easy. Advantages of IDE are below:

  • Increased efficiency: Faster coding with less effort
  • Collaboration: A group of programmers can easily work together within an IDE.
  • Project management: Program resources are easily getting.

What is PyCharm?

PyCharm is the most popular IDE among developers. It is used for Python scripting language. PyCharm is compatible with Windows, Linux, macOS. The tools and feature of PyCharm help programmers help to write a variety of software application in Python quickly and efficiently.

The developers can customize the PyCharm UI according to their needs and specifications. They can also extend IDE by choosing plugins to meet complex project requirements. PyCharm gives some best features to its users such as

  • Code completion and inspection
  • Advanced debugging
  • It Supports the framework Django and Flask

Developers feel comfortable to work with PyCharm because of following features:

  • SQLALchemy as debugger: you can set a breakpoint pause in the debugger and can see the SQL representation of the user expression for SQL code.
  • Git visualization in the editor: While coding, queries are normal for the developer. You can check the last commit easily in PyCharm as there is a blue section which distinguishes the last commit and the current one.
  • Code coverage in the editor: You can run .py file outside the Pycharm editor.
  • Package management: All the installed packages are displayed with proper visual representations. This includes installed packages and the ability to search and add new packages also.
  • Local history: Local history always keeping track changes in a way that complements like Git. Local history gives complete details of what is needed to rollback and what to be added.
  • Refactoring: It is the process of renaming one or more files at a time and PyCharm includes various shortcuts for smooth refactoring process.

How to Install PyCharm

Let’s see how to install PyCharm IDE. Please copy the below link to download the PyCharm software:

https://www.jetbrains.com/pycharm/download/#section=windows

  • There are two different versions available for installing it on window. One is the professional version which is paid and it has advance features. Another one is community that is free of cost. You can download it ad install it.
  • After that you will see two options: Professional and Community
  • Download the version which you want.
  • If you are interested to work with Professional version, then you can download the Professional version and avail a free trial.
  • After clicking Next, window for setting up the installation location will appear.
  • You can either select a destination folder or retain the default path.
  • In the next step, you can set installation option as per requirement i.e. 32-bitlauncher or 64-bit launcher.

Then you will see the next window.

When you click on the finish button installation process is completed.

Installing PyCharm in Linux

  • Go to the official website of JetBrain and download PyCharm
  • Open the downloaded file and install the PyCharm. Please note the location you should choose for storing the file is /opt. //py ub 1 image
  • Go to the bin subdirectory.
  • Run PyCharm.sh //ub 2 and 3 image
  • To get started, perform the first-run of PyCharm on your Linux operating system.

PyCharm installation on Ubuntu

If you have Ubuntu on your system, then please follow the below steps for PyCharm installation.

  • First, install Snap Package Management by running the blow command Sudo snap install pycharm-community – -classic
  • After first step install PyCharm Use the following command for installing Community version Sudo snap install pycharm-community – -classic
  • For the Professional version use the below command Sudo snap install pycharm-professional – -classic
  • Once you initiate the installation process, the installation of selected version will start.
  • After the installation is completed, you are ready to use PyCharm in your Ubuntu system.

PyCharm installation on MacOS

  • Download the PyCharm from the official website of JetBrain
  • Mount the downloaded file to the volume directory using the following command
    $ hdiutil mount Downloads/pycharm-community-2017.3.1.dm
  • To initiate PyCharm installation, write the below command $sudo /Volumes/PyCharm CE/PyCharm CE.app/Contents/MacOS/pycharm
  • Select the custom location as /Applications
  • Accept JetBrain privacy policy.
  • After that you will get an option to select UI theme. Select it and click on next.
  • After setting the UI theme, select the path.
  • Now, you can add featured plugin for your editor.
  • After this, press on start using PyCharm to get started with pyCharm.

An important feature of PyCharm

There are many features that PyCharm provides to users to make coding easy. Here are some major features which stand out in terms of competition such as Code editor: This enables the programmer to write high-quality Python code.

The code editor enables programmers to read code easily through color scheme. It inserts indents on new line automatically. It picks the proper coding style. The programmer can also use the editor to expand a code block to an expression or logical block.

