These tools expand your Python debugging capabilities beyond what the standard print() function can achieve.
The debugging phase can get frustrating quickly with no means of diagnosing and fixing your code problems. Python includes some basic functions that can assist debugging (see below for the print() process). Still, you might need assistance from third-party tools to expand your debugging abilities.
This article discusses nine different tools that you can use to debug python, meaning both diagnosing and mitigating bugs. The tools vary in their function, but they can be broadly categorized into two roles, IDEs and Bug Reporting Tools.
See below for some more insights into how these two types of tools can improve your debugging.
Here is our list of the best tools to debug python:
- Sentry– EDITOR’S CHOICE A comprehensive bug tracking and performance monitoring tool with great tools for getting granular feedback on bug reports with actionable insights that link directly to your development environment.
- Pycharm A Python-specific IDE with excellent debugging facilities makes it one of the best Python debugging tools for the core development process.
- Rollbar Another bug reporting and error aggregation solution. Rollbar provides lots of notification control tools and tracking tools to improve your debugging workflow.
- Instabug A bug reporting solution focused mainly on mobile user testing and feedback aggregation, with VCS integrations available.
- Visual Studio Microsoft presents one of the best IDEs for debugging on the market, with many bug diagnosis features available in a professional product.
- Raygun Built for crash reporting and bug monitoring, this solution has a suite of mitigation tools for integrated bug diagnosis and fixing.
- Glitchtip An open-source option for bug reporting. Glitchtip provides all of the primary functions of premium products while remaining free and highly flexible.
- Komodo IDE An open-source IDE that can support several languages (including Python) with excellent debugging tools and VCS integration.
- Icecream An alternative to print() that expands on the delivered information that improves the debugging capabilities of the standard go-to function.
If you’re looking for tools to help you debug Python, you’re likely already familiar with the print() function. If not, this function can be beneficial to assist in your debugging since it will output a defined parameter. While many of the solutions on this list introduce third-party debugging methods, you can always rely on the print() function to find bugs during development.
Another solution on this list, Icecream, can enhance the print() function to make it even more useful. It does this by introducing more details exposed by the print() output, increasing your debugging capabilities.
One of the best ways to improve your debugging capabilities is by upgrading your IDE. This is because your development environment has a subtle but large impact on your coding abilities. While most premium IDEs function the same way, we’ve included a few on this list targeted explicitly towards better debugging.
Bug Reporting Tools
Debugging during the development stages is important, but most of your bugs will be caught during the testing and post-deployment phases. In addition, your QA team, external testers, and end-users will undoubtedly discover bugs during their hands-on time with your product.
To aid in this, bug reporting and aggregation tools exist to provide a platform for faults to be logged and your bug handling developers to be notified. These tools integrate directly with your development environment or workflow systems to smooth out the debugging process. We’ve included a number of these tools on our list for you to check out.
The Best Tools to Debug Python
Our methodology for selecting a Python debugging tool
We reviewed the market for Python debugging systems and analyzed options based on the following criteria:
- A code checker that is built into program editors for Python scripts
- A static code scanner
- Integration with bug trackers
- Automated testing options that will integrate into a CI/CD pipeline
- An explanation for each detected error
- A free trial for a no-obligation assessment opportunity or a free tool
- Value for money from a debugging tool that can be used for a range of programming languages, not just Python
With these selection criteria in mind, we identified a number of Python debugging tools with both free and paid options in our list.
Sentry is an error tracking and performance monitoring solution that can diagnose and fix python issues. A stack trace feature replicates your development environment and allows you to break down detected errors and get more significant insights into where the code produces bugs.
- Error detection
- Performance monitoring
- Stack tracing for error insights
- Event log reader
- Free with limited capacity
The service aggregates your errors into a filterable list and can allow you to label sections of your code with tags to help you quickly replicate errors. The performance monitoring tools also expand your diagnosis abilities, allowing you to see anomalous readouts found within your development projects easily.
- Completely open source
- Can query multidimensional data structures
- Supports root cause analysis for faster resolution times
- Supports a wide range of integrations for logging and PSA
- Not the best option for enterprise organizations
Sentry is entirely free to use the basic features with limited user capacity. For premium options, you can upgrade to the Team package for $26/month that improves the error detection systems, or the Business package for $80/month that expands on the error insights even further.
