Friday, 23 October 2015

Setting up a great Python Coding Environment

Due to haze days we've had a bit of time to sort out a very nagging issue for me. Ensuring my students have a great coding experience!  Easy enough if you are using a Raspberry Pi, which is setup very nicely to code out of the box with a new OS and tools an SD Card away, but for real computers this can be a pain in the neck!

My first requirement was a version of Python that works well with Pygame and something we can replicate across a number of PCs.  We use Macs, so after much playing around we figured that Bootcamp was our best option to deliver Python 3.4.3 with Pygame. (At the moment I can't find a 3.5.0 version)   We tried numerous times to get it working natively on Mac and failed miserably. Best I could do was get version 2.7.1, but then we discovered it relies on quite a lot of emulation anyway, so seemed like a waste of time.  (Please put comments in, if you have had more success than me.)

Linux is actually easy enough to install, but Windows is already installed and the students are largely familiar with it.

The Method

PLEASE ONLY DO THIS IF YOU ARE A CONFIDENT COMPUTER ADMINISTRATOR.
DO NOT TRY WITHOUT PARENTAL / EMPLOYER PERMISSION.

So after looking around most of the net, we found an excellent site: http://programarcadegames.com/  So here are the instructions:

  1. Remove all previous versions of Python on your PC. (We had quite a few)
  2. Run the Python installer downloaded from:
    ProgramArcadeGames.com/python-3.4.3.msi
  3. Run the Pygame installer downloaded from:
    ProgramArcadeGames.com/pygame-1.9.2a0.win32-py3.4.msi

Next we found an excellent editor called Pycharm Edu, which has a number of extra teaching features which I hope to start using in the near future: https://www.jetbrains.com/pycharm-edu/  Just download and follow the instructions.

One point to note, when you make a new project you have to choose interpreter 3.4.3. Pycharm automatically adds 3.5.0.






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