It avails snippet, code error, spelling mistakes, detects duplicate code, and auto-generate code. Due to this feature, the programmer can analyze the code and identify the error while writing codes.

  • Code navigation: The smart navigation feature helps the programmer to edit and improve code without the extra time and extra effort. The IDE makes it easier for the programmer to go to a class, symbol and file along with go to declarations. Due to this user can find source code, code snippet, UI element immediately. It can locate various usage of symbol and set bookmarks in the code. This feature helps the programmer to scrutinize the code thoroughly in the lens mode.
  • Refactoring: Due to PyCharm, developers can implement both local and global changes quickly and efficiently. The developer takes advantage of refactoring option provided by IDE to write plain python code and to work with Python framework. It can improve code quality by extracting variables, fields, constant and parameter. Due to PyCharm, the programmer can break longer classes and method through the extract method.
  • Support web technology: Due to PyCharm, the programmer writes a various web application using web technology like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Typescripts and Coffee Script. A live edit feature provided by IDE enables the programmer to see the changes made to code instantaneously on the web browser. Due to PyCharm, the developer can use JavaScript debugger and Coffee Script and Typescripts editors.
  • Support for Python web framework: PyCharm supports to robust Python framework like Django. The developer can use the IDE to avail code completion suggestion for Django tags, filter, parameter and template variables. The Python IDE helps the web developer to debug Django template, format the code, verify the code and manage .py consoles. It supports Python web framework like pyramid and Web2py.
  • Support for Python-specific libraries: PyCharm helps programmers to use Python efficiently in big data and data science project. It also supports some of the widely used scientific libraries like NumPy, Anaconda and Matplotib. The developer can work with these scientific libraries. They can run the REPL Python console for robust

Tools of PyCharm

Let’s see the different tools of PyCharm that are useful for developers

  • Database tool: PyCharm allows developers to work with a number of a relational database such as Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL and PostgreSQL. We can use IDE also to run queries, to edit SQL code, browse data, alter table data and alter schemas. PyCharm also supports the SQLAlchemy library. It injects SQL code into code written in the various programming language. It makes it easy to handle a large volume of data efficiently through data grids.
  • Visual debugger: The visual debugger helps to debug Python, JavaScript and Django code. The developer can see inline debugger to see live debug of data directly on the editor. They also can debug multiple Python processes simultaneously. It creates a reusable and customized configuration for each script. The user has the option to avail remote debugging by integrating visual debugger with a remote interpreter.
  • Built-in terminal: It has a local terminal for windows, Linux and macOS. It enables the programmer to continue coding and tasting without leaving the IDE. The programmer uses IDE and runs the Python file. It configures a custom Python environment according to project requirements. We can run interactive Python and Django consoled directly on IDE. The Django console provides feature like code completion, dynamic syntax change.
  • Software testing: PyCharm has tools to simplify Python application testing. The developer can perform unit testing through popular python testing framework like Nose, Attest and Doctests. Due to PyCharm, developers give high-quality software by implementing behavior driven development (BDD) The develop have choice to test single file or multiple files. They can integrate the IDE with Coverage.py to measure code coverage while doing testing. To test a multithreaded application, the tester can use the thread concurrency visualization option which is provided by IDE to control application efficiently.
  • Remote development capabilities: Due to PyCharm, developers can connect with various machines and build software application remotely. The build-in SSH console provided by IDE is used to connect to machines and performs various development task remotely. Due to remote interpreter, they can run, debug the python application remotely. The developer can create reproducible development environment through a robust tool like Vagrant due to PyCharm. It simplifies distributed application development through Docker.

Pros and Cons of using PyCharm:

Pros:

  • The installation process is very easy.
  • Lots of useful plugins and productive shortcut in PyCharm
  • It integrates library and IDE features like auto-completing and colouring.
  • It allows a view of source code in the link.
  • Software development becomes fast.
  • Error spotlighting feature enhances the development process.
  • The python developer community is large so any query can be solved efficiently.

