When you install the Python for Windows extensions, an environment known as PythonWin is also installed. One of the most noticeable changes that occurs when you install the extensions is that a shortcut to PythonWin is installed into the Python group on the Windows Start menu.
PythonWin is a GUI environment and IDE for Python. When you start PythonWin, you are presented with an interactive window (a window where you can enter and execute arbitrary Python commands, similar to Python.exe). You can also edit and execute .py files within the environment, using a graphical debugger if necessary. Finally, you can also use the PythonWin framework to create your own GUI-based programs.
Technically, PythonWin consists of two discrete parts:
A large Python extension that exposes the Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC) to Python. MFC is a C++ library provided by Microsoft to create Windows programs. Similar to MFC itself, this extension can be considered a toolkit; it contains all the elements you need to build GUI applications, but it isn’t an application itself.
A set of Python modules that use these MFC facilities to create the IDE environment you see when you start PythonWin. These modules can almost be considered sample code for the MFC extensions.
As you run PythonWin, it’s worth noting that almost all the functionality you are using is written in Python. Everything from handling the menu commands to updating the line and character positions on the status bar is implemented in ...