[SciPy-User] Pylab - standard packages

Thomas Kluyver takowl@gmail....
Sat Sep 22 04:56:19 CDT 2012

On 22 September 2012 02:17, Almar Klein <a.klein@science-applied.nl> wrote:
> Trying to get at the subtleties...  so what if IPython with notebook
> feature* is a part of the base. So that every user with a pylab-compliant
> distro can fire up a notebook. But, distros can (and will) ship additionally
> an IDE (like IEP or Spyder) that does *not* have IPython or a notebook-like
> interface, but these interfaces are still considered Pylab-compliant. That
> does sound reasonable?

I think this - roughly - has been my position all along. Whatever
interface we mandate merely has to be included: distributions don't
have to make it the only interface, or even the primary interface.
Python(x,y) can keep promoting Spyder, and your own Pyzo can promote
IEP. But Pylab tutorials will naturally be written for whatever
interface is common to all distributions, whether that's a notebook or

A minor quibble over semantics: as I envisage it, it is a distribution
that is Pylab compliant or not, not an interface. Within Pyzo, for
instance, IEP can be an interface to Pylab, but it would not be a
'Pylab interface', because it's not part of the spec. Similarly for
Spyder, IdleX or Reinteract. Even the >>> shell is an interface to
Pylab if you can import the necessary packages.

Fernando: I can see where you're coming from with standardising a
document format and protocol. I think you are making some headway with
convincing the sceptics, so do keep that discussion going. But the
notebook is still young, and only beginning to settle down: notebooks
saved in 0.13 can't be opened in 0.12, which is the version in the
most recent Ubuntu release. So if the community feels it's not quite
ready yet, I think it's something we'll definitely revisit in a future
revision of the spec.

Andrew: Thanks for the info about h5py. As I don't use HDF5 myself,
can someone describe, as impartially as possible, the differences
between PyTables and h5py: how do the APIs differ, any speed
difference, how well known are they, what do they depend on, and what
depends on them (e.g. I think pandas can use PyTables?). If it's
sensible to include both, we can do so, but I'd like to get a feel for
what they each are.


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