[IPython-dev] Integrating pandas into pylab

Thomas Kluyver takowl at gmail.com
Wed Oct 26 06:10:00 EDT 2011

I think I pretty much agree with what you're saying, vis-a-vis it being a
standalone project, with good documentation, bringing in a wide range of
names from different packages.

I don't think it's a problem, though, to bring in something like pandas that
isn't yet so widely used. It's a classic newcomer trap: you know you need
this 'table' functionality (especially if you've used R, where it's built
in), but how do you search for it? I spent a few months using my own (crap)
implementation before I discovered other people had already done it much
better. To my mind, this functionality just needs to be there, and if
there's not yet a standard package to do it, we should pick the best
available and promote it as the new standard.

I'll get in touch with the matplotlib guys, and look at setting up a
repository for standalone pylab.


> * It should be removed from matplotlib.
> * The --pylab flag in IPython should do a "from pylab import *"
> * The community should create documentation for pylab that should i)
> be in addition to the existing documentation ii) focused on new users
> and iii) refer to the existing docs for further details.  The last
> thing we want is for users to have to try to figure out that
> pylab.ndarray is actually numpy.ndarray and then look the docs up for
> that.
> * The documentation should be created in a manner that will allow us
> to create IPython notebooks for each function/class that documents its
> usage and shows examples.  With the upcoming ReST cells in the IPython
> notebook this should not be difficult.
> * IPython should have an integrated, pretty and searchable way for
> users to browse the pylab documentation.  Mathematica's documentation
> is a worthy target in this respect.
> * The pylab namespace should be big.  It should include basically
> everything you get in Mathematica or Matlab.  The only thing we would
> have trouble including would be sympy, as it defines symbolic versions
> of many of the functions in numpy.  I don't see a way around that
> unless we wrote functions that were smart that could call numpy or
> sympy's version by inspecting their inputs.  But sympy is a very large
> project so I would probably vote to keep sympy out of the pylab
> namespace and have pylab focus on numerical rather than symbolic
> things.
> * At least starting out, pylab should focus only on
> numpy/scipy/matplotlib and over time should only include tools that
> are used community wide and recognized as "standard"  While I love
> Pandas, I don't think it has risen to that level yet.
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