[IPython-dev] thoughts on the notebook, alternative front-ends and remote editing

Brian Granger ellisonbg at gmail.com
Wed Mar 4 10:35:01 EST 2015

The long running notebook issues are something we do plan on addressing.
Note, that when you disconnect a client, the notebook does keep running -
it just doesn't cache the output while the notebook is gone.

On Wed, Mar 4, 2015 at 5:57 AM, Damien Drix <damien.drix at gmail.com> wrote:

> The IPython notebook has changed the way I work. Literate programming,
> the merging of experiment scripts and experiment reports into a single
> document, and countless other productivity gains: tweaking matplotlib
> graphs interactively, easy parallelism, etc. It is quite awesome!
> Could it be improved? It certainly can. Here are the two points I find
> most prominent:
> - After one has gotten used to SublimeText & co, CodeMirror just hurts.
> - The notebook server has huge potential for remote work, but this
> potential is partly unexploitable because of some aspects of the
> client/server architecture.
> Let me explain the latter point. I have a fairly beefy desktop machine in
> my office, but I'm often working from other locations. I'd like to be
> able to open a notebook remotely on my laptop, edit it, start some long-
> running computations, close my laptop, go to lunch, and come back to it
> in the afternoon to see the results.
> Right now, it... kind of works. But the issue is that since the execution
> of cells is orchestrated by client-side javascript, at most one cell will
> be executed if I close the client. The results are there in the kernel
> namespace, but the outputs are lost -- integrating the outputs into the
> notebook is also done by client-side scripts. The client also loses track
> of which cells are still being executed.
> One solution would be to use X forwarding and keep the notebook client
> running on the desktop machine, but in my case the connection lag makes
> text editing quite unbearable. I prefer to connect to the notebook server
> from a local client process.
> Here is the solution I was thinking about:
> - A new frontend app where, instead of embedding a text editor into the
> notebook, the notebook itself is embedded into a text editor. A number of
> nice, open-source, SublimeText-class editors are already being developed:
> Atom, LimeText, LightTable, etc. LightTable has actually done some work
> on integrating the IPython kernel and displaying results inline. I
> imagine that it wouldn't be unreasonably hard to turn it into a full
> notebook client. As a bonus, no more juggling between two editors: use
> the same for the notebooks and for plain Python scripts!
> - Move the task of supervising cell execution and integrating the outputs
> into the notebook model from the client to the server, so that notebooks
> can keep running when the client disconnects.
> - Let the client app refresh its view of the notebook when it reconnects
> to the server, showing the new outputs and which cells are still running.
> Any thoughts on this? Is it all maybe already happening in the Jupyter
> project? ;-)
> Best,
> Damien
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Brian E. Granger
Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo
@ellisonbg on Twitter and GitHub
bgranger at calpoly.edu and ellisonbg at gmail.com
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