[Python-ideas] Should iPython Notebook replace Idle

Terry Reedy tjreedy at udel.edu
Mon Jul 6 02:29:45 CEST 2015

On 7/5/2015 6:54 PM, Gregory P. Smith wrote:

> The only reason anyone uses IDLE is that they found
> it as one of the included batteries (sometimes referred to by tutorials)
> and misinterpret that to think that it is good. It works, but it is
> mostly no frills with some annoying limitations (see the bug tracker). I
> doubt you'll find any core developers using IDLE to get work done.
>   [this is where someone will pipe up and respond "hey!"]

Is that an invitation?  It is true that I started using Idle because it 
came with CPython, and kept using it because it is much, much, much 
better than using Notepad + python.exe in Windows Command Prompt, and 
now because it has some 'frills' that I, as a Python-only programmer, 
consider essention.  Two main ones are:

1. Running a file from an editor
a. with one button press
b. with immediate syntax check (without starting external process)
c. with minimal startup time (inviting repeated testing)
d. in -i mode (allowing post-run experiments)
e. in a shell that understands tracebacks enough to parse out file and 
line information, open the file, and jump to the line (rt click in Idle).

2. Grep (Find in Files) that runs from the editor
a. defaulting to the directory of the file being edited
b. putting output in another edit window
c. with ability to easily open the file and jump to the line of hits.

Shell and editor aside, it has occurred to be that it would be nice to 
have a tutorial-notebook-interactive-doc system of some sort that runs 
on tkinter and comes with the stdlib.  Thinking about it more, I believe 
that something basic that alternated between canned text, pre-written 
code, and a live prompt, could be added to the Idle Shell.

Terry Jan Reedy

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