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PyCharm vs Spyder: What are the differences?

Introduction:

PyCharm and Spyder are both Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) that are used for coding in Python. While they have similarities in terms of their purpose, there are some key differences between the two.

  1. User Interface and Customization: PyCharm provides a highly customizable interface with a wide range of settings and themes, allowing users to personalize their coding environment to suit their preferences. On the other hand, Spyder has a simpler and more straightforward user interface with fewer customization options, making it easier for beginners to navigate and use.

  2. Code Navigation and Analysis: PyCharm offers advanced code navigation and analysis features, including code suggestions, intelligent code completion, and context-aware code inspections. It also provides powerful debugging capabilities and supports multiple languages. Conversely, Spyder focuses more on providing an efficient code editing environment with basic code navigation features and minimal code analysis tools.

  3. Integration with Scientific Libraries and Tools: Spyder is primarily designed for scientific computing and offers seamless integration with various scientific libraries and tools, such as NumPy, SciPy, and Matplotlib. It provides a dedicated Scientific mode with features tailored for data analysis and visualization. On the contrary, while PyCharm also supports scientific libraries, it offers a wider range of functionalities for general-purpose programming and web development.

  4. Python Development Workflow: PyCharm provides a comprehensive set of tools and features to streamline the Python development workflow, including version control integration, built-in terminal, and extensive project management capabilities. It offers additional support for web development frameworks like Django and Flask. Spyder, on the other hand, is more focused on providing an efficient coding environment for scientific computing tasks and may not have the same level of tooling for broader development workflows.

  5. Community and Support: PyCharm has a larger and more active user community, making it easier to find online resources, tutorials, and community support. It also has a paid version (PyCharm Professional) with additional features for professional developers. In comparison, Spyder has a smaller user community but still provides support through its active forums and user-contributed packages.

  6. Open-source vs Commercial Licensing: Spyder is an open-source project and is distributed under the MIT License. This allows users to modify and distribute the software freely. PyCharm, on the other hand, has both a free Community Edition and a paid Professional Edition. The Professional Edition offers additional features and is licensed under a commercial license.

In summary, PyCharm offers a more customizable and feature-rich coding environment with extensive support for different workflows, while Spyder provides a simpler interface and focuses on scientific computing tasks with integration for popular scientific libraries.

Advice on PyCharm and Spyder
christy craemer
Needs advice
on
EclipseEclipseIntelliJ IDEAIntelliJ IDEA
and
PyCharmPyCharm

UPDATE: Thanks for the great response. I am going to start with VSCode based on the open source and free version that will allow me to grow into other languages, but not cost me a license ..yet.

I have been working with software development for 12 years, but I am just beginning my journey to learn to code. I am starting with Python following the suggestion of some of my coworkers. They are split between Eclipse and IntelliJ IDEA for IDEs that they use and PyCharm is new to me. Which IDE would you suggest for a beginner that will allow expansion to Java, JavaScript, and eventually AngularJS and possibly mobile applications?

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Replies (12)
Recommends
on
Visual Studio CodeVisual Studio Code

Pycharm is great for python development, but can feel sometimes slow and community version has Somme very annoying restrictions (like they disabled jupyter notebooks plugin and made it premium feature). I personally started looking into VS Code as an alternative, and it has some very good potential. I suggest you take it into account.

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Recommends
on
PyCharmPyCharm

The Community version of PyCharm is free and should give you what you need to get started with Python. Both PyCharm and IntelliJ are made by JetBrains. IntelliJ is initially focused on Java but you can get plugins for lots of other things. I subscribe to JetBrains' Toolbox: https://www.jetbrains.com/toolbox-app/ and have access to all of their great tools.

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Recommends
on
Visual Studio CodeVisual Studio Code

Hi, I will give my opinion based on my experience. I have used PyCharm, both community and Professional version. The community has limited functions, like you can't use a Jupyter notebook whereas it's available in the Professional version. PyCharm is slower compared to Visual Studio Code. Also Visual Studio Code is an editor which supports various languages. I myself have used both Visual Studio Code and PyCharm. I feel Visual Studio Code would be better choice. You may as well decide based upon your requirements.

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Charles Nelson
Recommends
on
IntelliJ IDEAIntelliJ IDEA

I couldn't imagine using a development tool other than the IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate All Products Pack. A single license allows me to work directly on my server running Ubuntu and/or my workstation running Windows 10 Pro simultaneously. My current project uses HTML, W3CSS, JavaScript, Java, Groovy, Grails, C, GO, Python, Flask, and Rust. For me it's worth every penny of the $150 license fee. And you can try it for free.

