2.3.2 IDLEfork

The IDE that comes with the Python source distribution is called IDLE. It's feature set is relatively cautiously developed, and is not considered suitable for this environment. Instead we used IDLEfork[#!idlefork!#], which has more functionality, and is better layed out. The version used was 0.8.1.

At the time of writing IDLEfork is in active development. It proved impossible to run more than one instance of the program on the same physical machine because of its currently immature implementation of a client-server model. This was a particularly problematic on the SunRay environment used in the department of Physics because, although there are many terminals, there is only one physical machine, making it impossible for more than one student to work at a time.

The IDLEfork developers suggested a workaround that involved dynamically generating a number for IDLEfork to use as its communication port based on process ID (in version 0.8.1 this port was a constant). The port used was then guaranteed to be unique. See Appendix B for further details.