# How to install an IDE

An IDE is an Integrated Development Environment. If you've got experience coding, I'm sure you've used an IDE at some point or another.

IDEs are text editors that let you modify your code. However, as the name says, they do a bit more than just that.

Often we can use IDEs to run our code, connect to databases, use a debugger, or a whole host of other things!

Throughout this course I mostly use Visual Studio Code. It's a very powerful IDE that you can get for free at https://code.visualstudio.com/. If you get VS Code, I've got a blog post on how to set it up for Python development: https://blog.tecladocode.com/how-to-set-up-visual-studio-code-for-python-development/

I also often use PyCharm, which is another IDE for Python. It's also very powerful and comes with an excellent debugger. You can get PyCharm at https://www.jetbrains.com/pycharm/. The Community Edition of PyCharm is free.

Installing these is straightforward: just double click the installer and proceed as you would with any normal application!

# Opening Projects

When you're working with any of these IDEs, you should open separate projects in separate windows.

For example, let's say we're working on the Portfolio project.

You should open the Portfolio project folder using PyCharm or VSCode.

I've noticed some students like opening their "projects" folder with the IDE, so that they can work on all their projects in one window. This is likely to cause problems due to how Python looks for code files to use and import (more on that when you get to the "Imports" section of the Python Refresher!).