What is Python Spyder IDE and How to Use It?

Introduction

This article will cover some of the most important features present in the Spyder IDE. So if you are planning to use python and are wondering which IDE you should start with, Start with Spyder! Want to know why? Read this article to get the answer. 

Spyder is a very powerful and easy-to-use environment that is written in python, for python. What makes it special is the diverse functionalities that it offers. For example, easy debugging, advanced editing, aesthetically pleasing visualization techniques, interactive executions, and many more. In this article, you will get accustomed to some vital parts of the IDE and its key panes and functionality. So. Let’s dive in.

Installation

Installing Spyder is a relatively simple task on Linux, Windows, or macOS. However, Spyder can be used without installation. Using Binder, one can work with an identical copy of Sypder. It runs on the web and requires no installation. To get started, just visit the Spyder page on Binder and start using spyder online.

The Anaconda Python distribution includes the Spyder IDE. All you have to do is open an anaconda navigator and scroll to spyder which will be under the home section and press launch. Another method to launch spyder is by opening Anaconda Prompt, then typing conda activate base followed by spyder

Getting Started

When you first open the Spyder IDE, you will observe that the screen is divided into three sections or panes. 

Editor

First is the editor. It is in the Editor that we will be writing the code. Spyder support multiple language multi-language. The Editor allows writing code of different languages and integrates several powerful tools for easy-to-use, effective editing practice. Some of the Editor’s chief traits include highlighting syntaxes, seeking the help of an unknown command(go-to-definition features), real-time code analysis, function and class browser, horizontal and vertical splitting, and many more.

Console

The second is the Console. The console displays the execution of the code or the end result of the code after we run it. The console allows the execution of commands, entering of values (Input to the code), and interacting with the user. Each console is executed in a different process. This allows us to run the different scripts, interrupt the execution, and even terminate a shell, all without affecting other spyder executions. A new console can be added by pressing the ctrl + t command. 

Each console demonstrates a front-end light interface that is seamlessly connected to a kernel in the back end. One can also connect to external local and remote kernels (including Jupyter Notebook). This option is available as Connect to an existing kernel option under the console menu.

Display

The last pane has different sub-sections. For example, Variable explorer. On this panel, we can see all the variables (including all global objects, variables, class instances, and more) that have been initialized in the code. It helps us track the variables that we have introduced in the code. This is useful especially when the code is long and complicated and involved numerous variables of varying data types.

The Variable Explorer also provides useful information like the name, size, type, and value of each of the defined variables. Another sub-section is of Help. Under this section, pressing ctrl + I over any syntax (say print), gives us a complete documentation reference on the number of arguments it takes in, the kind of output it produces, and various other information.

This allows easy access to the documentation from Spyder directly without any interruption from the workplace and without actually going to the documentation website. Furthermore, Spyder’s tutorial can also be accessed from here. The tutorial guides you through some of the most basic and useful steps that are important in the learning stage. 

Similarly, the plot section displays all the plots that we have produced in the code that has been written in the editor or produced by the variable explorer. Finally, the files section displays all the files of the directory we are currently under. This helps to navigate amongst various files that we might have under one project and also set up a directory that is essential to run a .py file.

Managing Projects

To create a new project, navigate to the project’s tab on the header dashboard and then press the new project dropdown. You have the option of creating a completely new project or choosing one from the directory. In the latter case, one has to specify the name and path of the project. After the project opens up, a project pane is displayed. The pane shows a project tree that contains files and directories in which the project is present.

Using Version Control

The Project pane is integrated with the basic functionalities of the Git distributed version control system. You have the option to commit files, browse various files via the git commands. For this to happen, the project must have a git repository and the git commands must be specified on the system path.

Also Read: Python Project Ideas & Topics

Debugging

Debugging option is available in Spyder through ipdb debugger which is present in the Ipython Console. This helps us view the flow of execution, breakpoints and even control them. It is possible to fully control the execution of the debugger from the debug menu using keyboard shortcuts, together with console commands of ipdb.

Code Analysis

There is a pane in Spyder that helps us analyze our code and also tells us of the potential mistakes involved. It detects if there are any style issues, potential bugs, version compatibility problems in the code. Depending upon these factors, it gives a quality score. The lower the score, the higher are the chances of the presence of potential bugs in the code.

It even provides the score of the previous execution. on Comparing both the scores, we will give get an insight into whether the recent changes made were correct or lead to the addition of bugs.

Help

The Help pane comprises various documentations, tutorials, shortcut tricks, and many more functionalities that might come in handy to a beginner. It is highly recommended that new users navigate all the drop-downs present in the help pane to get a more lucid idea about using Spyder IDE and its various features. 

Conclusion

So, in this article, we have covered all the important topics related to Spyder IDE. Definitely, it is a very easy-to-use IDE and I cannot wait for you all to get started using Spyder already. Hope you enjoyed this article. Thank you. 

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What is Spyder IDE?

Spyder is a cross-platform, open-source ide (IDE) for scientific Python programming. Spyder works with a variety of popular Python packages, like NumPy, Matplotlib, pandas, SymPy, and Cython, and other open-source applications. It's made available under the MIT licence.
Spyder can be extended using first- and third-party plugins, and it features interactive data inspection tools as well as Python-specific code quality assurance as well as introspection tools like Pyflakes, Pylint, and Rope. Anaconda makes it cross-platform, including versions for Windows, MacOS, and major Linux distributions like Arch Linux, Debian, openSUSE, and Ubuntu.
Spyder's GUI is built on Qt, and it may be used with either the PyQt or PySide Python bindings. The ability to utilise either backend is provided by QtPy, a thin abstraction layer created by the Spyder project & later adopted by a number of other programs.

What are some of the highlighting features of Spyder?

The following are some of the features:
Syntax highlighting, introspection, and code completion are all features of this editor.
Multiple IPython consoles are supported.
The ability to use a GUI to explore as well as edit variables
A Help window that can automatically or on-demand retrieve as well as render rich text documentation on functions, classes, and methods.
IPdb-linked debugger for step-by-step execution
Pylint-powered static code analysis
A code benchmarking tool called a run-time profiler.
Project support, which allows you to work on numerous development projects at the same time.
For dealing with the filesystem as well as managing projects, there's a built-in file explorer.
A Find in Files function that allows for comprehensive regular expression searches over a given range of files.

Mention a few important plugins in Spyder.

Some of the best plugins in spyder are –
Spyder-Unittest is a Spyder plugin that combines the famous unit testing frameworks Pytest, Unittest, and Nose.
Spyder-Notebook is a plugin for the IDE that allows you to browse and edit Jupyter Notebooks.
Spyder-Reports is a Python package that allows you to apply literate programming approaches.
Spyder-Terminal enhances Spyder by allowing users to open, control, and administer cross-platform system shells.
Spyder-Vim is a text editor that emulates the Vim text editor with commands and shortcuts.
Spyder-Line-Profiler and Spyder-Memory-Profiler enhance the built-in profiling functionality to include line testing and memory consumption measurement.

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