[IPython-dev] Re: questions about the notebook interface

John Hunter jdhunter at ace.bsd.uchicago.edu
Mon Jun 27 23:18:53 EDT 2005

>>>>> "Robert" == Robert Kern <rkern at ucsd.edu> writes:

    Robert> And now that I've convinced you that all I'm off my
    Robert> rocker, I'll also add that XML might actually be a
    Robert> reasonable choice for the meta-format of the notebook
    Robert> file. But since that choice assumes that you've agreed

What are the advantages of XML over python as a document format?
Typically people point to extensibility, parsability and widespread
utilization.  Python is clearly extensible and widely utilized; with
access to the interpreter's internal AST representation you also have
built-in access to the parse tree if you need it.  Th idea is that
everyone writing python pretty much knows python and already has a
decent python editor and so can readily edit the notebook in their
favorite editor; the same is not true for python coders and an XML
format.  If pure python can offer most or all of what XML does as a
markup language, what do we gain by using XML?  "Say no to toy
languages" and all that.  [ Truth in advertising: I've never used the
python parser module so I can't really speak to how suitable it is in
this context ]

That is one of my arguments in favor of the "python-as-format" option.
There are a couple of others, but lest I embarrass myself by
disagreeing with Robert, I think it best if I collect my thoughts for
a while.


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