Cons:

  • Python’s professional version is high at cost.
  • It’s not good for the beginner due to its auto-completion feature.
  • It required plenty of memory and storage space.

Who uses PyCharm?

There are several big companies who go for PyCharm

  • Amazon
  • Facebook
  • Lyft
  • Meltwater
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter

Competitors of PyCharm

There are various IDE which are competition to PyCharm

  • Cloud9IDE
  • Codenvy
  • Eclipse
  • PyDev
  • Komodo
  • The Jupyter Notebook
  • Wind Python IDE

How to install Python packages in PyCharm

Now we will see how to import Python packages in PyCharm. We have to follow the below steps

  • Select your project
  • Go to setting-> Under your project name select ->Python interpreter
  • After that, you will see a new window where you can search for packages and install it.
  • Once you will install you will see the following prompt packages have been installed.

In this way, you can install multiple packages according to your project requirements.

PyCharm tips and tricks

There are many tips and tricks which are useful for beginners.

  • Duplicating lines of codes: Select the line in code and press CTRL+D to check the duplicating lines. This ensures to duplicate the selected lines onto the new lines right after the selection.
  • Tracking changes to file: You can track and traceback changes to the file or entire project by pressing Alt+Shift+C. This ensures a certain amount of readability and to know the recent changes which help you to get more clarity of project lifecycle.
  • Intelligent typing: this ensures that you don’t need to type everything if there is a chance of IDE to take a validated guess at what you might type next.
  • Column selection: Pressing Alt and scrolling to select a certain piece of code will select everything in that particular column only. This is used for faster indentation. It also used to edit multiple statements in the same column

Alternatives for PyCharm

There are various alternatives for PyCharm like Spider, VS Code, IDLE, Eclipse+PyDev, Jupyter etc. We will see the comparison with another IDE with PyCharm.

PyCharm Vs Spyder:

Spyder IDE is available for Windows, Linux and macOS. Spyder has a comprehensive development tool with the competences of scientific packages. By installing other plugins, developers can extend Spyder. The developer can also use Spyder as a PyQt5 extension library. It has a multi-language text editor.

According to Stack overflow Survey 2019, PyCharm is the ninth most popular IDE. It also supports many programming languages like HTML, JavaScript etc.

Feature Comparison of PyCharm Vs Spyder

  • Text editor: Both are advanced text editing program. Both have many useful features such as code completion, syntax highlighting and style analysis.
  • PyCharm includes code snippet and customizable premade templates. It has an integrated project browser. Developers can customize everything from syntax highlighting to themes. pyCharm having features like refactoring.
  • Spyder allows developers to create code cells. Spyder has features like vertical and horizontal splitting capabilities.
  • Scientific stack support: Both spyder and PyCharm IDE supports scientific libraries and dependencies. Both support libraries like NumPy, MatPlotLib, and Jupyter notebook.
  • PyCharm has Conda integration that helps to keep dependencies separated by project. PyCharm offers some libraries through Scientific Mode which is available only with the student and the premium version of the software.
  • Help-documentation: Both IDE allows quickly and integrates access to help documentation. Both IDE has a built-in browser for online information about standard libraries.
  • Debugger: A debugger is an important tool for programmers. Both Spyder and PyCharm have integrated debugger.
  • You can use PyCharm debugger anywhere. PyCharm comes with javascript debugger. PyCharm offers to step through your code visually. According to the JetBrain Website, PyCharms debuggers are the fastest on the market.
  • Spyder uses PDB debugger. This debugger has an element like pane that displays the line, file and condition of each breakpoint. With the help of variable explorer, it can quickly edit variables in each breakpoint. The variable explorer is an attractive characteristic of Spyder.
  • Version control: PyCharm has many control version system like Git, SVN, Perforce etc. This version control (VC) system comes with a plugin that is enabled by default on IDE.
  • Spyder has basic integration with the Git version control system.

So it is not easy to conclude which IDE is better. Actually, it depends on your preference, area of application and which programming language you are going to use.

