[IPython-dev] using the notebook for teaching?

Brian Granger ellisonbg at gmail.com
Wed Dec 5 19:32:14 EST 2012


Glad you hear you are thinking about using the notebook in this
capacity.  We think it is a great tool for teaching.  You ask good
questions about the stability of the notebook format, but I will reply
to Thomas as well...

> 0.13 can indeed open v2 notebooks, although it only saves in v3, so it's not
> practical to use 0.12 and 0.13 together. But we intend to keep compatibility
> for much longer now - the v3 format was designed to allow much more
> extension without breaking the ability of 0.13 to read it. This came up in
> the discussion around standardising the Scipy stack as well. There we said
> that if we have to break compatibility again, we will need to have an
> overlap period where IPython can read the new format, but still saves in the
> old format by default.

I don't recall this discussion about the notebook format and am
unaware that we made any such promise.  Do you have a link to the
discussion?  I neither oppose nor approve of the decision (I haven't
thought enough about it) at this point, I am just unaware of it and
want to learn more.

> Obviously the notebook is still quite young and rapidly developing, but we
> see the format break from 0.12 to 0.13 as the exception, not the rule. If
> you decide to use it, make sure everyone starts with at least 0.13.

Yes.  Right now, the notebook format is quite stable.  But the reason
we created notebook format versions in the first place is to enable
the version to change.  While we want to avoid incrementing the
version, it will happen.  But I want to emphasize that at this point,
we have no plans of incrementing the version any time soon.  In fact,
I am not aware of any feature being discussed that would require such
changing the format.



> That's great news about the scientific computing curriculum. Good luck with
> training more people in Python!
> Best wishes,
> Thomas
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> IPython-dev at scipy.org
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Brian E. Granger
Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo
bgranger at calpoly.edu and ellisonbg at gmail.com

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