How to use Xcode as a Python IDE

Regular readers (all three of you) may remember that I have long wrangled with NetBeans for Python coding. Whilst overall the experience is quite good, there are many compromises. These include a lot of monkeying around and wasted effort. Meanwhile, double-clicking any .py file normally brings up a nicely syntax-coloured window in Xcode, Apple’s IDE for Cocoa, iOS and so on. I had long wondered if Xcode could be trained to run Python projects. I need Xcode in any case for compiling packages from Fink.

Turns out, with some digging into the parameters, “Product” can be “Built” against “External Systems”. As I am immune to this kind of passive-aggressive sniping from Apple, I decided to continue. There is a nice video here, for an obsolete version of Xcode (all the settings are the same, only the UI has changed). Tyler Crompton has a very thorough written version at Stack Overflow. This information is bracketed by the evergreen “you should try Pycharm/komodo/Wing4” comments- even Tyler himself puts a plug for Pycharm. I’ve tried all of them but found all to be lacking in something. Nobody ever recommends NetBeans….But I digress.

A critical point is that you can execute projects against external installs of Python. Git integration is standard. The most encouraging point here is that Xcode is maintained to a very high level, for obvious (AppStore) related reasons. The biggest deficits: none found so far. Code folding and class/function navigation is all there.


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