[SciPy-user] SciPy '04 BoF: Making Python Attractive to General Scientists

Arnd Baecker arnd.baecker at web.de
Thu Sep 2 06:44:00 CDT 2004


On Mon, 30 Aug 2004, Joe Harrington wrote:

> Making Python Attractive to General Scientists
> BoF session at SciPy '04
>
> Joe Harrington, Cornell
> Perry Greenfield, STScI

[...]

> Please join us for a BoF on Thursday night.

Hi,

as I won't be able to come to SciPy '04, I would like to
add a few remarks on this:

python in general
 - syntax checker which does not run the code

Documentation:
  I think that for a package like Numeric/SciPy
  the documentation should also allow for mathematical
  formulae. I think that ReSt,
    http://docutils.sourceforge.net/rst.html
  would a good candidate.
  There is an experimental latex preprocessor,
  http://docutils.sourceforge.net/sandbox/cben/rolehack/README.html
  Maybe MathMl would be another option?
  Using a new command like `ghelp` a graphical
  output window could display all this nicely.

  More generally, a good help browser would be great
    (documancer, http://documancer.sourceforge.net/
     looks most promising and I use it a lot already now!)
  In particular, for scientific use the display
  of LaTeX formulae (or MathML ?) would be necessary.
  ((documancer uses wxMozilla, so it should be
    possible to do that).
    The above proposed `ghelp` could actually
    invoke documancer to display the help entry.))

    The maple/mathematica or matlab help seem to be
    pretty good examples for something like this.


  Specifically I think that
  - more extensive documentation is needed, IMHO.
    In particular, each command should have at _least_
    one example.
    Moreover, technical/algorithmical background
    information (with formulae)
    would be helpful.
  - There should be an easy way for user-contributed
    documentation and code-snippets
    (which will/could be integrated into scipy
    in an automatic (?) way)
    ((When trying out a command I tend to write a short
      example to test whether I understood the description
      correctly. If many users would contribute their
      mini-examples using a well-defined and simple procedure
      that could accumulate quite quickly ...))

Best,

Arnd


P.S.: and of course the `SciPyWorkBench',
  http://www.scipy.net/pipermail/ipython-user/2004-May/000298.html
might be one important thing to many users.



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