[IPython-dev] Starting to plan for 0.11 (this time for real)

Gael Varoquaux gael.varoquaux at normalesup.org
Sun Oct 31 05:00:24 EDT 2010

On Sat, Oct 30, 2010 at 03:47:29PM -0700, Fernando Perez wrote:
> > Progress made in 0.11 looks awesome. However, I am not sure what the net
> > gain is for an user. It seems to me that the core architecture is there,
> > but the end-user aspects are not finished.
> > [...]

> Yes, you missed the whole point, I'm afraid.

Fair enough, I should have thought about the Qt-based stuff :),
especially since I have been following it quite closely.

> 0.11 has major new *features* for end-users that are already very
> usable.  The Qt console isn't perfect, but it's very, very, very nice
> as an everyday working environment, and it has a massive amount of
> improvements for many use cases over the terminal-only one.  James'
> html client also offers remote collaboration and zero-install
> capabilities that we don't have anywhere else, and even as the
> architecture there is refined, that's already a big win for end users.
> [...]

My question just boils down to: is it worth giving this win to end users
while removing other things they already have? Should a '0.X' release
ever temporarily remove features that will come back later? As an
outsider from a project, I expect the feature set always to be
increasing, or to be simply features to be dropped.

> Most importantly, now there's a proper *architecture* for how the
> entire ipython machinery works across all modalities (one-process,
> multi-process interactive, parallel) that is well thought out *and*
> documented.  A data point that indicates that we probably got more
> things right than wrong was that I spent probably less than one hour
> explaining to James the messaging design, and without *ever* having
> done any ipython coding, in a couple of days he came back with a fully
> working html notebook. 

I agree with the progress. I can see the gain. It's great, but it seems
to be more of a developper point of view that an end user point of view.

> We've recently had Evan Patterson, Mark Voorhies and James Gao land
> into the IPython codebase and immediately make real contributions:
> this  is an indicator that for the first time ever, we have a codebase
> that can actually accept new participants without dragging them into
> the nightmare-inducing maze of object-oriented spaghetti we had
> before. [...]

Absolutely, I have been witnessing this and I can tangibly feel this
improvement. There has clearly been a shift in the project's dynamics
that is awesome. 

Anyhow, it won't impact me much, because at work we are stuck with really
old stuff (.8, I believe), and I myself already use the latest code from
git updated every once in a while. I am just wondering if, from the point
of view of the end user, it is not worth waiting another 6 months to have
things stabilize a bit more. Release an 'alpha', or 'technology preview'
might be a better message to give.

Now I am just going to shut up, and watch the fantastic progress that is
being made.


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