[SciPy-User] A unified face for the scipy ecosystem

Travis Oliphant travis@continuum...
Wed Aug 29 17:40:53 CDT 2012


This is closely related to the idea of "sciome" that we have been discussing on the numfocus mailing list for a few months:  https://groups.google.com/group/numfocus/browse_frm/month/2012-05?pli=1

I agree that such an entry point is needed to assist new-comers.   The idea of sciome was to have a meta-package that was basically a "tagging" of the various individual projects and a single web-site and a place to have documentation links to the various sub-projects, etc.    

Fernando Perez also suggested common help searching tools, etc. that would make sciome a single concept.   The name is not fixed in stone, of course, but it does have a nice ring to it IMHO. 

Best, 

-Travis



On Aug 29, 2012, at 4:20 PM, Thomas Kluyver wrote:

> Hi all,
> 
> Almar Klein and I floated this idea at Euroscipy this year, to some
> positive feedback. I'm posting it here to get some more opinions.
> 
> We think it's a problem for newcomers that there isn't a clear
> starting point with the scipy ecosystem. We all understand that tools
> like numpy and matplotlib are critical for our field, but a newcomer
> searching for 'Python' will have to install these things separately.
> The conferences are called 'scipy', and scipy.org has some ambition to
> be a general portal for scientific computing in Python, but the name
> is confounded by the scipy package, and the downloads page is for
> packages, not complete distributions. Pylab is even more confusing.
> EPD and Python(x,y) are more helpful, but code is often not specific
> to those distributions.
> 
> This is in contrast to systems like R and Matlab, where searching for
> the most obvious name turns up a complete system that's ready for
> scientific work.
> 
> So what we propose comes in three parts:
> 
> - A standard: like Linux Standard Base, it would specify minimum
> versions of packages for any distribution that wanted to advertise its
> compliance. I envisage it would include Python itself, numpy, scipy
> and matplotlib, but the exact list is open to debate.
> - A name: something that we would all use to refer to the core
> packages, regardless of how we installed them. If we don't use the
> name, newcomers won't search for it. I'm terrible with names, but
> Almar has proposed: scipy-base, unipy, pyengine, pycraft. Personally,
> I'd lean towards an abstract name without 'py'. Your suggestions are
> welcome!
> - A website: The first thing newcomers will see when searching for the
> name. It will describe the set of packages, and how to get them
> installed (probably giving precedence to inclusive Python
> distributions, but with instructions for separate installation as
> well). It will also link in to relevant documentation and example
> code, and it could have curated lists of packages for specific topics.
> 
> It's important that this doesn't obscure the identity of the
> individual packages; the aim is not to stop anyone getting the credit
> they deserve. But I know we do often work closely together - getting
> involved with IPython, I've seen that clearly - and I think we sell
> ourselves short by not presenting a single face.
> 
> Another important question is whether the standard should include a
> coding interface - the Matlab built-in IDE is touted as an advantage
> of that platform, for instance. As an IPython developer, I'm keen to
> see IPython included, but then I know there are other intriguing
> solutions, such as Spyder and IEP.
> 
> We'd love to hear what you think, whether you're an experienced
> developer, a beginner with scientific Python, someone trying to
> introduce others to Python, or indeed anyone else with an interest in
> this.
> 
> Best wishes,
> Thomas
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