Python IDEs Panel
Side note: There were surprisingly few people at this talk. It seems like most Python programmers get started with either Vim or Emacs and then don't change. It's ironic that I'm so obsessed with programmer productivity given that I'm such a slow coder ;)
The panel consisted of representatives who worked on Python Tools for Visual Studio, PyCharm, Komodo IDE, Wing IDE, and a Python mode for Emacs (pythonmode.el). There was no one present to champion PyDev or NetBeans.
Michael Foord prefers Wing IDE.
Python Tools for Visual Studio has debugging support for high performance computing (HPC). It supports MPI. It can debug a program that uses multiple processes. It supports both IronPython and cPython. You can use iPython within Visual Studio to control a cluster of machines. You can write Python code to analyze the variables in the individual frames of a stack.
PyCharm makes test driven development (TDD) fast! The speaker was using PyCharm to test drive the development of a class which he was creating quickly in the test file. PyCharm can automatically create the scaffolding for a class as you use the class in your test. It can create the scaffolding for methods, add imports, add constructors, etc. all automatically as you try to use those things in your tests. It has helpful coding suggestions and refactoring support. It has code snippets. It's crazy how much it can guess what to create automatically. It has great Django support. It has Django-specific code completion. The demo for PyCharm was flat out amazing!
Komodo Edit is free and open source. However, Komodo IDE is commercial. It adds support for debugging, etc. It opens very quickly. It's good at working with multiple languages at the same time. It has an HTML preview feature that can show you an HTML page within Komodo (presumably because it's written in XUL). It has a regular expression debugger. There are about 80 extensions. In 2011, InfoWorld rated Komodo IDE as the best Python IDE.
Wing IDE is commercial. It supports multiple keyboard personalities. It has a debug shell. The debugger and intellisense work well together.
The champion for Emacs was Barry Warsaw. He showed how to integrate Pyflakes. The demo wasn't particularly inspiring.
Most of the IDEs have been around for about 10 years.
When I brought up the fact that so many successful programmers use Emacs, the general consensus was that the people who succeed using Emacs have been doing the same sort of thing for a really long time. They have it entirely in their head. They don't really need an IDE, and an IDE isn't really helpful for their situation.