For my simple programs I have wirtten, I have just been using a simple editer with syntax highlighting. This seems sufficient. What kinds of thing can a good IDE do for me?
Well one thing is a feature called automatic code completion. It's very helpful and reduce number of sytanx mistakes. Also a good IDE shoud have debugger to help you debug programs. Imagine you have a cod with thousands lines and it's not work as you expected, how to trace bug then? Good IDE spped up writing good and reliabe programs.
It depends what you want the IDE to do. For pure quick Python I like the DrPython IDE. It brings up code on a tabbed notebook and you can cut and paste existing code easily from one page to another. It splits the screen to show results, again you can cut and paste results back to the code, nice for tutorials. It also brings up the Python interactive shell as a split window for short tests.
However, I also convert a lot of programs from one language to another. For that chore I like to use ConText, since I can sat it up to run either code and it highlights the code depending on the file extension. Little perks, but I like them.
I just installed Dr Python on my linux box, I like it. I like being able to comment and uncomment blocks of code, also (un)indendent blocks of code. It has autoindenting, I will try that, but am not sure what i think of it.
Does it have code completion, I did not notice it anywhere?
I use DrPython a lot, got hooked on it! Yes, it has code completion, you have to install it as a plugin from the internet. Let me see, you go to Options, then to Configure Plugins, then to Install..., pick the Website, then select the plugin from the choices (Add), now download (follow directions on install).
There is a plugin.html file in DrPython's documentation directory with more details.