[SciPy-dev] a modest proposal for technology previews

Benny Malengier benny.malengier@gmail....
Tue Nov 4 15:54:14 CST 2008

2008/11/4 Gael Varoquaux <gael.varoquaux@normalesup.org>

> On Tue, Nov 04, 2008 at 02:50:05PM -0600, Travis E. Oliphant wrote:
> > In other words, create a *single* scikit that is the equivalent of
> > scipy.preview.  What is the benefit of having it in scipy.preview?
> It gets built and shipped on people's boxes. Elsewhere, as I think Ryan
> was pointing out, a large fractions of users simply never get to see it
> and provide feedback.

As a user of scipy I can only say that although I use it for years, I have
no idea what is in it apart from the pieces I need (odes, weave).
If I need new functionality, I google/search for it, and if in scipy, then
great, if not, I'll start installing whatever I need, or code it up (the
spline part in scipy eg did not do it for me, and dae are missing).

The idea of scipy as a whole just does not come across, it is a collection
of pieces for scientific computing. If I need to install scikits for the
functionality I need, then so be it. I want to save time coding, so I'll
have researched before what is available anyway. Having a scikit will give
more reassurance to me though than some code on sourceforge, as the link to
numpy/scipy is clear.

The important part as a user is that if my code uses numpy arrays, I really
don't want to convert to another type of array just to use another library.
So given two more or less equal choices, it's clear which one would win.
scikits look just fine for this.

I don't follow this list for a long time, but the fact that one could view
scipy as a tool the user of it knows what it all contains sounds strange to
me, the tools are just not there to easily discover what scipy covers.

A small anacdote to end, I do a lot of line searches, coded my own because
linesearch in scipy.optimize is not what I need. I looks like
more than enough of what I needed, but to find this from a search on
google would be really hard. So more documentation for scipy and the scikits
looks like the main point to make scikits, and scipy, more visible.
Puttings things in a preview part will not do this in my opinion, working on
documentation and visibility on the web will, however it is then packaged.

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