Although your Python shell is useful, it’s lacking quite a lot of magic you can discover by using IPython. IPython is an enhanced Python shell that offers you some easy-to-use shortcuts and extra power when working with Python in a shell environment. It was originally developed by scientists and students who wanted an easier shell for their Python use. It has since become the de facto standard for learning and interacting with Python via an interpreter.
IPython gives you quite a lot of functionality lacking in the standard Python shell. The benefits of installing and using IPython as your shell are numerous. Its features include:
Easy-to-read documentation hooks
Autocompletion and magic commands for library, class, and object exploration
Inline image and chart generation
Helpful tools to view history, create files, debug your script, reload your script, and more
Built-in shell command usage
Auto-imports on startup
It’s also one of the core components of Jupyter, a shared notebook server allowing for rapid-cycle data exploration in a browser. We covered using Jupyter for code sharing and presentation in Chapter 10.
IPython is easy to install with pip:
pip install ipython
If you are using more than one virtual environment, you might want to install IPython globally or within each virtual environment. To begin using IPython, simply type
ipython in your terminal window. You should see a prompt ...