Review about the book Learning IPython for Interactive Computing and Data Visualization

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hi all,

I was invited to review a copy of the book recently released titled "Learning IPython for Interactive Computing and Data Visualization" by the author Cyrille Rossant.  The book focus on one of the best tools for working with Python with the interactive incremented shell IPython.  By the way, it was the time to the tool receive a special book about it.

Learning IPython for Interactive Computing and Data Visualization

IPython is covered through the six chapters using several basic examples related to scientific computing  along with another Python tools such as Matplotlib, Numpy, Pandas, etc.  The first chapters explore the IPython basics such as installation, basic commands to get used with the tool.

The next chapters introduces NumPy and Pandas basics with the IPython shell active. Don't expect advanced examples with those tools. The idea is a simple demonstration of what we can do at IPython.

There is a chapter to discuss the visualization data with graphs, plottings with IPython Notebook. However I missed more details abot IPython notebook. It lacks more deep examples related to the topic.  

I really liked the chapter 5 when they showed some basics of MPI (Message Passing Theme), although the topic wasn't vasted explored. But the introduction gives a greate potential of usefulness to the more advanced books about IPython.

The last chapter shows how to create pluggins to IPython, for instance, create an simple extension that introduces a new cell magic (write C++ code directly in the cell, and it will be automatically compiled and executed).

My conclusion about the book is that it achieves the expected goal: a technical introduction to IPython. If you want a book to explore scientific computing or a advanced stuff to IPython, this is not the the book yet. I can say that this book is a first start for much more topics about the use of IPython.  MPI, IPython notebook, etc.  I recommend the book for start exploring the IPython as reference! :D