[Gimp-developer] Python plugin debugging and workflow

I have a lot of work into my first large plugin.  One thing that really slows my progress is the lack of any kind of debugging or work flow.  For example, if I make a syntax error, the plugin will just silently fail, or fail to appear in the menu.  I receive no erros or hints as to where the error occured.  I normally have to commentoput code line-by-line and rerun the plugin until I find the offending line of code.  I've wasted hours at a time finding small little bugs like this.
Is there a way to have gimp relay python errors? 
I have also noticed that the python plugins will not run outside of gimp with the standard python interpreter (can't find the gimp imports). 
Is there something I'm missing?  Is this the workflow that everybody uses?  Any hints or tips?

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