Thonny: The IDE For Beginning Programmers with Aivar Annamaa


March 18th, 2018

29 mins 50 secs

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About this Episode


Learning to program is a rewarding pursuit, but is often challenging. One of the roadblocks on the way to proficiency is getting a development environment installed and configured. In order to simplify that process Aivar Annamaa built Thonny, a Python IDE designed for beginning programmers. In this episode he discusses his initial motivations for starting Thonny and how it helps newcomers to Python learn and understand how to write software.


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  • Visit to subscribe to the show, sign up for the newsletter, and read the show notes.
  • Your host as usual is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Aivar Annamaa about Thonny, a Python IDE for beginning programmers


  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python?
  • What was your motivation for building an IDE focused on beginning programmers?
  • What are the features of Thonny that make it easier for users to understand what is happening in their programs?
  • What have you found to be the types of issues that users most frequently struggle with and how does Thonny help overcome those gaps in understanding?
  • What kinds of tutorials or supporting material have you found to be the most useful for teaching students the principles that they need to be able to take advantage of the environment that Thonny provides?
  • How is Thonny built and what have been the most challenging aspects of writing an IDE in Python?
  • What are some of the interface design choices that you have made to avoid confusing or overwhelming beginning users?
  • Once a user becomes more proficient in Python is there a point where it no longer makes sense to continue using Thonny for development?
  • I noticed that Thonny has an plugin architecture and there is an extension for interacting with the BBC micro:bit. What are some of the other types of extensions that you would like to see built for Thonny?

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