Which is the most popular editor on these forums, please? Especially so, an editor that takes Python to the maximum of what it is capable of achieving. I'm hoping that I won't need such-and-such an editor to do this, and such-and-such an editor to do that... An all-in-one if possible. (even if I have to buy it)
Is it possible to learn Python 3+ and ignore Python 2+, please? Or, should I stick with Python 2+ until 3+ can walk and talk?
This is a difficult thing to really give any advice on, as everyone has a different 'feel' for their favorite tools. I can only tell you my own impressions, and hope yours may be similar.
Of the handful of Python editors and IDEs I have tried, the best I personally have found are Eric, and the PyDev extensions for Eclipse. Both have the advantage of working with either Python 2.x or 3.x if you have both installed at the same time.
However, I have not tried the any of the commercial IDEs to date (such as WingWare or PyCharm), and cannot give any advice on them.
The question of the version of Python to use is mostly a pragmatic one, in that many 3rd party libraries for Python have not yet been updated to work with Python 3. I would recommend learning Python 3, unless you had reason to use a major Python 2.x package such as Django.
I'm going to start out with Eric 5, which I've just downloaded. On the Eric page there are four further downloads that apparently are needed. One of them is called Qt, and it seems you have to pay for it. Is it okay to go-ahead with Eric without Qt while I'm just getting the feel of this IDE? I suppose I'm asking if it's an essential install?
Actually, there is a free version of Qt available from the Qt Project site; the commercial version is only if you are intending to write commercial software using the Qt libraries, IIUC. The opern source version does lag behind the commercial version by a few revisions, but the differences are not usually that significant.
The free SharpDevelop IDE is also nice and offers MS Studio capabilities. It needs the Windows OS and .NET Framework. It can be used for a number of languages like Python, IronPython, C# and C++. It seems to create Windows .exe files with Python code (uses IronPython?).
How old is Python 3x? Do you think it is going to take a vast amount of time to be accepted? Is it a similar situation to that of XP and Vista? People stuck with XP because it was lean and clean, and didn't want to change to Vista because it was slow and clumsy? Is that the kind of issue between Python 2x and Python 3x?
The SharpDevelop IDE uses IronPython to produce executable files.
Here is a test ...
code executed on SharpDevlop 4.2 IDE
Python console solution
the IDE was installed after the IronPython27 installation
the 'Run compiled exe' produced 2 files in folder
print("Python version:\n %s\n" % sys.version)
raw_input("Press Enter to go on ...")
2.7.3 (IronPython 2.7.3 (184.108.40.206) on .NET 4.0.30319.296 (32-bit))
Press Enter to go on ...
Going from Python2 to Python3 is a step foreward, much has been streamlined and modernized. For the time being using Python 2.7.3 will make your life easier, since you can use much of the older code samples without change. Python3 handles foreign characters better. There are some syntax changes, but the difference between strings and byte-strings will bite you the most.