The Best vs Code Extensions for Python Developers for 2023
Python is a versatile and popular programming language that has gained much traction in recent years. It is used in various industries and applications, from data analysis to web development. For Python developers, having the right tools and extensions can make a significant difference in their productivity and efficiency.
Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is a widely used code editor with a vast collection of extensions that can enhance the Python development experience.
Exploring and testing useful VS Code extensions for Python developers can be a daunting task and one that is not necessarily at all. Under most circumstances, Python developers perform similar tasks, and thus, we can all benefit from the same or similar set of extensions.
In this article, we will explore the best VS Code extensions for Python developers. We will cover essential extensions for Python development, helpful extensions, and additional extensions that can provide additional features and functionalities.
By the end of this article, readers will have a better understanding of the most useful VS Code extensions for Python development and be equipped to improve their coding experience.
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The Python extension for Visual Studio Code is one of the must-have VS Code extensions for Python developers in 2023. Officially supported by Microsoft and recommended by VS Code the moment you open a Python file, this extension provides not only essential support but great features that help Python developers get the most out of their development environment.
Python-specific features like IntelliSense, lining, debugging support, and testing capabilities are all included within this extension. Plus, it’s regularly updated to keep up with the ever-evolving Python language.
Here are some of the best features of this extension:
- IntelliSense: Edit your code with auto-completion, code navigation, syntax checking, and more
- Linting: Get additional code analysis with Pylint, Flake8, and more
- Code formatting: Format your code with black, autopep or yapf
- Debugging: Debug your Python scripts, web apps, remote or multi-threaded processes
- Testing: Run and debug tests through the Test Explorer with unittest, pytest, or nose
- Jupyter Notebooks: Create and edit Jupyter Notebooks, add and run code cells, render plots, visualize variables through the variable explorer, visualize dataframes with the data viewer, and more
- Environments: Automatically activate and switch between virtualenv, venv, pipenv, conda, and pyenv environments
- Refactoring: Restructure your Python code with variable extraction, method extraction, and import sorting
Look at it in action:
Documenting is super essential, but it is a tedious task, and sometimes we take shortcuts because we lack the tools to make it easier or more efficient. Python Docstring Generator diminishes developers’ endeavor by auto-creating docstrings, and though it may sound trivial, it is a time-saver. Perhaps PyCharm is spoiling me, but I was so used to it that finding this extension was a big deal for me.
The best thing about this extension is that it follows all standard formats of docstring (including Google, docBlockr, Numpy, Sphinx, and PEP0257 is coming soon), and that is cool. Moreover, this docstring generator supports args, kwargs, decorators, errors, and parameter types with multiline commenting features.
Just see it in action and be amazed:
The Python Test Explorer extension allows you to run your Python unittest or Pytest tests with the Test Explorer UI. This small and handy tool will enable you to test your code from VS Code’s comfort with an excellent user interface and debugging capabilities.
We know the importance of unit testing so having a tool like this on your IDE or code editor is a must-have.
Python Preview is an extension that adds visual debugging to your Python code. It transforms debugging code into an interactive session with animations and graphic elements to represent your application status. You just have to see it:
Did you ever need to write a simple script for one-time use, or did you want a small program to perform a particular task, so you open your terminal and start coding on the Python command-line interface? How was your experience there? Terrible?
AREPL for Python aims to solve that problem, by providing a real-time Python scratchpad. Do you want to see how it works?
- Real-time evaluation: no need to run - AREPL evaluates your code automatically. You can control this (or even turn it off) in the settings.
- Variable display: The final state of your local variables are displayed in a collapsible JSON format.
- Error display: The instant you make a mistake, an error with stack trace is shown.
- Settings: AREPL offers many settings to fit your user experience. Customize the look and feel, debounce time, python options, and more!
Python Environment Manager is a powerful VS Code extension for managing and creating virtual environments for Python development. This extension provides developers with an intuitive interface to create and manage multiple virtual environments, which can be essential for working on multiple projects with different dependencies or requirements.
