Programming Tools: Eric3
Installing eric3 is trivial, assuming you have a matching Qt installation already present. Download the eric3 tarball, untar it and then, as administrator, run python install.py. Otherwise, you need to install Qt, sip and PyQt first. The README file is quite clear on the steps you need to follow.
For me, installation was not an issue because I was using Qt as my GUI of choice. Both KDE and wxPython also are supported by eric3.
I develop under SuSE Linux 9.1. As such, I have access to a non-commercial Linux version of Qt 3.3.1. Currently, no non-commercial Windows version of Qt is available. In the case of Windows, licenses for Qt and QScintilla need to be obtained. The former comes from Trolltech. PyQt and QScintilla come from Riverbank Computing (see Resources).
Using eric3 often is intuitive. I spend most of my time in the editor or debugging. See Figure 2 for a screenshot of a debugging session. It shows the class hierarchy, source code, stack trace and display of local variables. They all are readily available once you're using eric3.
Some of the pros for using eric3 are:
Intuitive interface for both development and debugging.
Good code editor.
Intuitive project manager.
Speed of operation is good; it comes up fast.
Some nice integrated tools, such as unittest and refactoring.
Cons for this product include:
The editor cannot find or replace within selected blocks of text when the selection is made by cursor movement.
Using the repository feature is confusing for someone who already has the source under some local version control.
More documentation is needed. For instance, no useful documentation is provided for using the Project menu options.
Currently, eric3 supports only Python. There are future plans to support Perl, though.
Installing eric3 for the first time would benefit greatly from a packaging systems similar to Red Hat's RPMs or Debian's DEBs.
The integrated debugger is the best feature. My most serious complaint is the editor not working with selected portions of text. I would give eric3 a suitability score of 4.2 out of 5, a rating of Very Good.
You can use two example utilities to check out eric3 for yourself. The utilities can be obtained as tarballs on the Linux Journal FTP site, listed in Resources below. u2d converts code from UNIX to DOS, and d2u converts from DOS to UNIX. Figure 3 shows u2d.py being debugged.
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