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 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.

Pros and Cons

Some of the pros for using eric3 are:

  • Intuitive interface for both development and debugging.

  • Effective debugger.

  • 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 being debugged.



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come on... this review (and

Anonymous's picture

come on...

this review (and many comments) should have looked at things like code intelligence database, code navigation, class browsing, pylint syntax checking, etc.

i mean it's an ide not an editor right?

Saving Eric3 Python Shell Output

Anonymous's picture

Does anyone know how to save the output from the python shell to a file in Eric3 IDE?

Re: Programming Tools: eric3

Anonymous's picture

Tried it. It died on repeated NameErrors for variables and couldn't find a parameter passed to the init function.

Needless to say it had a short disk lifespan

Re: Programming Tools: eric3

Anonymous's picture

As I work both on Linux and Windows, I definitely prefer SPE, which is a rich full featured python IDE with the excellent gui builder wxGlade.


Serge Hulne's picture

Among the lightweight GUIs, using only Tkinter, there is also xRope.

It also has an integrated Visual Builder ("tk_happy") and a smart editor ("rope") with real dot-completion for classes and docstring tips for functions.

See the link :


Eric3 and SPE are nice, but I

Alessander's picture

Eric3 and SPE are nice, but I love to work under Eclipse with xored's TruStudio plugin.

Re: Programming Tools: eric3

Anonymous's picture

You guys really should take a look at DrPython. It's a really well put together, free, cross platform IDE written in Python and wxWindows. It's now very mature (v3.4.4) but still being very actively developed with updates appearing each week.

The core editor is based around Scintilla and includes a class browser and embedded command prompt for each open file. It also has a nice tabbed interface, has recently adopted a plug-in architecture and is fully scriptable.

It's by far the most productive (and one of the nicest looking) Python IDEs I've come across and I've been using it for all my development work for the fast six months or so.

I really can't understand why more people don't seem to be aware of it.

Re: Programming Tools: eric3

Anonymous's picture

And diddo that, Dr. Python is great for non-gui development.

Re: Programming Tools: eric3

Anonymous's picture

Why does it look exactly like the Microsoft development environment? Yuck.

I would give anything for a decent Smalltalk-style class browser for Python. I can't stand Microsoft's class browser.

Re: Programming Tools: eric3 -- Delphi like...

Anonymous's picture

Borland with Delphi has set the standard, not MS.
Delphi is outstanding, and QtArchitecht looks a lot like Delphi IDE.

It is predictable that IDE for oo graphic and (non graphic ) programing will copy the best. (delphi)... as Trolltech did.
Welcome to Eric3 that I have not so far been able to install, (still miss a piece!).
May I suggest to allow Eric3 install using YUM, or APT-GET (or its GUI Synaptic)?

Installation is trivial... but it counts!

Thank you

Re: Programming Tools: eric3

Anonymous's picture

I am not familiar with the Smalltalk browser. What features and benefits does it have the make it better than the idiom used be eric3 and other IDEs like ActiveState's Komodo and KDE's KDevelop?

Re: Programming Tools: eric3

Anonymous's picture

Anything? Unto half your kingdom and a new mortgage on your house? I'm sure Detlev Offenbach will be able to accommodate your wishes...