[SciPy-dev] Technology Previews and Sphinx Docstring Annotations

Anne Archibald aarchiba@physics.mcgill...
Tue Nov 4 16:34:58 CST 2008

2008/11/4 Travis E. Oliphant <oliphant@enthought.com>:
> Jarrod Millman wrote:
>> I absolutely agree with the ideas presented about scikits and look
>> forward to seeing the numerous scikits improvements.  I feel that I
>> have gotten into a discussion where the counter argument to what I am
>> proposing is something I strongly support.  I also feel that the
>> counterargument doesn't directly address my concern; but it may be
>> that I am simply perceiving a problem that no one else believes
>> exists.
> Let me make my point again.   I'm arguing that instead of scipy.preview,
> let's just make a *single* scikit called scikit.preview or
> scikit.forscipy or scikit.future_scipy or whatever.    This will create
> some incentive to make scikits easier to install generally as we want to
> get the future_scipy out there being used.
> I'm very interested, though, to hear what developers of modules that
> they would like to see in SciPy but have not made it there yet, think.
> I'm very interested in the question of how do we make it easier to
> contribute to SciPy.

As a developer who has written the module that is sparking this
discussion, if the route to inclusion in scipy were "make a scikit,
maintain and distribute it until you get enough user feedback to judge
whether the API is optimal, then move it fully-formed into scipy" my
code would simply gather dust and never be included. I don't have the
time and energy to maintain a scikit.

If I were a user I wouldn't bother downloading and installing a scikit
in the six different computing environments I have used this week,
particularly since it uses compiled code (but no additional
dependencies). Why should I expect others to be different?

The question is really, how do we take tested, apparently
production-ready code, and get it out there so users can get at it?
The current approach is "put it in scipy and live with the API". One
proposal is, put it in scipy - which is still quite unstable, API-wise
- but marked as "new, will be stabilizing until the next release". The
other proposal is organize a community - nobody has volunteered to do
any actual work yet - to build, maintain, publicize and distribute
scikits so that they are as accessible as scipy itself.

Frankly, I think the effect of agreeing on the scikits proposal -
whatever its theoretical merits - will be to leave things at the
status quo, except possibly for a higher barrier to getting good code
into scipy: "put it in a scikit", we will say, and into a scikit it
will go (or not), where it will molder and rot, never to be included.

If people want to make the scikits option reasonable, I suggest,
instead of arguing on the mailing list, going out and getting things
set up so it really is easy to add packages. *Then* come back and tell
us how it's a better option than what we have now. In the meantime, we
can either go on with the approach we have - live with occasional API
breakage for new components of scipy - or spend an evening getting
scipy.preview set up.


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