The Python Podcast.__init__

The Python Podcast.__init__

The podcast about Python and the people who make it great

23 December 2019

Python's Built In IDE Isn't Just Sitting IDLE - E243

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One of the first challenges that new programmers are faced with is figuring out what editing environment to use. For the past 20 years, Python has had an easy answer to that question in the form of IDLE. In this episode Tal Einat helps us explore its history, the ways it is used, how it was built, and what is in store for its future. Even if you have never used the IDLE editor yourself, it is still an important piece of Python’s strength and history, and this conversation helps to highlight why that is.


  • Hello and welcome to Podcast.__init__, the podcast about Python and the people who make it great.
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  • Your host as usual is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Tal Einat about the IDLE editor for Python, it’s history, and what is in store for its future


  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python?
  • For anyone who hasn’t used it, can you start by explaining what IDLE is?
  • IDLE has been part of the standard library for Python for quite some time now. What was the motivation for adding it to the core of Python?
    • How has the evolution of our computing environment changed the motivation for maintaining IDLE and the use cases that it is most beneficial for?
  • What are the benefits of including a basic editor in the default distribution of Python?
    • What are some of the ways in which it is often used?
    • What are the limiting factors that lead users to other IDEs or text editors?
  • What role do you think IDLE has played in the growth of Python?
  • What was your motivation for getting involved as a Python contributor and working on the implementation of IDLE?
  • How is IDLE implemented and what are some of the ways that it has evolved since its initial introduction?
    • How well has the code for IDLE aged as new features and capabilities are added to the language?
  • What are some of the integration points available for extending IDLE?
  • What are some of the most interesting or innovative ways that you have seen IDLE used and extended?
  • What is planned for the future of the IDLE module?

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Closing Announcements

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The intro and outro music is from Requiem for a Fish The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA

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