Recently, I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading about computer analysis of musical sound and some experimentation. But there wasn’t really anything I knew of that fit my desires for an experimental platform. Python + numpy provided a good combination of a pleasant language and signal processing ability. But beyond that I wanted an interactive environment that created a persistent record of what I was doing. And that means the ability to edit: to go back and fix up mistakes and add comments. Because a literal transcript of a shell session is worthless… it’s full of typos and dead ends. Also, I wanted inline plots and images. In essence, I wanted something like the Mathematica notebook user interface, but for Python.
The inline plot part can be found in Nicolas Rougier’s Pylab GTK Console, but other than that, it’s just the standard Python interactive mode in a GTK+ window. IPython has a lot of features but it’s still a shell in a terminal. So, I decided to create something myself. A couple of months of occasional evenings and 4000 lines of Python later, Reinteract is beginning to shape up. A screencast of it in operation can be found below:
I’m not ready to make a tarball release yet, but you can get the code out of git. (Instructions here.) The chances of it working out-of-the-box on a recent Linux system are pretty good. In theory, it should be completely portable to Windows and even to gtk-quartz on OS/X, but figuring out the details would take some work.
P.S. – Python shell envy within the Online Desktop / Mugshot team? It’s really a pretty different sort of thing from Colin’s project.