Home RASPBERRY PI 11 Best Raspberry Pi IDEs For Writing and Testing Code

11 Best Raspberry Pi IDEs For Writing and Testing Code

Raspberry Pi is a small computer that fits in the palm of your hand. It is a series of small single-board computers, meaning it has all the components you’d expect on a desktop neatly placed on a credit-card-sized board, and it can do almost everything that a typical computer can. 

Raspberry Pi was initially designed to help with teaching the basics of computer science to kids in developing countries. It was created in the United Kingdom and released in 2012.

However, it became way more popular than expected. Its applications branched out in almost all aspects of the programming world, like robotics and weather monitoring, due to its low cost, versatility, and ease of use. 

You can use Raspberry Pi to do almost anything from running game servers to video editing. Raspberry Pi uses its own operating system known as Raspberry Pi OS, which was previously known as Raspbian. This is a Debian-based, 32-bit Linux system developed by Raspberry Pi Foundation itself. 

In addition, two programming languages come preinstalled on the Raspberry Pi, Scratch and Python, both of which are its primary languages. However, if you’re unfamiliar with those two languages, there is support for other languages, so you’re not limited in options. 

Coding on Raspberry Pi requires you to have an environment where you can write, test, and run your code to check for errors. You can also use regular text editors to write code, but if you want a professional environment to create and run your code in, you need an IDE (Integrated Development Environment).

We have collated a list of the top Raspberry Pi IDEs that we recommend writing and testing code for.

Best Raspberry Pi IDEs – Our Top Pick👌👌

1. Geany – The Flyweight IDE

Geany is one of the best and most lightweight Raspberry Pi IDEs. You can think of Geany as a text editor with a GTK+ plugin, a toolkit used for the cross-platform creation of graphical user interfaces (GUI). 

The addition of the GTK+ plugin and Scintilla plugin allows you to code and develop programs in over fifty languages. 

Best Raspberry Pi IDEs

Moving on, the main features of the Geany development environment include highlighting the syntax and holophrastic, which is also known as cold folding and is used to hide or show parts of the code selectively.

Additionally, you can also use various add-ons and plugins to extend the feature bed of the Raspberry Pi. It also has a feature for native code, used to improve and help you read the code better. 

The Raspberry Pi OS should come pre-installed with Geany, and if you’re using a different Linux distro, you can type the following command in the terminal “Sudo apt install Geany” and hit enter. 

2. BlueJ

BlueJ was initially developed as an educational tool, but just like Raspberry Pi, its applications exceeded its target market. BlueJ should also be a great choice if you’re a beginner at Java as it is easy to use and the interface is very simple to understand. 

Best Raspberry Pi IDEs 1

Since the interface is so simple to use, allowing developers to focus more on writing code than on the environment, making it very suitable for creating code for the Raspberry Pi, it also supports the Stride programming language, which takes the best of code-based and block-based coding and combines them to form a cohesive language. 

However, do not be fooled by its lightweight nature, as BlueJ doesn’t compromise functionality and modularity. You have access to features like scope highlighting, checking for balanced brackets, which is a very common programming problem, and various programs to help you debug your code more efficiently. 

BlueJ also provides an excellent environment to learn concepts related to object-oriented programming. The graphical user interface creates class structures for Unified Modeling Language that create visual representations of a system along with its main classes, actors, and function calls.

Moreover, you can directly use the code written on BlueJ in the program without the need to compile it. You can use the following command to install BlueJ on the “ Sudo apt install BlueJ.”

3. Thonny 

If Python is your programming language of choice, Thonny might be a suitable application for you to write code for Raspberry Pi.

The interface is very easy on the eyes and user-friendly. So if you’ve just started out with Python, you won’t be out of your element in this development environment. 

11 Best Raspberry Pi IDEs For Writing and Testing Code

This ensures you focus mainly on coding and not on the various extravagant features offered by other integrated development environments. Moving on to the features provided by Thonny, it features a debugger to help you sort out the errors in your code and correct them. 

There are also other features like expression evaluation, also known as a watch tool used for evaluating expressions when your code is running in the debugger, highlighting the syntax, and assisted completion of code. All of these features are designed to improve your experience while coding on Thonny. 

Just like other integrated development environments, Thonny also supports various plugins to enhance the functionality of the program. You can install Thonny on your system using the following code “Sudo apt install thonny.”

