[IPython-dev] Nbparameterise: simple forms for notebook input

Thomas Kluyver takowl at gmail.com
Fri Oct 10 14:02:02 EDT 2014

Thanks Ian - conda-launch was one of a few projects that prompted me to
work on this. In particular, great though conda is, I don't think creating
forms and executing notebooks should be tied to a particular packaging

Looking through the description of conda-launch, I think what I want to
think about most is the different ways of describing the input parameters.
Conda-launch uses JSON metadata that is potentially more flexible, but very
distinct from the normal workflow of writing a notebook. Nbparameterise
currently looks for an initial "definitions cell", which is less
extensible, but very natural for the notebook author. Part of me wants to
generalise nbparameterise to handle all possible ways of describing inputs,
but another part of me wants to hammer out a common way of doing this, so
notebook authors don't have to learn different things for different
systems. I'll keep thinking about it.

Best wishes,

On 9 October 2014 18:58, Ian Stokes-Rees <ijstokes at alumni.uwaterloo.ca>

>  FWIW, We (at Continuum) have done some work on something similar, loosely
> tied to conda:
> https://github.com/conda/conda-launch
> It supports 3 modes:
> 1. CLI invocation of a notebook
> 2. auto-generated web-form of a notebook
> 3. RESTful API with URL (GET) or POST-encoded arguments
> It doesn't require any customization of IPython, and the parameterization
> can either be in the notebook meta-data, or "inline" if the last cell is a
> "raw" cell with the appropriate JSON.
> The parameterization meta-data can also include a set of dependencies, in
> which case a custom conda-environment will be created in which the notebook
> will be run.  The goal is to be able to generate notebook output (HTML,
> data file, figures, return specific serialized references) with no retained
> state or persisted processes, basically a notebook-based CGI python script.
> It runs reasonably well right now, but the input form styling is pants (my
> CSS skills stink!).
> I haven't had time to read the thread on nbparameterize, but look forward
> to exploring it next week.  Perhaps the two efforts can be merged.
> Regards,
> Ian
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