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IDLE in action under Windows: text editor with syntax highlight  shell
IDLE in action under Windows: text editor with syntax highlight shell
Original author(s) Guido van Rossum
Initial release December 22, 1998; 19 years ago (1998-12-22)
Stable release
Part of each CPython release
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Written in Python
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Integrated development environment

IDLE (Integrated DeveLopment Environment[1][2] or Integrated Development and Learning Environment[3]) is an integrated development environment for Python, which has been bundled with the default implementation of the language since 1.5.2b1.[4][5] It is packaged as an optional part of the Python packaging with many Linux distributions. It is completely written in Python and the Tkinter GUI toolkit (wrapper functions for Tcl/Tk).

IDLE is intended to be a simple IDE and suitable for beginners, especially in an educational environment. To that end, it is cross-platform, and avoids feature clutter.

According to the included README, its main features are:

  • Multi-window text editor with syntax highlighting, autocompletion, smart indent and other.
  • Python shell with syntax highlighting.
  • Integrated debugger with stepping, persistent breakpoints, and call stack visibility.

IDLE has been criticized for various usability issues, including losing focus, lack of copying to clipboard feature, lack of line numbering options, and general user interface design; it has been called a "disposable" IDE, because users frequently move on to a more advanced IDE as they gain experience.[6]

Author Guido van Rossum says IDLE stands for "Integrated DeveLopment Environment",[1][7] and since van Rossum named the language Python partly to honor British comedy group Monty Python, the name IDLE was probably also chosen partly to honor Eric Idle, one of Monty Python's founding members.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Subject: IDLE 0.2 -- Integrated DeveLopment Environment for Python, From: Guido van Rossum, Date: Fri, 8 Jan 1999 17:35:25 GMT
  2. ^ Also from the Help> About screen
  3. ^
  4. ^ Subject: IDLE 0.1 -- a Python IDE, By Guido van Rossum - 16 Nov 1998 - comp.lang.python, At the conference I mentioned a few times that I was working on a Tkinter-based IDE for Python. I've decided to use the paradigm "release early and often" for this piece of software (especially since I don't expect I'll have much time to work on it), so version 0.1 (essentially a dump of my directory) is now sitting in the contrib directory
  5. ^ IDLE 0.1 was distributed with the Python 1.5.2b1 release on 12/22/98., From: \Python-1.5.2\Tools\idle\NEWS.txt
  6. ^ Sweigart AL. (2011) The Things I Hate About IDLE That I Wish Someone Would Fix. The Invent With Python Blog.
  7. ^ Primer on Installing Python and VPython, Author: M. Haley
  8. ^ Lutz, Mark & Ascher, David (2004). Learning Python, p. 40. O'Reilly Media, Inc. ISBN 0-596-00281-5.

External links[edit]