[IPython-dev] Re: notebook composition UI thoughts

Michael Tobis mtobis at gmail.com
Fri Jul 8 18:12:32 EDT 2005

On 7/6/05, Robert Kern <rkern at ucsd.edu> wrote:
> The current document model has two separate sections: a log and a sheet.
> The log contains all of the text from the In[NN] and Out[NN] prompts and
> other information. Each element is tagged with the number NN. The sheet
> contains the rich text that you write and references to those elements
> in the log. The sheet can contain any, all, or none of the elements in
> the log in any order and with any number of repetitions.

If I understand you correctly, then the plan does NOT adequately
address my concerns with the Mathematica approach, concerns which I
believe Hans acknowledged.

A second notebook with the same visible inputs in the same order as a
first notebook should, in my opinion, be required to yield the same
results in both cases.

If the sequence of operations is set in a log file normally invisible
to the user, then, as in Mathematica, two notebooks can have the same
sequence of inputs and different sequences of outputs.

This will tend to frustrate and drive away a developer of serious
content for the medium. Invisible statements and invisible or at least
unemphasized changes in the sequence of operations will cause the
notebook to fail to behave in the way that the content developer wants
or naturally expects.

>  When executed,
> the notebook will only consider the elements in the log in order. The
> formatting of the sheet is irrelevant to execution.

If I understand you correctly, then you are replacing Mathematica's
inconsistency with a method that is simple, consistent, and wrong.
> At the moment, we are focusing on creating an interactive environment,
> not a code development environment. 

I find this distinction not especially helpful. I am using an editor
to construct a document to tell a computer what to do. How is this not
code development?

Sorry to be so strong about this, but I hate to see this unfortunate
road traveled again.

Michael Tobis

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