IDLE – Python’s Integrated Development and Learning Environment

IDLE (an acronym for Integrated DeveLopment Environment or Integrated Development and Learning Environment) is an integrated development environment (IDE) for Python. An IDE combines a program editor and a language environment as a convenience to the programmer. From version 1.5.2b1, IDLE has been included with the default implementation of Python. Many Linux distributions offer IDLE as an optional part of Python packaging.

IDLE provides a programmer with a Python shell window, which gives them access to the Python interactive mode. It also has a file editor that lets the developer create and edit existing Python source files.

IDLE is coded purely in Python and the Tkinter GUI toolkit, and is therefore platform independent. Tkinter is Python’s de-facto standard GUI (Graphical User Interface) package. It’s a thin object-oriented layer on top of Tcl/Tk. Tkinter’s main benefits are speed and it’s often bundled with Python.

Features include:

  • Python shell window (interactive interpreter) with colourizing of code input, output, and error messages (syntax highlighting).
  • Multi-window text editor with multiple undo, Python colourizing, smart indent, call tips, auto completion, automatic indentation, and other features. Text colouring is performed in the background.
  • Search within any window, replace within editor windows, and search through multiple files (grep).
  • Integrated debugger with persistent breakpoints, stepping, call stack visibility, and viewing of global and local namespaces.
  • Configuration, browsers, and other dialogs.
  • Intentionally different from standard Python in order to aid development of Tkinter programs.
  • Extension facility.
  • Cross-platform support – supports Windows, Unix (including Linux), and Mac OS X operating systems.

Support: Wiki, GitHub Code Repository, IdleX</strong
Developer: Guido van Rossum and contributors
License: GNU General Public License v3.0

IDLE was the Python IDE we grew up with, but there are better IDEs now available for beginners. See the Python IDEs Home Page for my recommendations.


IDLE is written in Python. Learn Python with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

Return to Python IDEs | Return to Python Shells

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