Mu, a new Python IDE for beginners

Mu is a very simple-to-use Python editor and IDE (integrated development environment) and this week, version 1.0 was released!

Mu Python IDE for beginners Raspberry Pi

New Mu

Mu is designed to be as user-friendly and as helpful as possible for new Python programmers, presenting just the tools that are useful, such as:

  • Syntax highlighting
  • Automatic indentation
  • In-built help
  • Code checking
  • Debugging

Great for new programmers

Mu is intended to be not the only Python IDE you’ll ever need, but the first one — the editor that helps you start your coding journey, but not necessarily the one you finish it with. So when you’re ready, you will have the skills and confidence to move on to using a more advanced Python IDE.

You can use Mu in a number of modes; modes make working with Mu easier by only presenting the options most relevant to what you’re using Mu for:

Mu Python IDE for beginners Raspberry Pi

Available now

Mu version 1.0 is available now for Windows, macOS, Linux, and the Raspberry Pi’s official operating system Raspbian! And to help new Python programmers get started, we have created a guide to Getting Started with Mu for all these operating systems.

Mu Python IDE for beginners Raspberry Pi

Mu is the brainchild of Nicholas Tollervey, who has worked tirelessly to create Mu. I recently met up with him and some of the Mu team at the world’s first Mu-“moot” to celebrate this release:

Nicholas Tollervey on Twitter

World’s first Mu-moot. :-(

One of the inspirations for Mu was the keynote presentation at EuroPython 2015 given by Raspberry Pi’s Carrie Anne Philbin. She talked about the barriers to children getting started with Python, including the lack of an suitably easy-to-use IDE:

Carrie Anne Philbin – Keynote: Designed for Education: A Python Solution

Carrie Anne Philbin – Keynote: Designed for Education: A Python Solution [EuroPython 2015] [23 July 2015] [Bilbao, Euskadi, Spain] The problem of introducing children to programming and computer science has seen growing attention in the past few years. Initiatives like Raspberry Pi, Code Club, code.org, (and many more) have been created to help solve this problem.

Raspberry Pi has provided support for the project, helping to take Mu from its first implementation as a micro:bit programming tool to a general-purpose and simple-to-use Python editor and IDE!

You can find installation instructions as well as tutorials on Mu’s website.

22 comments

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Suddenly I’m seeing myself everywhere!

Hopefully people find Mu useful, it’s definitely been fun to work on

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Are there plans to include Mu in Raspbian?

Any thoughts on how it compares to Thonny?

I’ve stuck with Geany as my editor but definitely open to other options, especially if micro:bit and circuit playground is supported out of the box.

Janina Ander

If your version of Raspbian is up to date, you can install Mu via the Recommended Software app in the preferences menu.
If you want to install Mu using pip, check the instructions for Linux in our ‘Getting started with Mu’ guide.

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Hi
is this the same with as new install of Noobs ?
Looks great.

Janina Ander

Yes, if you’re using NOOBS, it will install the most up-to-date version of Raspbian for you.

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Just installed on a Pi3, ran over VNC, set to Python3
Select New and began typing
“print” became “xlv\n”

Martin O'Hanlon

Very unusual, I have just VNC’d into a Pi and used Mu with no problems, perhaps check your keyboard layout settings on both the Pi and VNC client?!

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Seems very much like smalltalk style. But it’s not a bad thing, anything to help out the kids. Current Ide are a huge barrier. Good job. Like the logic icons.

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How does Mu compare with Thonny?

Martin O'Hanlon

I consider Mu to be simpler to use than Thonny, less menus, less options and totally geared to that new learner experience.

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…although I should point out that Thonny has a simple mode which removes the menus and options for this very reason…

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In mode Pyton 3, no menu item Plotter.
(Python 3.5.3 installed)

Martin O'Hanlon

Unfortunately the plotter isnt available on the Raspberry Pi due to the lack of a specific QT library in the current version of Raspbian. Other than that 1 visible option, it is exactly the same.

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Python is THE universal scripting language not only for IT people but for everyone especially for Creators (artist, designe, 3D people, VFx), mathematicians, physicians, economists, etc.
Is the language that I suggest to teach at school at low age.
Knowing using python worth more than a college scholarship for the future of your children.

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Artist type uses Processing. Mathematicians and the like uses Python because it’s so regular, but other people prefer loose languages. Perl is popular because it is very linguistic. It’s very convenient to write scripts for. I still use BASIC and C programming language, and never felt handicapped.

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Jupyter notebook style programming is much better for a beginner.

– You have code completion button tab
– You have help button shift+tab
– The ability to run part of the program is very important. Skip parts of the code with bugs. That is. The ability to iterate the code separately without having to remember much.

I think you only need to make a start script icon on the desktop to start jupyter notebook.

The main idea is that you don’t need to remember so much to begin programming with code completion and cells.

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Ran into error when running pip3 install, got the message:
Could not find a version that satisfies the requirement qscintilla==2.10.7 (from mu-editor) (from versions: )
No matching distribution found for qscintilla==2.10.7 (from mu-editor)
any ideas??

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fixed

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Been trying to use PyCharm Community Edition on Raspbian but have had real issues when trying to read the file system to open a file, save a file and even setup a new interpreter. Will try this out as soon as I can.

Sometimes simpler is really better!

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Thank you, I’ve been trying to find a suitable python coding program :)

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The version in Raspbian is 1.0.0, but the version for all other OSs is 1.0.1. Could you update to Mu 1.0.1 on Raspbian?

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The 1.0.1 update is being tested internally at the moment; it should be available on apt in the next week or so.

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