Both the Team and Business versions have a free trial available. There are also Enterprise-scale options if you contact Sentry directly if you need large-scale considerations that provide complete platform error monitoring and cross-project insights.
Official Site: https://smartbear.com/product/testcomplete/free-trial/
OS: Windows, macOS, Linux, and SaaS
Pycharm is a python-focused IDE with some of the best python debugging tools available within an IDE. Furthermore, the intelligent assistance features provide smart auto-completion and error checking, which massively reduces bugs. In addition to the debugging tools, the solution offers a variety of tools that are useful for overall development.
- Python IDE
- Smart assistance features
- Web development frameworks
- VCS integration
- Graphical debugger
- FeaturesPython focused debugging tools
- Supports auto-completion
- Built on an open-source platform
- Is highly flexible and can support other languages
- Lacks AI capabilities
Pycharm comes in two versions, a completely free Community version and a premium Professional version that adds additional features. The Professional version adds enhanced support for both scientific and web python development and has a free trial available to download.
Rollbar is another error reporting and fault aggregation tool built around real-time bug discovery features. The solution features a suite of notifications for fast and accurate bug reporting, but it also intelligently groups bug notifications for better readability.
- Bug reporting and aggregation
- Real-time bug notifications
- Error management
- Workflow integration
- Free with limited capacity
Automated issue tracking and workflow triggers allow you to prevent your projects from shipping with known but unaddressed bugs inadvertently. In addition, telemetry data pulled through the various integrations available means you can also track where bugs appear to speed up remediation.
- Supports real-time bug discovery and analysis
- Supports various integrations for practically any workflow
- Free for up to 25,000 error events
- Better suited for larger environments
Rollbar is free for up to 25,000 error events with enough essential features to get you off the ground, especially in a small development team. Premium plans include the Essentials plan for $21 per month for up to 50,000 error events. The Advanced plan expands up to 100k error events and enables a multi-project feed perfect for a CI/CD workflow.
Instabug is a bug reporting tool built primarily for mobile testing. The system relies on human testers identifying bugs within a given product, but it provides a solution to aggregate and manage bug-related feedback. The product isn’t built specifically for Python, or any language in particular, since it simply works as a feedback device.
- Mobile bug reporting
- Log data
- Performance monitoring
- A large number of integrations
- Automatic notifications
Bug reports can be compared with log data for better insights into reported problems. In addition, the solution has a substantial base of integrations, including Github, Slack, and Trello, to smooth the development workflow.
- Excellent user interface
- Offers a variety of communication options for teams and workflows
- Offers automatic notifications and performance monitoring
- Designed primarily for mobile testing
- Would like to see a longer trial
Instabug has a 14-day free trial available. The Basic product package is built for small businesses and costs $149 per month. The Pro product adds additional diagnosis features and more integration options and costs $249 per month.
The Premium solution is for Enterprise-scale businesses and massively expands on diagnosis options, including an on-premises hosting option. Still, you need to contact the company directly for a personalized quote on pricing.
5. Visual Studio
Microsoft Visual Studio is an IDE with one of the most advanced debugging toolsets of any IDE on the market today. For example, you can use the breakpoint to pick out specific lines of code that may be causing issues and use the inbuilt visual debugging tools to diagnose problems and mitigate faults.
- Professional IDE
- Expanded debugging features
- Visual debugger
- Lots of available integrations
- Multi-language (including Python)
You can also activate the debugging tool in step sequences to identify precisely what line of code is causing problems. Effectively, the suite of debugging features within Visual Studio means it can rival any other IDE to fix faults. Moreover, the usability extends to Python since Visual Studio can support a massive range of languages.
- Supports Python and other languages
- Is one of the most popular IDEs on the market
- Features a visual debugger
- Not ideal for those looking to leave Visual Studio for alternatives
Visual Studio comes in various formats, including a free, open-source version designed for individual small-scale developers called the Community version.
If you’re working as part of a team, you may want to look into the Business options, which can be acquired as part of a subscription for $45 per month. Enterprise options also exist for large-scale business demands, for $250 per month.
Raygun provides accurate crash reporting and bug feedback by aggregating user data. In addition, the solution provides the tools for bug tracking and mitigation solutions for debugging. Those functions on top of the user data monitoring mean this solution is best for debugging an already live service.
- Bug feedback
- Crash reporting
- Diagnostics and mitigation tools
- User monitoring platform
- Modular pricing model
However, the solution divides its main functions between three different products. This means you can opt into the services you require without paying for extras, but it does also mean that if you need a fully-featured solution, you may end up paying more than other available options.
