The advantages of a scientific IDE
Authors: Cordoba, Carlos, The Spyder Project
Track: Reproducible Science
The enormous progress made by the IPython project during the last two years, has made many of us --the Python scientific community-- think that we are quite close to provide an application that can rival the big two M's of the computing scientific world: Matlab and Mathematica.
However, after following the project on GitHub and its mailing list for almost the same time and specially after reading its roadmap for the next two years, we at Spyder believe that its real focus is different from that aim. IPython developers are working hard to build several powerful and flexible interfaces to evaluate and document code, but they seem to have some troubles on going from a console application to a GUI one (e.g see GitHub Issues 1747, 2203, 2522, 2974 and 2985).
We consider Spyder can really help to solve these issues, by integrating IPython in a richer and more intuitive, yet powerful, environment. After working with the mentioned M's, most people expects not only a good evaluation interface but also easy access to rich text documentation, an specialized editor and a namespace browser, tied with good debugging facilities. Spyder already has all these features and, right now, also the best integration with the IPython Qt frontend.
This shows that Spyder can be the perfect complement to IPython, providing what it's missing and aiming to reach a wider audience (not just researchers and graduate students). As the current Spyder maintainer, I would like to assist to SciPy to show more concretely to the community what our added value to the scientific Python ecosystem is. We would also like to get in closer contact with her and have a direct feedback to define what should be the features we need to work or improve on the next releases.