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

Satrajit Ghosh satra at mit.edu
Sun Nov 6 12:17:34 EST 2011

hi fernando,

I also don't want to lock anyone in the 'app' view of the
> world.  If anyone has notebooks that are part of an existing project
> with its own version control setup, then that's where the VC belongs,
> not in the notebook app.

fair enough. one should carefully consider if it's a file format that's
just for the notebook 'app' and a general file format that could be: a)
used throughout ipython (e.g., run/load blah.ipynb) and b) enable efficient

For that use case, the notebooks are just
> another type of file, next to python scripts, text files and anything
> else that may be part of that project.  There's no reason why users in
> that scenario should be forced to manage the notebooks differently
> from their other files in the project.

but users are forced to manage vc of notebooks differently in any of the
proposed scenarios.

1. one file (effectively binary)
if i put it under a vc, it's simply a revision control history. no easy way
to look at diffs beyond simple ones.

2. split (text + cache)
if i want exact reproducibility of loading i need to have both under
simultaneous version control. the chances of desynchronization are very
high. and this would definitely benefit from an app-integrated vc.

3. split (keep text only)
easy vc, but requires exact environment (data+libraries) for

i would vote for allowing any of the above through configurable options as
different people may have different use-cases.


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