- Simple visual debugger
- Offers crash reporting and bug feedback
- Supports user monitoring
- Better suited for real user monitoring use cases
The solution is separated into three primary services, each accessible for a free trial on the website. The Application Performance Monitoring and Real User Monitoring solutions, which start at $8 per month, will benefit your monitoring needs.
Glitchtip is an open-source error reporting tool that collects and manages bug reports and displays them in a readable, fixable solution. It excels above other solutions because it is open-source, meaning there’s a more substantial body of support compared to some other products.
- Error reporting and aggregation
- Performance monitoring
- Sentry integration
- Hosted or self-hosted options
The solution was seemingly created as an answer to Sentry moving away from open-source, but it still integrates with Sentry’s open SDK. Because the solution is open-source, you can host it locally, but the company also offers host options. Glitchtip is still relatively new but may be the perfect solution for small businesses or budget projects where open-source is essential.
- Completely open source project
- Offers both hosted and self-hosted options
- Is extremely lightweight
- The interface could use improvement
Glitchtip is open-source and completely free when self-hosted. You can also use their hosted platform, which is also free for up to 1000 events.
Beyond the free hosted option, they also have services available for small, medium, and large businesses. The Small package supports up to 100k events and costs $15 per month. The Medium package supports up to 500k events and costs $50 per month. Finally, the Large package supports up to 3 million events and costs $250 per month.
8. Komodo IDE
Komodo is another IDE, but one that can handle a variety of languages, including Python. Komodo is open-source, and the base version of the product is also completely free. The IDE excels in debugging as the visual debugger and code inspection tools that improve error detection and prevent problems.
- Open-source IDE
- Inbuilt VCS integration
- Visual debugger
- Workflow management
- Multi-language (including Python)
Inbuilt support for VCS like Git and workflow management tools mean you can prevent buggy builds from being delivered. The real draw of Komodo is the open-source nature of the product, with extensive support and expansion capabilities as a result. If you need a new IDE for Python development, this solution will provide many tools to enhance your debugging capabilities.
- Includes Python tools as well as support for multiple languages
- Open source-based tool
- Supports visual debugging
- Not ideal for those looking to avoid open source solutions
The software can be downloaded and installed from the company website, but you must have an ActiveState account to use the product, including the free version. Unfortunately, it seems ActiveState is slowly phasing out the IDE and rolling it into the ActiveState platform.
The IDE still has a community following, and since the solution is free and open-source, it’s worth considering if you need a solution while on a budget. However, be aware that while the product is still supported, it seems to be gradually declining compared to more recent solutions.
Icecream is designed as an alternative to the print() function, it expands on the amount of information provided by the typical output function making it a handy tool for detailed debugging. The solution has several uses, from more detailed inspection of variables to better execution feedback.
- Enhanced print() function
- Free and open-source
- Pip installed package
The plugin can be installed through pip with minimal effort. While this solution doesn’t present a drastic overhaul of your debugging methodology, it gives you debugging abilities a little extra bump that they might need.
- Completely free
- Open-source project
- Extremely lightweight
- Lacks features found in other products
Python debugging tools FAQs
Is there a Python debugger?
There is a native debugger module for Python, which is called pdb – Python Debugger. This is a command line utility. The procedures of pdb require you to embed debug message lines in your code. These are specific to pdb so you can leave them in your code even when it goes live and the output won’t appear under normal running conditions. However, the messages can be collected whenever you run pdb and launch the Python script within the utility.
Why we use debugging in Python?
Debugging is a way to detect and correct errors. However, there are other purposes for debugging. It is often difficult to be able to work out why the final output of a program is coming out wrong or why a program that used to work, suddenly falls over without any code changes. Investigating these situations is made easier by inserting status report messages at sequential points in the Python script. With these traces, you can read through the debug messages and detect the point in the code where activities start to diverge from expected behavior or see where interactions with other modules or resources cause previously unexpected errors.
What is PyCharm used for in Python?
PyCharm is an integrated development environment (IDE) for Python. That is, it is a code editor that is specifically tuned to Python syntax. As it has a dictionary of Python functions built into it, the PyCharm system will highlight functions, and ensure that the variables given for each conform to the schema for that service. The IDE will also assist with clear formatting of code and link between newly written modules that call each other to verify cohesion.