Re: [sage-devel] some comments/requests for the notebook

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William Stein

Nov 6, 2009, 9:50:56 AM11/6/09
On Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 1:01 AM, Alex Ghitza <> wrote:
> Dear sage-devel,
> I will admit that I am a command-line-interface kind of person;
> however, I sometimes use the notebook when I'm showing examples to a
> (say calculus) class, or when I give a talk.  And I'm really happy the
> notebook is there and people are working hard to improve it.
> Getting to the point: I spent some time with the notebook (in
> sage-4.2) this week, and in the process I have accumulated a few
> comments and requests.  I'm posting these here so they don't get lost.
> They are in random order.
> 1. docstrings and source introspection: typing "blah?" gives a nicely
> typeset docstring of "blah".  Typing  "blah??" give an "ugly"
> docstring and a nicely typeset source code.
> Question: would it be possible to make "blah??" show the nicely
> typeset verion of the docstring?

It's possible.

> 2. if a tab-completion returns a lot of possibilities, they seem to
> get cut off after a while
> (concrete example:
> G = graphs.HouseGraph()
> G.<TAB>
> )
> is this a bug or a feature?

It's a bug that has been fixed and will appear in the next version of Sage.

> 3. long worksheet titles get cut off even if there would be enough
> room to display them in their entirety (in my case, I had "Victorian
> Algebra Conference 2009" which appeared as "Victorian Algebra
> Conference 2...")

True. It is tricky because fonts are proportionally spaced.

> 4. in the upper left corner of the worksheet, there is the Sage logo
> and the version, and just to the right of this it says "The Sage
> Notebook".  Both of these items have the same hyperlink attached,
> namely  Would it be a good idea to have the Sage logo
> hyperlink to, and leave "The Sage Notebook" linked to

Yes, that's possible.

> 5. try entering
> type(SL(2, 7))
> there's something broken at the end of the output
> 6. this comes up in the previous example, but I believe it's more
> general: output appears to get wrapped around independently of the
> amount of screen real estate.  is there a way to fix it?

No. But if you click on the left edge of output you can toggle
whether or not it is word wrapped.

> 7. I like the way list output comes up somewhat structured in the
> command-line interface:
> sage: G = SymmetricGroup(4)
> sage: G.normal_subgroups()
> [Permutation Group with generators [()],
>  Permutation Group with generators [(1,3)(2,4), (1,4)(2,3)],
>  Permutation Group with generators [(2,4,3), (1,3)(2,4), (1,4)(2,3)],
>  Permutation Group with generators [(1,2), (1,2,3,4)]]
> In the notebook, this is much harder to parse by a human:
> [Permutation Group with generators [()], Permutation Group with
> generators [(1,3)(2,4), (1,4)(2,3)], Permutation Group with generators
> [(2,4,3), (1,3)(2,4), (1,4)(2,3)], Permutation Group with generators
> [(1,2), (1,2,3,4)]]

I've have no clue why it would be different.

> 8. I don't have an example at hand at the moment, but maybe this rings
> a bell: once in a while, when I go through a fairly long worksheet and
> evaluate cells one by one, I get thrown all the way to the end of the
> worksheet.  This is not a huge deal, but it's a bit disconcerting if
> you're giving a talk and have to constantly scroll back to where you
> were supposed to be.

That sounds like a bug involving the internal state of the web
browser's list of cell id's.

> 9. The linear nature of the notebook worksheet clashes a bit with my
> idea of "slides".  I tried to remedy this by inserting blank text
> paragraphs as breaks between "slides", but this is not perfect.
> Would it be possible to insert some sort of marker saying "this is the
> beginning of the next slide", together with keyboard shortcuts for
> jumping to the next/previous slide?  That would make my life easier
> when preparing a talk, and the final result would look more
> professional.

I implemented a genuine slide show mode this summer. It took a lot of
work. But it wasn't 100% perfect, so didn't get into Sage and
massively bit rotted. Hopefully I'll have time to update it.

> I think that's it.  Thanks again to everyone who's been working on the
> notebook, and I hope this feedback is of some value.

Thanks! By the way, there is a sage-notebook Google group, which I've
cc'd this message to.


Pat LeSmithe

Nov 6, 2009, 11:01:17 AM11/6/09
On 11/06/2009 07:21 AM, William Stein wrote:
> On Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 7:10 AM, Jason Grout <> wrote:
>> Why does that make it tricky? Make the div/table cell the maximum width
>> possible (and expand as the browser window expands), and let the browser
>> worry about when to cut off the text by setting the CSS style to chop
>> off the text. I suppose we'll miss the "..."; is that the tricky part?
> You're right, it's easy! Let's do it.

I'm working on a patch for

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