Why would anyone look for an online Python compiler when it is absolutely easy to install Python on your own machine? Well, there are many reasons to compile Python online. In any case, setting up the computer with Python and keeping it up to date with the latest and greatest version, packages, and everything related, is still a task and does not fulfill all the use cases.
It is worth noting, that while most of the offline Python editors and compilers bring in a lot of features, online compilers are generally limited in functionality and try to cater to specific needs instead of catering to all the requirements.
In this article, we will go through various online Python compilers available out there in the wild, while most of those are free, we have also listed a few, that come at a price and used mostly for large scale projects development.
Features and Uses of an Online Python Compiler?
The features offered typically range from being a simple shell to full-featured Python IDE. Some of the most common features you see across different online compilers include –
- Option to share online code snippets with others
- Visualizing the code execution line by line, live in the browser
- Saving the projects/code for editing later
- Collaborate with fellow students to solve the same problem
- Sharing assignments with students and/or back with teachers
- Conducting online interviews and quizzes with live code samples
- Embedding code snippets in websites, blogs, and apps
- Editing, Running and Debugging the code snippets
- Light and Dark theme options, custom fonts, etc.
- Linting, syntax highlighting, pre-included packages, frameworks
- Support for older versions like Python 2, Python 3, and latest releases
- Popular libraries like NumPy, MatPlotLib, machine learning packages etc.
- And much more, keep reading!
Before we look into the available Compilers online, it is worth noting that many university teachers use one or more of the compilers listed in this article for teaching programming. Students pick snippets from assignments, courses, online tutorials, etc. to do a quick run, this aids a ton in quick learning.
Anyways, let us look at what are the best options out there!!!
1. PythonTutor – Visual Code Execution
PythonTutor is my favorite and ranks #1 on my list for the last couple of years now. It is created by a Professor from Rochester University – Professor Philip Guo and supports many other languages apart from Python.
With PythonTutor, you get three different windows in the workspace –
- The window for Visual Execution – line by line
- Window to edit the code with many toolbar options
- Window to display program output
While most online tools have editor and output screens, visual execution is offered by only the niche ones, and you definitely need a professor to build something like that!!!
If you need to know the depths of how your code runs, visual representation is the best way to understand that. It shows every variable acquiring new values visually as the code moves forward from line to line.
Millions of students are using PythonTutor on a daily basis to execute snippets from textbooks, classroom sessions, online courses, and tutorials. And well, for fun too. For me, fun is to invite my friends to find bugs and defects in my code, and PythonTutor lets me do that, another great feature that I love. Session Sharing!
Amjad Masad, Haya Odeh, and Faris Masad created Repl.It. It used to be a very simple and novice tool just a couple of years back but as of today it fully supports Python 3 along with many other programming languages.
Repl.It has a simple user interface and brings in many features that let you work with Python code online with absolute ease. Some of the key features that you get with Repl.it are as below –
- Option to import third-party Python packages
- Rollback the code
- Track versions of the code and complete version control
- Errors debugging with debugger support
- Layout setup as pre-requirement
- Option to choose light vs dark theme
- Existing code snippets for a quick start
- Git integration to import code/projects from git
Repl.it also hosts API that can be used by anyone to include the Repl.It compiler in any web app, course material, tutorials, conduct hackathons or to create coding interviews.
It is very popular among students as well and used across many universities including Flatiron School and Carnegie Mellon University. It is also used by One Interview and Trinket.
Trinket is another simple online compiler that lets you code in Python and a few other languages with absolute ease. Trinket is specifically designed for students’ and teachers’ interaction and allows you to embed the code in any web app. This includes your online classroom assignments, coding quizzes, tutorials, and much more.
You can pick up existing Trinket a.k.a code snippets, make modifications, run and see the output right in the browser. You can also pick up your trinket and embed it in the webpage, it is as simple as adding the below code in the app.
There is an option to generate a URL for your trinket and share it across with your friends for joint coding, debugging, or just boasting off your latest code.
