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flake8 vs pylint: What are the differences?


In this markdown code, we will discuss the key differences between flake8 and pylint, which are both popular Python linters. Linters are tools used to analyze source code for potential errors, bugs, and style inconsistencies. While both flake8 and pylint perform similar tasks, there are specific differences that set them apart.

  1. Design Philosophy: Flake8 primarily focuses on providing a minimalistic and lightweight approach to code linting. It combines multiple static analysis tools, including pyflakes, pycodestyle, and McCabe complexity checker. On the other hand, pylint aims to provide a more comprehensive and strict approach to code analysis, focusing on enforcing coding standards, convention compliance, and detecting various code smells and errors.

  2. Customizability: Flake8 offers more flexibility in terms of customizing rules and suppressing specific warnings by utilizing configuration files, command-line flags, or inline comments. It allows developers to selectively enable or disable certain checks to tailor linting according to their project's requirements. Pylint, on the other hand, enforces a more rigid set of rules, limiting the customization options for checks and warnings.

  3. Code Complexity Analysis: Pylint provides a detailed analysis of code complexity metrics, such as cyclomatic complexity and maintainability index, providing insight into code readability, maintainability, and potential design flaws. Flake8, on the other hand, does not provide dedicated complexity analysis metrics, focusing more on the basics of code quality and style conventions.

  4. Documentation and Community: Pylint offers extensive documentation and a vibrant community that actively contributes to the tool's development and maintenance. It provides detailed explanations of various warnings, allowing developers to understand and address issues effectively. Flake8 also has a supportive community, but its documentation may not be as extensive as pylint's.

  5. Integration with Editors and Tools: Flake8 integrates seamlessly with various code editors and tools, including popular ones like Visual Studio Code and Atom. It provides real-time feedback and suggestions during code editing, helping developers fix potential issues on the fly. Pylint also offers integration with code editors, but the level of real-time feedback and ease of integration may vary.

  6. Execution Speed: Flake8 is known for its relatively faster execution speed, making it suitable for large codebases and continuous integration workflows. On the other hand, pylint's comprehensive analysis may lead to slower execution times, especially for complex projects.

In summary, flake8 aims for a lightweight and customizable approach to code linting, while pylint focuses on strict adherence to coding standards and comprehensive analysis. Flake8 offers more flexibility and speed, making it suitable for larger projects, while pylint provides a more exhaustive set of checks and a detailed code analysis.

flake8 Stats
  • Dependent Packages Counts - 176
pylint Stats
  • Dependent Packages Counts - 103
flake8 Release info
Latest version
pylint Release info
Latest version
- No public GitHub repository available -

What is flake8?

The modular source code checker: pep8, pyflakes and co.

What is pylint?

Python code static checker.

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