Spyder is lighter than PyCharm because PyCharm has many plugins that are downloaded by defaults. Spyder has a larger library that is downloaded when you install the program with anaconda. But PyCharm is more user-friendly. PyCharms user interface is customizable from top to bottom. Therefore many developers prefer PyCharm as compared to other IDE.

Jupyter Vs PyCharm:

  • Jupyter notebook is an open-source IDE that is used to create Jupyter document. it can be created and shared with live codes. The Jupyter notebook supports various languages that are mostly used in data science such as Python, Julia, Scala, R etc.

PyCharm is particularly used in Machine learning because it supports libraries like Pandas, Matplotlib, NumPy etc.

Below table shows the comparison between Jupyter and PyCharm

So in Data Science, we can’t say which IDE is best but the PyCharm community is big. User can solve their queries quickly and efficiently. PyCharm has nature of user friendly.

PyCharm Vs Eclipse+PyDev:

  • PyDev is a plugin that enables Eclipse to be used as Python IDE. It also supports Jython and Iron Python. It uses advanced type inference techniques. It provides feature like code completion, code analysis, interactive console, refactoring and Django integration etc.
  • The developer describes Eclipse as IDE for Java EE Developers. On the other hand, PyCharm is known as The Most Intelligent Python IDE. According to Stack Share Community, Eclipse is ranked as 19 and PyCharm is ranked as 9 positions. Eclipse is hard to set up as compared to PyCharm.
  • According to Stack Share Community, PyCharm has a broader approval as compared to Eclipse. PyCharm has 357 company stacks and 507 developers stack while Eclipse has 248 company stacks and 138 developers stack.
  • Eclipse integrates with Java, Grails, TSLint, and Java. PyCharm integrates with Python, Django, Anacondapytest, Wakatime, Kite etc. list of the company who uses Eclipse are Accenture, Zalando, Barogo, Intuit, Wongnai etc. Companies who use PyCharm are Lyft, Bepro Company, Trivago, Alibaba Group, Samba Tech etc. In Eclipse, Plugins are working smoothly.
  • It has very bad performance as compared PyCharm. Eclipse is unresponsive at a time. Due to this, the developer can loss many lines of code. It has Git problem with Eclipse. Eclipse with PyDev had a huge problem in the past with stability and performance. PyCharm has nice performance and beauty.
  • It has good support for Git version control. PyCharm code structure is good for JSON and YAML also. There are near about 1700 plugins available for PyCharm. CSV plugin is a lightweight plugin table editor for CSV file. Due to Chronomorph plugin in the Pycharm, there is an automatic change in dark and light theme based on time. Most of the plugins are preinstalled with PyCharm so you don’t need to install it. If you want to check plugins installed in Pycharm, then you can check it by pressing CTRL+ALT+S. you will see the plugins list which you have installed. It has a cross-platform and easy for installation. While Eclipse set up is hard.
  • There are three versions of PyCharm such as Professional which is paid, Community is Open source and free and Education for students. PyCharm has a powerful debugger. Eclipse is open source. Eclipse also supports multi-language as PyCharm does.
  • So we can say PyCharm is the best IDE as compared to Eclipse with PyDev. So it is cleared that why PyCharm is most preferred and favourable IDE among developers, because of its user-friendly nature. It is easy to use.

PyCharm Keymap: PyCharm includes various keymap to show the most used commands in the editor. You can check Keymaps in the file menu Help -> Keymap Reference. You will find the list of keymap available and shortcuts in the pdf format.

For window, Linux there is default keymap but for MacOS, default keymap is OSX 10.5. In the Windows and Linux operating system, you can see the list of keymap in the setting option also. The default keymap section includes various section for editor actions, main menu, tool window, external tool, version control system, macros, quick list, plugins and other option also.

I think the concepts of PyCharm described in this article will definitely help you or will guide you to understand PyCharm in brief. We have compared PyCharm with different IDE also.

We get the clear picture also why developers, beginners wants to work with PyCharm IDE. By reading this article, you will definitely get theoretical knowledge about PyCharm. You can use this knowledge into practice so that you can become a good Python Developer.

PyCharm is a good IDE for beginners. If any company wishes to hire a python developer, then a candidate must have knowledge of all the IDE of Python.

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