[IPython-User] View rendered reStructuredText (Sphinx) docstrings in iPython?

Thomas Kluyver takowl@gmail....
Thu Jan 26 10:06:01 CST 2012

Hi Jon,

So, there's different bits of IPython. In the terminal, we're quite limited
in what we can do - most modern terminals let us change the colour of text,
or make it slightly bold. It would be possible to do some rendering of reST
here (e.g. convert *emphasis* to bold text), but it's very limited;
especially with links (which I think are the most disruptive thing for
reading raw reST), you can't hide the URL.

In the Qt console and now the HTML notebook, the situation is much better -
you could render the reST to HTML for the frontend to display.

A command like zip? is translated to get_ipython().magic(u'pinfo zip') ,
which calls the magic_pinfo function:

That in turn calls shell.inspect.pinfo, which is here:

I think probably the best approach would be to make an extension (
http://ipython.org/ipython-doc/stable/config/extensions/index.html ), which
would subclass Inspector, overriding the pinfo method with one that
produced an HTML result to send to the frontend.

Best wishes,

On 25 January 2012 16:56, Maccarthy, Jonathan K <jkmacc@lanl.gov> wrote:

> Hello,
> Does anyone know if it's possible to have iPython render reStructuredText
> (i.e. Sphinx) docstrings when you type 'help foo', or 'foo?'  ?  I'm
> finding that many projects are moving to Sphinx documentation, which makes
> their docstrings harder to read on the fly (unpythonic?).  <rant> Needing a
> browser to view the docs seems to miss the point of docstrings. </rant>
>  Does iPython have this functionality somewhere?  If not, perhaps any devs
> could suggest where in the iPython source it would go (if this is even
> feasible)?
> Thanks in advance,
> Jon
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