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Ivan Martinez Morales
Software Engineer Intern · | 4 upvotes · 666.3K views
Recommends
on
Visual Studio CodeVisual Studio Code

I'd personally recommend Visual Studio Code as it gives you the flexibility of working in any language, so long as there are extensions to support it. It gives you the flexibility to learn Python, venture into Java, Javascript, and eventually AngularJS, and potentially mobile applications. It's also free and you can install it on your personal computer. I think Visual Studio Code would serve your intended use case best.

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awesomebanana2018
Recommends
on
Visual Studio CodeVisual Studio Code

Visual Studio code is easy to use, has a good UI, and a large community. Python works great with it, but unlike some other editors, it works with most languages either by default or by downloading a plugin. VS Code has built in linting, syntax coloring, autocompletes (IntelliSense), and an api for plugins to do there own tooling.

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Pranshu Verma
Engineer at Cisco Systems · | 3 upvotes · 666.3K views
Recommends
on
PyCharmPyCharm

If you starting with Python then PyCharm is better. For Java I would suggest to go with IntelliJ IDEA but people also prefer eclipse so I would say try both and then decide. For JS/Angular/React I would suggest go with VSCode. I personally use it and prefer as its light weight and have good integration with chrome for frontend development.

PyCharm, IntelliJ IDEA are both products of JetBrains. They have a free (limited feature) and paid edition. Eclipse is free. VSCode is also free.

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Isaac Povey
Casual Software Engineer at Skedulo · | 3 upvotes · 666.4K views
Recommends
on
IntelliJ IDEAIntelliJ IDEA

IntelliJ really is the best for Java, I switched from eclipse years ago and never looked back. As for javascript, python and angular either using the standalone products from jetbrains (pycharm for python, webstorm for js) or installing the relevant plugins for InteliJ will be your best bet. Pycharm etc. are really just InteliJ with some additional plugins installed.

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Recommends
on
PyCharmPyCharm

All three are great, however, I believe that IntelliJ IDEA's multiple IDE's are slightly more straight-forward and more up-to date than Eclipse. If I had to choose one specifically for Python projects I would go with PyCharm.

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Recommends
on
PyCharmPyCharm

Pycharm is all you need to get start coding in python or any of its framework. Its an awesome tool you should give it a try :)

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Pritam Nandy
Engineering Manager at Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited · | 1 upvotes · 613.8K views
Recommends
on
PyCharmPyCharm

This is a very easy to use tool and gives you the opportunity to start coding right after the installation with almost everything setup automatically by the tool.

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Brian Turner
System Architect at Mary's Watch, Inc. · | 1 upvotes · 666.3K views
Recommends
on
IntelliJ IDEAIntelliJ IDEA

Easy to learn and everything you need

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Pros of PyCharm
Pros of Spyder
  • 112
    Smart auto-completion
  • 93
    Intelligent code analysis
  • 77
    Powerful refactoring
  • 60
    Virtualenv integration
  • 54
    Git integration
  • 22
    Support for Django
  • 11
    Multi-database integration
  • 7
    VIM integration
  • 4
    Vagrant integration
  • 3
    In-tool Bash and Python shell
  • 2
    Plugin architecture
  • 2
    Docker
  • 1
    Django Implemented
  • 1
    Debug mode support docker
  • 1
    Emacs keybinds
  • 1
    Perforce integration
  • 6
    Variable Explorer
  • 2
    More tools for Python
  • 2
    Free with anaconda
  • 1
    Intellisense

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Cons of PyCharm
Cons of Spyder
  • 10
    Slow startup
  • 7
    Not very flexible
  • 6
    Resource hog
  • 3
    Periodic slow menu response
  • 1
    Pricey for full features
  • 1
    Slow to fire up

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What is PyCharm?

PyCharm’s smart code editor provides first-class support for Python, JavaScript, CoffeeScript, TypeScript, CSS, popular template languages and more. Take advantage of language-aware code completion, error detection, and on-the-fly code fixes!

What is Spyder?

It is a powerful scientific environment written in Python, for Python, and designed by and for scientists, engineers and data analysts.

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What are some alternatives to PyCharm and Spyder?
Atom
At GitHub, we're building the text editor we've always wanted. A tool you can customize to do anything, but also use productively on the first day without ever touching a config file. Atom is modern, approachable, and hackable to the core. We can't wait to see what you build with it.
IntelliJ IDEA
Out of the box, IntelliJ IDEA provides a comprehensive feature set including tools and integrations with the most important modern technologies and frameworks for enterprise and web development with Java, Scala, Groovy and other languages.
Jupyter
The Jupyter Notebook is a web-based interactive computing platform. The notebook combines live code, equations, narrative text, visualizations, interactive dashboards and other media.
Visual Studio Code
Build and debug modern web and cloud applications. Code is free and available on your favorite platform - Linux, Mac OSX, and Windows.
Anaconda
A free and open-source distribution of the Python and R programming languages for scientific computing, that aims to simplify package management and deployment. Package versions are managed by the package management system conda.
See all alternatives