Appendix F. IPython Hints

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.

Why Use IPython?

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.

Getting Started with IPython

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 ...

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