App Essentials: Pythonista

Platform: iOS     Cost: $6.99 (a bit steep)
Pythonista is a must have app for any educator who teaches computer programming with Python. Few apps touch the functionality that Phythonista has to offer. As the name implies, this is a python editor for the iPad. There are a few other bells and whistles that I will run through, but this at its simplest level is a way to engage in and write code on the go.

Now for the review…

The App

Pythonista is a clean Phyton editor for the iPad. There are only one or two dedicated Python editors available for mobile devices, and this is – in my humble opinion – the best one that you can use. In my coding course, I teach python to my students using a number of services. I use Pythonista in conjunction with an Apple TV to help students debug code while still being mobile.

When you first fire up the app, you are given a display where you can choose a script to edit and begin programming with. As you can see, there are a bunch of tutorial and simple programs to choose from – great for the students. If you are like me and want to jump straight into the code, you can go straight into a console or script editor as well.

I almost always prefer to code from the Console setting on the device. You can type in normal Python syntax…

Which will then print when you submit and run the code.

There is also the ability to package a script and run that (as in multiple lines of code in a program)…

When you have had a chance to edit and create a code, it is always disheartening when you cannot do anything with it. Pythonista gets around that old iOS limitation by allowing you to export your code to any other program, to an email, or directly onto your github page – which is an amazing feature!

Now lets say that you do not have much experience with Python. Never fear! This app has a solution for that as well. Embedded within the environment is a document system that pulls together all of the current syntax and structures from the online Python libraries.


In my work with coding and teaching students to program, I use Pythonista all the time. It is a difficult language to engage students in, but it is remarkably easier than C++ is or Java. By integrating my instruction with this app, I can help serve my students from my iPad without the need to edit code from my desk. If you teach python or are a python programmer, this is a great app for you to take your code with you and edit on the go.


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