4. Code::blocks

Code::Blocks is a very popularly integrated development environment with all the bells and whistles you’d want from an IDE. It is a cross-platform program for creating code for Raspberry Pi and supports various languages like C, C++, and Fortran.

Along with this, compilers have several options to choose from, including GCC, slang, Borland C++, Watcom, Intel C++, and Visual C++. Being a full-fledged development environment, it features its own compiler, debugger, and hex editor that allows you to manipulate the binary data of a program. 

11 Best Raspberry Pi IDEs For Writing and Testing Code

Moving on to the features of this integrated development environment, Code::Blocks offers various features like highlighting the syntax of the program, assisted completion of the code, and a class browser.

Additionally, if you think that some features are missing that you need to use for your work, you can use various plugins to assist with the functionality of the app. You can use the following code to install Code::Blocks on your system using the terminal “ Sudo apt install codeblocks.”

5. Lazarus IDE

The Lazarus IDE is a unique infrastructure to develop programs on as it is marketed as a cross-platform development environment made for rapid application development. It takes advantage of the Free Pascal Compiler, which is synonymous with the “write once, compile anywhere” philosophy. 

This basically means that you can develop the code and create an application on one system and then use another to compile it using the free pascal compiler. 

11 Best Raspberry Pi IDEs For Writing and Testing Code

However, the FPC is not the only trump card the Lazarus development environment carries up its sleeve. It also has support for systems like MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Oracle. 

Just like all the other development environments on this list, Lazarus also supports highlighting the program’s syntax, assisted completion of the code, formatting the code, and pre-designed templates for code. 

Additionally, you also get suggestions on how to improve your code with context-sensitive issues and targeted references. You can download the Lazarus IDE by entering the following code on a terminal window, “Sudo apt install Lazarus-ide.”

You may like to read our guide on the 17 Best Pastebin Alternatives To Store Any Type of Text.

6. Greenfoot IDE

Micahel Kolling has designed the Greenfoot integrated development environment. It was initially designed on BlueJ to teach high school and undergraduate students about development environments. 

It provides a very easy-to-use interface which is much better and simpler than BlueJ and other development environments on this list, as it was designed for beginners. 

Greenfoot provides many features like highlighting the program’s syntax, assisted code completion, and auto-correction of errors. 

Greenfoor IDE is so easy to use that the intended age of use is as low as fourteen years old, and you need to learn the terminology if you want to learn the program efficiently.

Any project inside Greenfoot is known as a “scenario”, and each and every scenario has a “world” where you’ll be doing most of the coding work.

A Greenfoot actor has various characteristics and behaviors, also known as attributes and methods. Greenfoot also comes preinstalled with various actor images, and you also have the option to upload your own if you choose to. 

7. Ninja IDE

Ninja integrated development environment should be your go-to choice if you’re looking to write code in Python exclusively. It was created by Diego Sarmentero, Horacio Duranm, Gabriel Acosta, Pedro Mourelle, and Jose Rostango using Python and supports all the major operating systems like Windows, macOS, and Linux. 

It is also a very lightweight development environment that does not compromise functionality at all. It provides various features like locating code within a project, automatic indentation of code, highlighting syntax, and much more. 

11 Best Raspberry Pi IDEs For Writing and Testing Code

It is also colloquially known as the most-efficient integrated development environment due to intelligent features like assisted code completion, code indentation, and functions as an assistant.

The PPE8 finder highlights the static in a file, and you can use the Ctrl+K shortcut to type anything on the file, and the development environment will locate it for you. 

8. Algo IDE

Algo IDE is an amalgamation of a scripting language and an integrated development environment made to enhance the coding experience and take it to the next level. It features a very robust and powerful compiler and a real-time scope explorer, and the entire code is executed sequentially. 

Algo IDE is specifically designed so people from all age groups and all levels of expertise can operate the program with ease and also do extensive research on algorithms. Additionally, it also supports various languages like C, C++, Python, Java, Objective C, Action Script, and the list goes on. 

9. Adafruit IDE

Unlike all the other integrated development environments mentioned on this list, which must be downloaded and installed on a system.

Adafruit is one of the best web-based Raspberry Pi IDEs, making it a lightweight option for your Chromebook or even a hand-held tablet. Moreover, Adafruit IDE supports various programming languages like JavaScript, Python, Ruby, and many more. 

