[IPython-dev] (no subject)

Sjoerd de Vries sjdv1982 at gmail.com
Sat Jul 5 21:54:09 EDT 2014

Hi everyone,

First, my compliments to the developers of IPython, a wonderful program
that I feel is much underused.

In my field of science (protein modelling) it is mostly about large
software packages consisting of a cloud of command-line tools. This means
that everyone (myself included) uses just the bash shell for interactive
work. I consider this situation not ideal at all, and I think that IPython
has the potential to provide something much better.

However, command-line tool clouds are today's reality, and Python tools
(numpy, scipy, matplotlib) just live in another universe until they are
wrapped as a command-line tool. I feel that IPython needs to provide a
better Python <=> shell interface than it does now. In particular, I have
the following problems with it:

1. Python variable expansion within shell commands does not work
seamlessly, especially if the command-line tool expects a file or stream.
2. Awk one-liners are mostly broken when entered in IPython.
3. Alias magic is incompatible with shell execution. This means that "%ls"
is not the same as "!ls" (very confusing).
4. Shell execution also captures stderr

I don't like to give negative criticism, especially since I am fairly new
to IPython. So I have coded into IPython a possible solution that solves my
problems. Hopefully it will be useful to the community.

The code branch is at https://github.com/sjdv1982/ipython.git
A detailed proposal is at
All of the examples in the proposal are working with the code branch.


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