[SciPy-User] peer review of scientific software

Jason Grout jason-sage@creativetrax....
Mon Jun 3 08:20:51 CDT 2013

On 6/2/13 1:47 AM, Matthew Brett wrote:
> The person who is trying to do work in Excel, that should be done in a
> programming language, needed that training.

I'm not sure where in the discussion I should post this, but I wanted to 
make a comment about the prevalence and power of tools like Excel that I 
just realized.  I've been watching Brett Victor's videos recently, and I 
just realized that a spreadsheet, with its initial orientation to 
concrete data, does a good job of implementing his "ladder of 
abstraction" [1].  You first work with concrete data, then you 
parametrize the results (e.g., write formulas for the cells), etc.  With 
programming, we need to basically come up with the abstraction right 
away, which is more difficult.  It seems like there is a good tool in 
the middle ground there that would basically be a spreadsheet that 
writes your python program for you, letting you play with the data 
interactively, but the parametrization of your operations writes the 
python code.

Anyways, some thoughts.  I realize there are some stats packages that 
basically do this (write a script as you click through a gui).



[1] http://worrydream.com/#!/LadderOfAbstraction; another very 
interesting Bret Victor video is: 

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