[Numpy-discussion] matlab vs. python question

Pauli Virtanen pav@iki...
Thu Apr 26 02:47:02 CDT 2007

belinda thom kirjoitti:
> On Apr 25, 2007, at 12:46 PM, Bill Baxter wrote:
> Agree w/most of what you've said, but will add one other thing that  
> drives me nuts in python that hasn't been a problem in Matplotlib:
> In Python, if interacting w/the interpreter as your primary IDE, and  
> if you've got multiple files that depend on one another that you're  
> modifying, then you need to restart the interpreter frequently b/c  
> otherwise things in the interpreter can be stale; IOW, changes to  
> several interdependent files aren't easy to import so that everything  
> in your interpreted environment reflects the latest code. Yeah,  
> there's reload tricks, but doing them in the right order and the  
> right number of times can be a pain when dependencies are cyclic.
> I realize in general that this issue of stale code is just difficult,  
> that its not inherently a Python problem per se, for automatic  
> percolation of code changes backwards in time is difficult in  
> general, but I've never had the problem bite me when I was developing  
> in Matlab. I just save whatever file, and it appears that whatever's  
> latest on disk is what's executed. (Friends who know more about PL  
> than I tell me I've been lucky.)

I've been using the attached autoreload code (by Thomas Heller,
different versions are probably floating around the net) rather
successfully for a more Matlabish feel to IPython. It reloads modules
every time their files have been changed.

Of course, this doesn't solve all staleness problems you describe, but
only eliminates manual work involved in solving the most common ones.
Reloading modules does have pitfalls [1], but at least in my use these
haven't really mattered much in practice.

I think having autoreload functionality bundled with IPython (maybe
turned off per default) would be quite useful: although in some rare
cases autoreloading doesn't work in the ideal way, it's very convenient
not to have to type reload(foo) after every change, especially when
tweaking for example plotting scripts.


[1] For example, instances of classes created are not updated on reload,
but continue using the old code. Also, from foo import * imports are not
updated, so you'll have to manually touch files that do this if 'foo'
has been changed.
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