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C'est la Z

New Term New Tool - Thonny, a Python IDE

Last year I wrote about, an online IDE that supports multiple languages. At the time it had some rudimentary classroom support and since I started using it, has become better and better. I used it last year with my class because I had to start the year in a lab where I couldn't easily install my own software. I'll continue to use - mostly for it's ability to schedule publish and manage assignments but when possible, I like having my students work locally.

This year I'm excited about another tool - Thonny. Thonny's a simple Python IDE designed for beginners. I discovered it last year but at a time when it was impractical for me to use with my students. This year I can and I'm really liking it. I'm still an Emacs guy and will continue to use Emacs for my python development (video 1, video 2) but for beginners I think Thonny is the way to go.

Some of Thonny's highlights:

  • An integrated Python 3 virtual environment making for ease of

installation and consistency across student installs

  • A debugger that shows how expressions are evaluated
  • Great visualizations of function calls that make it easier to

understand the call stack and scope

  • The ability to look at memory to understand references.

Rather than go into the gory details in text, I put together this video:

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