[IPython-dev] questions about the notebook interface

Toni Alatalo antont at an.org
Mon Jun 27 08:38:31 CDT 2005


i have some questions about the notebook interface (as it's described in 
http://ipython.scipy.org/google_soc/ipnb_google_soc.pdf). must leave 
right now so am trying to be brief, sorry for possible unclarities:

1. reasoning for true Python over special string / comments

as e.g. rst is nice for writing documents in itself, and can also be 
used to write text, make tables, images etc. in Python files (the 
original purpose), i'd be interested in hearing the main arguments from 
the 'lengthy discussions' (referred in the spec) for deciding on true 
Python instead. am probably bying the result already, but would still 
like to hear the reasoning.

2. usage targets of the library

ReST and LaTEX are pretty clear, but how about possible other types of 
documents, like ones with dynamic / interactive content -- should that 
be addressed by the notebook lib? e.g. Slithy 
(http://isotropic.org/uw/slithy/) provides a pretty nice way to make 
dynamic/interactive diagrams with python (as functions that receive vars 
(user controllable with slides in the player, and/or time for 
animations) and output drawings). what (other) usages should be 
considered? or only 'print targeted' stuff (like the mathreader things 
seem almost like pdf)? one other area here is linking, which 
rest/latex/pdf and of course html do support too, and there perhaps 
granularity .. like to have support for so-called 'purple numbers' 
http://www.eekim.com/software/purple/purple.html .
3. markup

is something like Stan from twisted.nevow considered nice? 
http://nevow.com/ , http://nevowexamples.adytum.us/sources/hellostan.py

4. ipython and non-ipython

i suppose the basic notebook module would be independent from ipython, 
and then some separate glue for it would be made for ipython (in the 
ipython cvs), like has been done with gnuplot - right? or is there 
something ipython specific about the project i'm missing? indeed the 
real-time / interactive aspect is interesting, but does that imply much 
for the API design? and in this case, should be a separate project, 
hosted on some of the sourceforge forks (berlios, gna.org or something?) 
.. would 'notebook' be a good name for the package, and pynotebook for 
the project, or what? or is it more tied to ipython and should start there?

i guess those were the main things on top of my mind. and yes for those 
who are wondering -- i received a confirmation message from Google last 
saturday and was .. and am really happy about it :) .. in case someone's 
curious my application was http://an.org/programming/ipynote.html


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