Right now Trinket doesn’t have too many packages, but the most useful ones to do basics are out of the box including random, time, math, matplotlib.pyplot, NumPy, and many more.
Apart from Python, you can use Trinket for HTML5, GlowScript, Blocks, and Music.
Before we get into more detail, I want to call out that this one is not free. You get a one-month free trial but if you want to continue after that you need to pay. Prices seem very reasonable for the additional features it brings over and above the free compilers available out there.
CodeBunk is ideal for conducting online interviews or working with your team/friends. Some of the features that make it a professional product are –
- Ready to use a question bank for creating quizzes and interviews.
- Collaboration with friends, professional teams, and/or interviewers.
- Text chat, audio chat, and video chat option.
- Editor and compiler with almost all the basic features you would expect.
A notable feature is the option to replay the changes done during code writing. One can play the entire session and pause/play to get into the micro assessment.
5. JDoodle Online Python Compiler
JDoodle provides a simple shell to run Python code online. It is not meant to be a fully functional IDE or a repository for interviews or quizzes.
JDoodle is growing fast in popularity over the last year or so and is adding features every few months. It supports Python, many other languages, and a couple of databases too, as of writing this article.
So, go for it, if you just have a few snippets and like other online compilers you can edit, run, write new, debut the code, save the code and share the code with others.
PythonAnywhere is another scalable professional-grade service to edit, compile, run, and even host your Python-based websites. It runs on Amazon EC2 infrastructure, so rest assured you get the best of the server space.
But, do you really need this thing?
Well, if you do not intend to build and host Python-based websites, then this might be overkill for you. Moreover, it provides one project for free to try out the features, you have to pay to do more here. Nonetheless, I am listing down some of the key features just in case you want to look at their services –
- Support for latest Python versions along with Ipython, CPython and PyPy
- Option to compile Python from iPad and other small-screen mobile devices
- Out of the box python packages for basic coding
- Code execution scheduling using cron like jobs
- Collaboration with others since code runs on the server
- Provides online Python 3 compiler and earlier versions including 3.7, 3.6, 3, 3.8, 2, 2.7 and more.
- And many more…
Adding below pricing (at the time of writing) from PythonAnywhere to give you a rough idea on the amount charged by commercial online editors and the features.
CodeSkulptor guys smartly used Skulpt.org’s browser-based Python compiler – skulpt.min.js as well as PythonTutor’s visualization engine that displays code execution line by line visually. So, you get the best of both Skulpt and PythonTutor here in CodeSkulptor.
CodesKulptor is the creation of Scott Rixner, a well-respected professor at Rice University.
You can read more about CodeSkulptor here at – Codeskulptor.org.
9. Ideone Python
Ideone.com is another popular compiler for Python and 60 other programming languages. This is probably the most feature-rich free online compiler where you can use syntax highlighting, check details around memory consumption and time taken for code execution, mark your code private or make it available for public consumption, download the code, and much more.
Ideone.com is known for its proprietary SphereEngine that is used to execute programs in multiple languages. This engine can be used by anyone who intends to create compiler or code editors in the cloud, using their API. This is very powerful since it gives instructions to create courses by embedding the code execution environment within the course material itself.
Interviewers can also create apps using this engine and create coding interviews by embedding the compiler and editor right within the app itself, against every coding question.
10. Code From Labstack
Code from Labstack is a minimalist Python coding playground in the cloud. It probably is the newest one in this list but offers an intuitive and clutter-free interface to edit and compile code from the browser
The playground is very quick and responsive with response times under 300ms to execute the code and provide output. You wouldn’t get too many features but still can save the program in the cloud and compile more than 30 programming languages.
While there are many tools available online to compile and edit python but the range of features offered vary. You may or may not need all the features either, so we have listed online tools to cover a range of features and capabilities.
For sure the best of the best is not required to do a minimalist task of simply running one of the code snippets and an enterprise-grade project can not be developed with a minimalist online compiler.
So, it is a good idea to list down what you really intend to do, then try out 2-3 compilers listed in this article and go for the one that serves your purpose. Do share your experience of an online python compiler with our readers via comments.