[IPython-User] ipython notebook server experience

Matthias BUSSONNIER bussonniermatthias@gmail....
Wed Jul 11 10:36:05 CDT 2012

Le 11 juil. 2012 à 16:08, Skipper Seabold a écrit :

> Hi,
> I had my first experience using the IPython notebook server in a
> classroom setting this week. The students mostly liked it, but I'm
> afraid they were mostly Python novices and I may have learned more
> than they did. In any case, I'm hooked and see many possibilities.
> Great work.

Thanks for your kind words and your feedback.

> I'm curious about a couple of things. Is the same notebook intended to
> be run by multiple users connected to the same server?

We plan on having simultaneous user being able to edit the same notebook at the same time, 
probably with a per-cell lock.

> Would it make sense to have an option for copy-on-open that could be set in global
> settings with the default to the current behavior?

I don't really see the reason why, or not enough people will have the use of it. 
In the end we might allow to create a new notebook from an URL, otherwise, 
you just have to open a notebook and create a copy from the file menu.

> Relatedly and i don't know if this make sense, but is it possible to have these copied
> notebooks not show up in the directory ?
> Ie., I have a set of examples
> that can serve as templates, but no one is interested in seeing the
> copies of others or new files created by others in the list.

All this is related to multiuser capability, but in your case (and generally with multi user), you wish to have 
user isolated in their home. Which is not the case right now. 
Trying to get around with invisible files and so on is IMHO the wrong way to solve
a bigger problem of multi-user on the same *server*. If you really want copy on write 
notebooks, it might be doable later when we'll have the possibly of choosing a backend to store
the notebooks (PR in Progress), but I doubt this particular backend will be implemented by us.

You might want to have a look at nbcloud[1], which run the IPython notebook an amazon EC2.
With this each of your student will have its own notebook instance in its own Vm in the cloud.
You could provide a small first notebook that download more notebooks in the current directory if needed.

> I also saw fairly poor performance due to our server. I currently only
> have two virtual processors allocated on this machine. I'm curious
> what others have found to be satisfactory for notebook servers (or
> similar endeavors) with say 10-30 concurrent users. I can request more
> resources.

As the notebook run as a particular user and there is non privileges separation, I doubt you'll find 
30 person sharing the same account.
As for your resources problem, amazon EC2 is free for the first hundreds of hour I think[2], so your student can 
each get an account and could mess around without impacting others performances.

> The last thing I noticed is that the Clusters tab seemed to start and
> assign processes on its own. At least none of the students owned up to
> setting 100 processes and clicking start. Expected? Ghost in the
> machine? Or sneaky student?

We never had any issues report on this,
and the code is pretty strait forward,
so my guess is the second one.

Also, in my opinion, it would be great to have the first impressions from your students. 
Things that might look obvious from our point of view might not make sense at all to new user.
So don't hesitate if you have more feedback.

Thanks again.

[1] nbcloud : https://notebookcloud.appspot.com/login
[2] EC2 free : http://aws.amazon.com/fr/ec2/#pricing
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