[AstroPy] specutils, pyspeckit, etc.

Wolfgang Kerzendorf wkerzendorf@gmail....
Fri Jun 21 15:13:24 CDT 2013

On 2013-06-21, at 3:22 PM, Adam <keflavich@gmail.com> wrote:

>>> Also, pyspeckit's frontend is matplotlib-only, which is slow but
>>> compatible with everything.  Because it's matplotlib-only, and
>>> matplotlib doesn't have a ton of GUI features (more than you'd think,
>>> fewer than you need), the GUI side is very IRAF-splot-like.
>> I like this approach very much as a starter. Something that gets interactive functionality going quickly, and it is very portable. It's not the equivalent of a good GUI I know, but it's achievable more easily and avoids a lot of installation issues.
> Matplotlib also lends itself to easy tests of interactivity, e.g.:
> https://github.com/pyspeckit/pyspeckit-tests/blob/master/simple_fit_interactive.py
> Basically, you can mimic any mouse event and let the "Event Manager" parse it.
Matthew Turk this morning pointed to an email about the future of the IPython web-gui and that it's gonna be another half a year or so. However, I think after everything what I've seen from Perez et al. it's always worth the wait. And maybe in the meantime we could just build really quick and simple GUIs using the (somewhat limited) matplotlib gui elements if needed (http://mail.scipy.org/pipermail/ipython-dev/2013-June/011764.html). 

>> Which got me thinking a bit. Someone (I forgot who) mentioned that the emails were likely being done in a GUI (and this one certainly is). But it's GUI used by millions of people, and has very substantial developer effort behind it. Arguably it's much simpler than what is needed for spectral analysis and visualization. So what widely used GUI data visualization/analysis applications (let's say non-web for the moment) in astronomy have stood the test of time? I.e., those used only by astronomers. Certainly DS9. (Perhaps imexamine and splot, though those are more like the simpler approach above rather than what we consider GUI's). Aladin? TOPCAT. There are a number of VO-related tools that are GUI's but I'm not sure how heavily they are used. What is people's views of these?
> ds9 is the only astronomy GUI I used 8 years ago that I *willingly*
> use now.  I'd definitely like to hear others' takes on this.  If we
> want general community feedback, perhaps an astrobetter post asking
> for community feedback about what they like/dislike about astronomy
> GUIs would be appropriate?
I love ds9 as it allows me to quickly look at any array I want. It's fast and basically runs on anything. With pyds9 it's trivial to shoot across any ndarray and I have it used often to look at matrices or other mathematical structures and not only images. It doesn't look the greatest, but I agree fully with Adam that it's a really nice tool. The region and wcs features are great. I'm not saying it couldn't use a little bit of a UI overhaul, but I think most of it is great. 

I think we should reach out to them a little bit and try to get them up to date with the astropy developments. 


P.S.: I think this discussion should migrate to astropy-dev.

>> I ask since I wonder if there is a consensus of what are successful astronomy GUI's and what we can learn from them.
>> But it also sure seems that there is a very strong movement towards using browsers as the GUI platform and that is where most tools will be headed. With IPython providing a Python/browser connection, I wonder if soon we won't be able to use it for GUIs as well.
> I really hope the push @mdboom has been making to incorporate mpl &
> the browser allow us to use a js frontend for all of our needs.
> https://github.com/matplotlib/matplotlib/pull/2054
> http://jakevdp.github.io/blog/2013/06/01/ipython-notebook-javascript-python-communication/
> (both those links were already posted but they deserve even more attention)
> -- 
> Adam
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> AstroPy@scipy.org
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