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Python IDE for beginners

Main screenshot


Easy to get started. Thonny comes with Python 3.5 built in so that you need to run only single simple installer and you're ready to learn programming. (You can also use separate Python installation, if necessary.) Initial user interface is stripped from all features that may distract beginners.

Initial layout

No-hassle variables. Once you're done with hello-worlds, select View → Variables and you see how your programs and shell commands affect Python variables.

Variables table

Simple debugger. Just press Ctrl+F5 instead of F5 and you can run your programs step-by-step, no breakpoints needed. Press F6 for a big step and F7 for a small step. Steps follow program structure, not just code lines.

Stepping through statements

Step through expression evaluation. If you use small steps, then you can even see how Python evaluates your expressions. You can think of this light-blue box as a piece of paper where Python replaces subexpressions with their values, piece-by-piece.

Visualization of expression evaluation

Faithful representation of function calls. Stepping into a function call opens a new window with separate local variables table and code pointer. Good understanding of how function calls work is especially important for understanding recursion.

Visualization of call frames

Highlights syntax errors. Unclosed quotes and parentheses are the most common beginners' syntax errors. Thonny's editor makes these easy to spot.

Visualization of syntax errors

Explains scopes. Highlighting variable occurrences reminds that same name doesn't always mean same variable and helps spotting typos. Local variables are visually distinguished from globals.

Local and global names are visually distinguished

Mode for explaining references. Variables are initially presented according to simplified model (name → value) but you can switch to more realistic model (name → address/id → value).

Variables table vs values table

Code completion. Students can explore API-s with the help of code completion.

Code completion

Beginner friendly system shell. Select Tools → Open system shell to install extra packages or learn handling Python on command line. PATH and conflicts with other Python interpreters are taken care by Thonny.

System shell prepared for Python commands


Downloads & instructions

Installation instructions

Contact & News

Thonny is developed in University of Tartu Institute of Computer Science.


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