Monday, April 12, 2010

IPython Qt interface - GSoC 2010 Proposal


I will implement a Qt-based Graphical User Interface (GUI) to execute Python code with an interpreter that runs in a separate process and the two systems (GUI frontend and interpreter kernel) communicating via the ZeroMQ Messaging library. The bulk of the implementation will be done without dependencies on IPython (only on Zmq). Once the key features are ready, IPython-specific features can be added using the IPython codebase.


For a long time there has been demand for a graphical user interface for IPython, and the project already ships Wx-based prototypes thereof. But these run all code in a single process, making them extremely brittle, as a crash of the Python interpreter kills the entire user session. Here I propose to build a Qt-based GUI that will communicate with a separate process for the code execution, so that if the interpreter kernel dies, the frontend can continue to function after restarting a new kernel (and offering the user the option to re-execute all inputs, which the frontend can know).

This GUI will allow for the easy editing of multi-line input and the convenient re-editing of previous blocks of input, which can be displayed in a 2-d workspace instead of a line-driven one like today's IPython. This makes it much easier to incrementally build and tune a code, by combining the rapid feedback cycle of IPython with the ability to edit multiline code with good graphical support.

More info: (it's sometimes down)

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