[IPython-dev] live coding

Fernando Perez fperez.net at gmail.com
Sat Jun 9 17:00:59 EDT 2012

On Mon, May 28, 2012 at 8:14 AM, Jason Grout
<jason-sage at creativetrax.com> wrote:
> This is an amazing vision of (among other things) live interactive coding:
> http://vimeo.com/36579366
> Bret Victor (who gave the above talk) "has designed experimental UI
> concepts at Apple, interactive data graphics for Al Gore, and musical
> instruments at Alesis." He shows several amazing demos of what coding
> could be like if it was really truly interactive.
> Some real-life implementations of some of these ideas are here:
> http://mainstem.org/ (click on an example, and then click any number or
> color in the code)
> http://gabrielflor.it/water (click on any number)
> I challenge us to think of ways to implement some of these principles in
> our tools.  I don't usually use the word transformative, but I think
> this really would be transformative in how we approach coding and the
> ipython or sage tools.

I see that you took your own advice seriously with your new canvas
experiments, impressive job!

In a sense this goes a bit along the lines of the contrast between
notebook-type environments like the ones ipython and sage use that
come from the mathematica lineage, vs. open-workspace approaches, of
which the oldest implementation I remember was MathCad (haven't used
it in ~10 years).

I have to say that for 'production work' I always hated mathcad and
vastly preferred mathematica (talking just about the canvas-vs-linear
notebook question, not about the language/libraries/mathematical
capabilities).  As a grad student in physics I had to teach
undergraduate labs taht used mathcad to construct the lab reports, and
I really never liked it too much, partly because it was clear that the
approach didn't really scale to more complex problems with large

But many people did like a lot the freedom and convenience of the
'click and plot' approach it offered, where you could just star typing
a few numbers anywhere on the page and get a plot right at that spot.

So there's definitely room for inspiration from those approaches.  I
have no idea what mathcad looks like these days, btw.



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