[SciPy-user] Re: [SciPy-dev] MCMC, Kalman Filtering, AI for SciPy?

Fernando Perez Fernando.Perez at colorado.edu
Tue Sep 28 13:49:30 CDT 2004

Travis Oliphant schrieb:
>>I don't think the library names should be mercilessly duplicated 
>>everywhere, but something like this can really help in a few places.  
>>Obviously, a good, searchable, cross-referenced documentation is a key 
>>part of the soultion to this problem, as you mention.
> As far as searching goes.  scipy.info started something like this a 
> while back.  The functionality was lost a bit when the delayed import 
> mechanism was used (but it could be modified to work). 
> The idea was that scipy.info(<string>) would start looking for <string> 
> in all the documentation it could find and then would print what it 
> found.   It still works on things that are in the namespace of scipy but 
> not subpackages.
> try
> scipy.info("fft")
> for example
> It is rudimentary, but shows an idea that could be pursued.

Very nice, and I think a useful tool to have.  Note however that somehow scipy 
messes up the plain python help system:

planck[python]> python
Python 2.3.3 (#1, May  7 2004, 10:31:40)
[GCC 3.3.3 20040412 (Red Hat Linux 3.3.3-7)] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
 >>> import scipy
 >>> help('for')
Traceback (most recent call last):
   File "<stdin>", line 1, in ?
   File "/usr/lib/python2.3/site.py", line 309, in __call__
     return pydoc.help(*args, **kwds)
   File "scipy_base/ppimport.py", line 381, in _scipy_pydoc_help_call
   File "scipy_base/ppimport.py", line 366, in _ppresolve_ignore_failure
   File "scipy_base/ppimport.py", line 335, in ppresolve
   File "scipy_base/ppimport.py", line 340, in ppresolve
   File "scipy_base/ppimport.py", line 202, in ppimport
   File "scipy_base/ppimport.py", line 273, in _ppimport_importer
ImportError: No module named for

Typing help('for') in a session where scipy has NOT been imported works 
correctly.  I think the info() functionality is great, but we should be 
careful not to break the default help() which normal python users may be used 
to already.

> We should also think about a help-browser system that could pop up (in a 
> different process I think), when the user enters a help command.
> This is what maple and matlab do effectively.

Well, I keep hearing about .chm files, so I went ahead and did a bit of 
testing on this front.  It turns out that in my yum config, gnochm is 
available as a one-step install for a CHM gnome-based reader for linux.  I 
then googled for a second and found this:


where a Python23.chm file is available with all the docs for python 2.3.  I 
opened that with gnochm and it worked really very well, with searching and 
good navigation.

So Linux users have these easy options for viewing this format:

http://gnochm.sourceforge.net/  (happens to be written in python :)
konqueror: yes, in KDE (works in 3.3), konqueror can read .chm files directly, 
though it doesn't support all the fancier search features of the others.

For Mac OSX, xchm apparently works, though it seems not to be finked yet.

I'm not exactly known for being a microsoft fan, but this is a case where I 
think using the CHM format is not a bad idea: enthougt already ships windows 
installers with chm files, it's actually a really convenient format for 
organizing documentation, and there's a good solution for every platform.  It 
would just be a matter of making the .chm bundle from the enthought edition 
available as a standalone package for all platforms, and I think the 
'graphical doc browser' problem is taken care of.

I hope it's clear that this is in _addition_ to the scipy.info() 
functionality, which I think is very useful on its own.

Just my $.02



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