IPython

First off, I have always been using IPython as my terminal, but I didn't realize it can clean things up and allow you to have a "graphical terminal."  Here's an example:

It's the same IPython terminal I have been used to, but a little bit nicer with an inline graphics window.  Here is an even more interested possibility -- a Mathmatica style notebook:

That's right, it's just a standard browser window that interactively talked to a python process running in the background.  It even let's you use LaTeX style equation markup.  This makes for a very nice way to create a report out of sample calculations.  The IPython talk goes so far as to say you have have multiple people connected to the same background process.

So does it look interesting enough to trudge through the install?  I'm installing on a Windows 7 64 bit machine.  However, I'm using Python 2.7 32 bit version.  I briefly tried getting 64 bit version of everything working, but I didn't have a whole lot of luck finding 64 bit versions of everything.  First, I assume you have Python 2.7 installed and it is in c:\Python27:

  1. Several of IPython's dependencies are best installed with easy_install (which isn't so easy in my opinion!)  To install easy_install, goto here.  I downloaded and installed the Python 2.7 win32 version
  2. Install IPython.  To do this, get to a command prompt and type c:\python27\scripts\easy_install ipython. I had all sorts of problems with easy_install. It was opening in another window for a while. I eventually got it to work by manually deleting the egg file and re-installing.  At this point you can invoke an IPython terminal by typing: c:\python27\scripts\ipython This is how I've been using it for years!  Little did I know that there was anything more to the package, which I tend to blame on a poorly laid out IPython website.
  3. To get the other parts of IPython working, it is necessary to install a few other dependencies.  PyZMQ is one.  I got hung up figuring out how to get it installed.  The trick for me was to first goto the ww.zeromq.org website and download this installer.  Here I went with the 64 bit, and it seemed to work.
  4. Then, after the zeromq installed, I was able to use easy_install to install pyzmq.  c:\python27\scripts\easy_install pyzmq .
  5. Goto PyQt website and download windows installation binary.  Here I had to use the x86 binary.  Trial and error -- perhaps someone can explain this to us?  Please let me know!
  6. Tornado c:\python27\scripts\easy_install tornado 

I think that pretty much covers everything from an installation standpoint.  Now, how do you run all of this?

To run the 'qtconsole': c:\python27\scripts\ipython qtconsole --pylab inline This is how I generated the first screen shot above.

c:\python27\scripts\ipython notebook --pylab inline this automatically starts a browser window an the rest is pretty self explainatory. The --pylab option has the same old meaning and the 'inline' option forces the graphics to be inline -- either within the browser window or within the qtconsole.

I haven't played much with the qtconsole and notebook options, but they look like they might come in handy for various different tasks.

Good luck!