in Python

Switching to Pycharm

Over the past few weeks I’ve been transitioning from my beloved Sublime Text and terminal combo to Pycharm Professional.

Why Change?

I’m fortunate to have more freelance work then I can handle. That’s driven me to find productivity improvements so I can complete projects faster. I also needed new database software for Postgres since PGAdmin 4 is basically unusable. After using Pycharm for a few weeks, I realize I made the right choice. These are the core reasons I’m happy with the change:

  • Debugging:  While in draft my code is often littered with print statements, which I use to view data structures and values during runtime. Pycharm’s integrated debugger now makes this a breeze… with no print statements!
  • Project setup:  I can configure my project’s virtual environments, environment variables, etc to save time when switching between projects.
  • Integrated database views:  I’m used to switching back and forth between PGAdmin to view changes in a database. Now I can put this right next to my code in Pycharm.
  • Integrated terminal:  The terminal window is right there, neatly tucked beneath my code and matched to that project.
  • Realtime git differences:  I love that I can see what has changed from the last time I committed.

Basically I love that I can do my work within one big window.

What I Don’t Like

I prefer to keep my virtual environments within my project folder. Pycharm is hard wired to keep virtual environments outside the project folder.

Why is this important to me? Right now I can jump into any of my project folders and type source venv/bin/activate and see an activated virtual environment. With the virtual environment outside I need to list the virtual environments to find the right name, then activate the environment. With a lot of projects this can get very tedious. I know Pycharm magically opens up the right virtual environment for you once configured, but I don’t want to be tied to a program to open my environments and need the option to activate them easily in a regular terminal window.

I also did not like that Pycharm creates additional files that I have to ignore, such as whatever is in ‘.idea’. Not sure what that is for?

Am I Glad I Started with Sublime Text?

Short answer:  yes! I feel like I know how to use all of my tools the ‘regular way’ without the help of additional software. For instance, I sometimes skype with clients that do not have Pycharm installed. I would hate to tell them ‘umm I’m not sure how to push to github from the terminal, I use Pycharm for that.’

Whether you are just getting started or experienced, I recommend taking a look at Pycharm!

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