PyCharm for Django development


I have been dabbling with Django for a few years now. Previously, I always used Eclipse for this. Eclipse by itself doesn’t support Python or Django but add PyDev or Aptana Studio and it merrily understands what is going on. This was great when I worked on multiple projects in multiple languages. I now find myself working solely in a Python/Django environment. PyCharm was getting rave reviews from my former work colleagues, but I did so little Django it didn’t seem worth making the transition. However, with a new role I thought now was the time and I haven’t looked back. If you have ever used IntelliJ IDEA for Java you’ll be familiar with PyCharm as it is built upon the same framework. Being written in Java also means you are able to code on your Mac, Linux and Windows devices.

For once PyCharm is fully aware of Django, not just syntax highlighting (which was also hit and miss especially in templates mixing HTML/CSS/Django template syntax in Eclipse).  Truth be told I have barely touched the surface of features that PyCharm packs in. See for a full run down. Each release, of which updates are frequent, either refine or add more features. In the 2.5 release virtualenv support was added, it worked with manual intervention before, but now PyCharm automatically detects them. In addition the support at JetBrains is superb. Admittedly this is a commercial product, although they license favorably for open source project - free.

Just like IntelliJ various plugins are available. A whole host ship by default, Git, CoffeeScript and JavaScript to name a few. More are available online at the plugin repository. The nginx support and NodeJS plugins caught my eye.

One of my favorite features is suport for running tasks from within the IDE, no need to setup the environment and run from there, as shown (image courtesy of JetBrains).

In fairness I did look at other Python IDEs with Django support, but feel they fall into the same camp as Eclipse. The Django support is just tacked on and is limited. With PyCharm you can see Django support was core to the design and features implemented. I see the PyCharm team will be at DjangoCon US. This is great for two reasons a) I can congratulate them on a great IDE and b) they will be bring a new update (