One of the most significant advantages of Python Environment Manager is its flexibility in managing virtual environments. It supports various virtual environment managers, including virtualenv, conda, and pipenv, allowing developers to choose the one that best suits their workflow. Additionally, Python Environment Manager provides an easy-to-use interface to create, activate, and deactivate virtual environments, eliminating the need for using command-line interfaces.
Python Environment Manager also offers several customization options, allowing developers to configure the virtual environments to their liking. For example, they can specify the Python version to use, set environment variables, or install additional packages in the virtual environment.
I believe the same will apply to Python. Over time, we will see more codebases using type hints, and modern frameworks will be directly built on top of them like FastAPI .
Python Type Hint provides type hint completion items for built-in types, estimated types, and the typing module. Moreover, it can search for Python files in the workspace for type estimation purposes.
In the intro, I mentioned one plugin that changed my perspective of VS Code. Well, that’s Tabnine . Being so familiar with PyCharm, one of the things I struggled with the most when trying VS Code was autocompletion. And don’t get me wrong, VS Code is decent, but PyCharm is just on a completely different level.
Tabnine changed that by implementing AI-based suggestions. The models are trained using open-source projects, but once you install it, it also learns from your projects while keeping all activities local, so your code is not sent to the cloud.
I heard about Tabnine for the first time a bit ago, but I was always a bit skeptical of how well it would perform, so I never even tried it. To be fully transparent with you all, some weeks ago, I had conversations with someone from the Tabnine team, who convinced me to try it, and it only made a list because I enjoyed it, and for me, it is a keeper.
It was a bit weird at the beginning. Still, after just a few hours, I was very productive, accepting many of their suggestions and feeling very comfortable with it, so much that I even installed their extension on WebStorm, and it is fantastic.
Let’s discuss some of their features:
- Insane code completion
- Ability to learn from your own and your team’s projects
- Privacy, users can choose to run models locally or get cloud completions, in which case the developer’s code is encrypted and immediately deleted.
- The models are trained on open-source code
- No licensing issues
- Free and paid versions
Python Indent is an essential VS Code extension for Python developers who want to streamline their coding process. This extension automates the indentation of Python code, making it easier and faster to write and edit code. It ensures that all indents and dedents conform to the Python Style Guide (PEP8) and saves developers the time and effort of manually formatting their code.
One of the most significant advantages of Python Indent is its accuracy in detecting and correcting indentation errors. This extension can automatically detect and correct indentation issues, such as mismatched indents or inconsistent tabs and spaces. Additionally, Python Indent can adjust indentation levels based on the previous line’s syntax, making it easier to write clean and readable code.
Python Indent is also customizable, allowing developers to adjust the settings to their liking. For example, users can choose to use tabs or spaces for indentation, specify the number of spaces for each indent level, or exclude certain files or directories from the formatting process.
Material Icon Theme is the perfect extension for replacing the default VS Code icons with beautiful material design icons. It supports over 5,000 high-quality SVG icons and provides a great way to give your editor an elegant look.
Here is an example of what it looks like on my machine:
Dracula Official is a popular theme for VS Code, with over 4 million installs. It comes with an amazing dark UI that includes colors inspired by Dracula’s castle and a unique layout for your editor.
It also has lots of customization options so you can create the perfect look for your editor.
One Dark Pro is another popular theme for VS Code that comes with an amazing dark UI. It also provides lots of customization options so you can create the perfect look for your editor.
It’s inspired by Atom’s One Dark theme and has been designed to be comfortable on the eyes when working in the dark or low-light conditions.
In conclusion, the right VS Code extensions can significantly improve the Python development experience. In this article, we have discussed some of the best VS Code extensions for Python developers. These extensions offer a range of features, from essential debugging and linting tools to helpful productivity and customization options.
With that said, each of us have a different experience and want different things from our editors, so I encourage you to try these extensions and let me know what you think in the comments.
Thanks for reading!
Juan Cruz Martinez
Juan has made it his mission to help aspiring developers unlock their full potential. With over two decades of hands-on programming experience, he understands the challenges and rewards of learning to code. By providing accessible and engaging educational content, Juan has cultivated a community of learners who share their passion for coding. Leveraging his expertise and empathetic teaching approach, Juan has successfully guided countless students on their journey to becoming skilled developers, transforming lives through the power of technology.