However, just because Adafruit is a web-based integrated development environment, don’t think it lacks any functionalities compared to any other IDE on this list. It is fully stocked and equipped to handle almost anything you throw at it. 

Additionally, you also have an option to upload your code to a GIT repository and then access it on GitHub later on. Adafruit also has an inbuilt compiler and visualizer to help with the proper functioning and running of the code. 

10. Mu IDE

Mu IDE is one of the best Raspberry Pi IDEs you can choose if you want to code in Python. The interface is very simple and easy to use, making it an excellent choice for beginners who might be jarred by all the different functions offered in other IDEs on this list. 

This development environment is designed to help beginners learn the language properly and hopefully move on to a more advanced IDE when they feel skilled enough. 

11 Best Raspberry Pi IDEs For Writing and Testing Code

It offers all the essential functions that every integrated development environment provides, like syntax highlighting, the automated indentation of code, in-built help, code-checking, and debugging. 

Additionally, you can use Mu IDE in various modes, like creating games using Pygame Zero, programming a micro:bit, and working with Adafruit’s circuit range of boards. 

📗Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I use PyCharm on Raspberry Pi?

Yes, you can install PyCharm on Raspberry Pi, but the process to do it is pretty long and arduous and getting them to work on Raspberry Pi properly isn’t nearly as simple as the other options we’ve mentioned in this article. 

Almost all of the integrated development environments that we have mentioned here are very lightweight and do not take up a lot of power. They allow you to create and code applications on Raspberry Pi with ease. 

However, unless you have a specific requirement, you do not need to use full-fledged integrated development environments like PyCharm, Visual Studio Code, IntelliJ, and Eclipse on Raspberry Pi, as all the IDEs we have mentioned on this list are sufficient enough to take care of all your needs. 

Moreover, for installing PyCharm and other full-fledged integrated development environments, you need different hardware specifications for Raspberry Pi that can handle the resource load as they won’t work on a lot of them. 

2. How to install Eclipse on Raspberry Pi?

Before beginning with installing any full-fledged integrated development environment on your Raspberry Pi, it is essential to know if the hardware specifications of your device can handle them.

Personally, due to the hardware limitations and cumbersome software, Eclipse wouldn’t be our first choice to code on Raspberry Pi. Additionally, you need to be well versed with the Linux command line to understand and execute this process correctly.

First and foremost, you need to ensure you’re running a 64-bit system; this can either be the 64-bit Raspberry Pi OS or any other Linux distro running the same 64-bit system. 

After you’re sure you’re on the proper system and your hardware specifications are correct, open up the terminal, type “ uname -a “, and hit enter. 

This command will show you if you’re on a 32-bit or 64-bit system; if it shows the latter, you’re good to go. Next, enter the following commands “ sudo apt update “ and “ sudo apt upgrade “to ensure that your system packages are up-to-date. 

Next, go ahead and download Eclipse from its official page and make sure you choose the “AArch64” option. Be aware that the link you get for the download will not be a direct link; you need to begin the download on your computer and copy the link while it’s in progress. Then, you need to use a wget command in the terminal to install it on your Raspberry Pi. 

Extract the downloaded file wherever you want, and then run it by double-clicking on it. 

A pop-up window will show up where you need to select the execute button, and the Eclipse IDE will launch. 

Conclusion

That’s it for this article, folks. We’ve mentioned a lot of lightweight independent development environments that are perfect for running on Raspberry Pi as they are lightweight and not very resource-intensive. Almost all listings possess the ability to take care of all your programming needs. 

However, fully-fledged Raspberry Pi IDEs like Eclipse is very resource-intensive and consume a lot of power. Additionally, they work only with 64-bit architecture systems and need some of the latest hardware to run them, making them not as versatile as the options we’ve mentioned in this article.

Our top recommendation from this list would be Geany which we have tested and used extensively and are very fond of. It offers the most extensive library of available languages in which applications can be coded in, over 50, to be precise.

Additionally, it comes with all the features you need in an integrated development environment, such as syntax highlighting, code folding, and auto-closing HTML and XML tags, as that is one of the most common errors while programming.

Moreover, Geany is very user-friendly, and everyone can use it without spending much time getting comfortable with the overall environment.