what would you like to see in a 2nd edition Nutshell?

Alex Martelli aleaxit at yahoo.com
Wed Dec 29 23:31:40 CET 2004

Fernando Perez <fperez528 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Alex Martelli wrote:
> > the coverage of Twisted and adding just a few things (numarray --
> > perhaps premature to have it _instead_ of Numeric, though; dateutils,
> You might want to keep in touch with the scipy/numarray gang on this
> particular topic.  An effort is currently under way to make scipy work
> with numarray, and matplotlib already works with numarray out of the box.
> These two facts will, I think, greatly accelerate the adoption of numarray
> and the transition away from Numeric.  There are a few people (like me,
> unfortunately), who can simply not use numarray because of the small array
> instatiation overhead.  But that subcommunity tends to know enough to be
> able to deal with the problems by itself.  Since numarray is indeed the
> long-term array core for Python, I think the book would be better off by
> covering it.  Numarray is actively developed, and vastly better documented
> than Numeric.

Well, I _am_ going to cover or at least "mention" numarray -- my
question was on whether I can _drop_ Numeric in favour of numarray.  In
good part _because_ numarray has good docs, it may be less crucial for
me to cover it thoroughly, than I felt it was for Numeric.  Three years
ago, numarray was barely a blip on the radar, if that; three years from
now, the same may be true of Numeric; but right now, I get some sense
that we're "in transition" -- that numarray needs and deserves coverage
or at least extended mention, BUT nevertheless it might be premature to
drop the coverage of Numeric...

> A mention of the particular problems with numarray might be a good idea, so
> that readers are aware of Numeric and where it may still be preferable to
> numarray, but with the understanding that it's a (shrinking) niche.  Hopefully
> one day that niche will shrink to zero, but that is going to take time and
> work.

Right -- and if I can get the 2nd ed of the Nutshell out within 2005, it
may be too early to say that Numeric has shrunk to the vanishing
point... so I may still need to have both in...

> Finally, I think in this section a mention of the overall scipy project would
> be a good idea.  Scipy is the central meeting point for most scientific
> computing projects in python, and therefore a natural reference for most users
> of numarray/numeric.  Amongst other useful things at the scipy site, there's a
> community maintained wiki of links to python-based projects of scientific
> interest:
> http://www.scipy.org/wikis/topical_software/TopicalSoftware

Most definitely a good idea, thanks.  Indeed, the lack of mention of
scipy _is_ a wart in the 1st ed -- as my excuse I can only explain that
I was _so_ focused on being focused... I ended up excising even all
mentions of my own baby, gmpy...!-)  But yes, scipy _will_ most
definitely get a mention this time around -- thanks for reminding me!-)


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