Eclipse and PyDev

For the past few months, I’ve either been using “Stani’s Python Editor” or just SciTE to code and edit my python work. I thought SPE was pretty nice, and was generally happy with it. A few weeks ago, I started hearing about PyDEV – a python editing plugin for eclipse. Figured it was time to check it out. (This is all Windows specific crap – on my real development machine, I use TextMate)
Well, PyDEV works pretty darn well. Took ages to get my Eclipse install up to date (figuring out what you’re supposed to download at Eclipse is getting a LOT harder – what the hell is all that stuff?), and then a few bits more to get the PyDEV pieces installed. Once installed, it just started working like a champ.

It has some basic code completion functionality that I’m still tripping over, but which feels like it’ll be handy when I get used to it. Somewhere in there, it enables the use of PyLint (I’ve typically used PyChecker from the command line) – although I haven’t seen it function as yet. Logilab was down when I originally installed PyDev, and since I’ve added it – I don’t seem to be able to get the functionality invoked. I probably have some subtle misconfiguration…

The whole eclipse environment does take some getting used to – and it appears to even have some functionality for refactoring. Again, I haven’t used it (or figured out how to use it).

Overall, it’s a pretty nice setup – although I’ve had some problems getting various pieces to work properly.  It runs unit tests nicely, and if I could figure out the PyLint thingy, I suspect it would keep my code looking a hell of a lot cleaner too. (Either that or I’d get annoyed with PyLint… a possibility as well).

Published by heckj

Developer, author, and life-long student. Writes online at

7 thoughts on “Eclipse and PyDev

  1. Funny, I switched from pydev to SPE as eclipse eats far too much resources and I looked for an alternative. I think I’ll stick with SPE.


  2. I was using Eclipse/PyDev for the past couple of months. Eclipse’s use of non-standard key mappings, and PyDev’s even quirkier default key mappings (which can not be changed) made me constantly looking for an alternative. The code completion was lacking, especially for Django. It was decent for what I wanted to do, but I recently saw that Komodo recently released a free version called Komodo Edit, which gave me a chance to try Komodo again. While it is still quite a bit of a resource hog, it has made it fun to code in Python again.


  3. So far I haven’t used it in conjunction with Django – just a few side projects that happen to be written in python. I hadn’t realized that Komodo had a free version available – that’s cool news. I’ll have to try it out.

    I still keep SPE installed, although it’s clunky upon occasion, the interactive window built into the IDE is really powerful for me and my development style.


  4. From what I can read from SPE’s blog it seems that a new version is being prepared. There is no mention of a release date, but I hope it won’t take long as it really is my favorite python IDE.


  5. I finally got PyDev working correctly with django. I ran through a bunch of problems and errors.

    Things that I did that helped
    – I checked out django and *then* ran the install to get it into site-packages (instead of trying to use the checked out code in site-packages)
    – I installed Java 1.6, set the default path to make sure java 1.6 was the default jvm being used and then started up Eclipse (the default ubuntu Java 1.4.2 seemed to cause me all sorts of headaches).
    – Installed PyDev as described elsewhere and added the django source tree to the PyDev prefs are described elswhere on the web.

    I hope this helps anybody out there who has been struggling like I had been.


  6. Just after reading your experience I decided to give Eclipse a try. I was unsuccessful with other python plugins and this was the time for PyDev.
    I downloaded EasyEclipse with PyDev included and went speechless. Not only runs Python but Jython as well.

    Thanks a lot for your findings and sharing.


  7. Hi, I was searching the web for pydev + code completion… I installed both EasyEclipse and Eclipse, but can’t get code completion work properly. It completes only the local variables….. weird?


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