Should iPython Notebook replace Idle

Jason Swails jason.swails at
Sat Jul 4 05:15:06 CEST 2015

On Fri, Jul 3, 2015 at 10:01 PM, Sayth Renshaw <flebber.crue at>

> In future releases of Python should ipython Notebooks replace idle as the
> default tool for new users to learn python?

> This would as I see it have many benefits?
> 1. A nicer more usual web interface for new users.
> 2. Would allow the python documentation and tutorials to be distributed as
> ipython notebooks which would allow new users to play and interact with the
> tutorials as they proceed. No download separate code retyping just edit run
> and play.
> 3. Would allow teachers to setup notebooks knowing that all users have the
> same default environment, no need for setting up virtualenvs etc.
> 4. Strengthen the learning base and for new python developers as a whole.
> Thoughts?

IPython and IDLE are different.  IPython is *just* an interactive Python
interpreter with a ton of tweaks and enhancements.  IDLE, by contrast, is
both an upscale interpreter (not *nearly* as feature-complete as IPython),
but it's also an IDE.  AFAICT, IPython does not do this.

Also, look at the IPython dependencies for its core functionalities:

- jinja2
- sphinx
- pyzmq
- pygments
- tornado
- PyQt | PySide

None of these are part of the Python standard library.  By contrast, IDLE
is built entirely with stdlib components (tkinter for the GUI).  AFAIK,
nothing in the stdlib depends on anything outside of it.  And addition to
the Python stdlib imposes some pretty serious restrictions on a library.
If the IPython team agreed to release their tools with the stdlib instead
of IDLE, they'd have to give up a lot of control over their project:

- License
- Release schedule
- Development environment

Everything gets swallowed into Python.  I can't imagine this ever happening.

All the best,
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