[IPython-dev] Thoughts on the notebook format for version control

Satrajit Ghosh satra at mit.edu
Sun Nov 6 00:12:07 EDT 2011

just adding a few more random thoughts on the pile.

1. perhaps we can take a few things from gist.github.com. essentially i see
the notebook and a gist as being conceptually quite similar (gist files ==
 notebook cells). and they seem to do a pretty good job with version
control there. i also very much like the list of revisions available. it's
not a separate thing.

2.  the notebook is a webapp. from a user perspective, the vcs integration
should happen at the app level, not a secondary commit at the underlying
directory/file level by the user.

3. i routinely save my notebook as a pdf to share output with folks or as a
reminder to myself. primarily because in most cases, my notebook relies on
data that only i have and only certain components would be useful to
somebody as a pure nb. that's my way of preserving output because rerunning
something like a permutation test is never going to return an exact answer
(unless i set the random number generator state to be fixed). i.e. outputs
themselves are separate snapshots of a notebook.

4. future: as notebooks might evolve to chapters and sections, the idea of
structured version control makes quite a bit of sense. not to mention
variants and derivatives of a given notebook (which something like git
should handle very well).



ps. [feature requests] i use the notebook routinely and there are lots of
things i'd like to see. is there already a notebook feature request page?
(e.g. clone my current -not necessarily saved- cells to a new nb)
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