Develop Python Projects in Visual Studios for Free

So you’re looking for a professional IDE or editor in which to care for your growing codebase. You could use a simple editor like Notepad++, which is where I’ve spent most of my time as I’ve been learning. I wanted to focus on learning the language well rather than getting bogged down in features of a sophisticated IDE.

But after about a year of taking on Python projects I’ve gone from complete newbie to solid beginner and I recently started to feel the urge to move to a more robust solution. I looked into a lot of options, VIM, PyCharm, Eclipse with the PyDev plugin, and a million others which countless programmers swear on. Undoubtedly, many seemed very cool. Then I ran into something wonderful: I discovered that I could use a professional tool that’s commonly used around my office, and that I have a lot of experience working in, Microsoft’s Visual Studio.


But it gets better, even if you don’t have access to the paid software Microsoft has made a shell available which, when combined with the Python add-on, will get you ready to go. All of that said, you should use whatever IDE you’re most comfortable and productive in. I can only speak for myself when I say that this solution works well for me.

If you’re interested, here’s everything you’ll need to get going.

  1. Obviously, you’ll need Python installed. 
  2. Next you’ll need to download and install the Visual Studio Integrated Shell directly from Microsoft.
  3. Finally, install Python Tools for Visual Studio. The latest version is 2.0 but the exact file you need will depend on you’re Python and Visual Studio versions.

And you should be good to go. You’ll get all the familiarity and fluff of VS with none of the cost.

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About Josh Saint Jacque

Product Manager and programmer. Always aspiring to learn.

Posted on April 16, 2013, in Tools and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Thank you for this post. I had never thought of using VS with Python. I am now going to start using it.

    Thanks again!

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