What are the limitations of IPython Notebook

The German Python forum

Post Wed Dec 10, 2014 10:29 am

Hello everybody,
Since I'm sick in bed at the moment, I have a little time to surf the Internet

A long time ago I stumbled across the IPython notebooks and today I took a closer look at the whole thing, especially from the point of view of the possible uses in computer science lessons in upper school.
My previous "workflow" of preparing lessons and creating materials is limited to a static PDF script or worksheets that I create with LaTex. Here I use various packages to include source code, create structure diagrams and display program sequences in pseudocode. That works well so far. Unfortunately, it's static.

The interactive possibilities that IPython Notebooks provide are very appealing and the documentation and source code are no longer divided into different files. My ideal idea would be that I set up an IPython notebook server in the school's local network, store the teaching materials there and keep them up-to-date via git, for example. The students can then work on their PCs with the browser over it. BYOD would also be possible, for example. However, before I start the work to rearrange everything, I have a few more questions to which I have not yet found an answer:
  • I understood correctly that the server directory in which the notebook server is started is then released for the students and that virtually every student there would have to have their own directory with the files to be processed (or symlinks to the corresponding directories on the network drives). The independent creation of folders and files within the server directory is not possible via the web interface, or am I just too stupid to find it?
  • Has anyone already had experience with the performance? If let's say 30 students work at the same time and 2 of them produce an endless loop or use range instead of xrange? We have a terminal server, so I can always be careful and kill the processes by hand, otherwise everyone has an (un) wanted 5 minute break
  • It would be ideal if the notebook server could also be reached in the Internet, but for that I would need a dedicated server in the network, since a Python installation has to be running there, right? I would like to avoid being forwarded to the school network.
  • Are there any restrictions on the Python modules that I can't see? Running the Turtle inline would be nice, but not a must.
  • Personal assessment: How easy / difficult is the installation under Windows for laypeople? If I don't have a notebook server on the Internet, the students must also be able to read and edit the files at home. Alternatively, there is an export function from ipynb to py, so that a Python installation may also be sufficient.
  • Does anyone of you know RunestoneTools? What do you think? That goes in the same direction, but afterwards it will probably deliver static HTML and can also be published via github, a first attempt was successful.
I would appreciate your feedback! Maybe there are also tools that I haven't even seen before.