[Numpy-discussion] Interactive Shell/Editor/Workspace(variables)View/Plots

Gael Varoquaux gael.varoquaux at normalesup.org
Mon Jun 8 17:15:52 EDT 2009

On Mon, Jun 08, 2009 at 12:54:25PM -0500, Travis Oliphant wrote:
>    You might take a look at EPDLab as well.   Thanks to Gael Varoquaux, It
>    integrates IPython into an Envisage application and has a crude name-space
>    browser

And it integrates with editra to have an editor where you can select
code, and run it in EPDLab, in addition to running the whole file. And we
claim that having the editor as a separate process is a feature: first we
can use a good editor (actually anyone, provided you write a plugin that
sends the code to be executed to EPDLab via sockets), second: if your
execution environement crashes (and yes, this can happen, especially if
you are running custom C code binded in Python), you don't loose your

Getting things right with the IPython shell was a bastard, and there is
still work to be done (although the latest release of IPython introduces
continuation lines ! Yay). On the other hand, you can add a lot of
features based on the existing code. And all the components are reusable
components, which means that you can build your own application with

I really cannot work on EPDLab anymore, I don't have time (thanks a lot
to Enthought for financing my work on such a thrilling project). I do
maintainance on the IPython wx frontend, because I am the person who
knows the code best (unfortunately), althought Laurent Dufrechou is
helping out. However, I strongly encourage people to contribute to
EPDLab. It is open source, in an open SVN. You can get check in rights if
you show that your contributions are of quality.

Enthought is a company, and has its own agenda. It needs to sell products
to consummers, so it might not be interesting in investing time where you
might (althought Enthought has proven more than once that they can invest
time on long-term projects, just because they believe they are good for
the future of scientific computing in Python). On the other hand, if you
are willing to devote time to add what you think lacks in EPDLab
(whatever it might be), _you_ can make a difference.

I believe in the future of EPDLab because it is based on very powerful
components, like IPython, Traits, matplotlib, Wx, Mayavi, Chaco. I
believe that choosing to work with a power stack like this has an upfront
cost: you need to make sure everything fits together. Last year I sent
micro-patches to matplotlib to make sure event-loops where correctly
detected. I spent more than a month working in the IPython code base. The
enthought guys fixed Traits bugs. This is costly and takes time. However,
this can get you far, very far.

All right, back to catching up with life :)


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