Giorgio -

Thanks for starting this discussion and sorry for the late reply.
Use of Python with matplotlib in the classroom and by students in general is a major objective of mine.

I use IDLE with numpy, scipy, and matplotlib.

The IDLE problem is really annoying though. Starting with -n is required (a strange hack for many students), and then you cannot restart the interpreter.
I keep hoping that the IDLE developers will be able to change the code such that this is not necessary anymore.

Another difficulty is that it is cumbersome to change directories. In that respect, it would be great if pylab had a change directory (cd) command. That would make interactive use a lot easier. This could also be an IDLE feature of course.

Another question I get from matlab users is why there isn't a 'whos' to figure out all the variables that are used. This is really an interactive issue, where the IDLE would be used as an interpreter (calculator really), not as a means to develop serious code.

So to summarize, I think getting matlab users switched over, I see the following three issues high on the list:
1. Get rid of the -n problem for running matplotlib interactively.
2. Make an easy cd command.
3. Make an who option.

On the bright side, I get quite a few people converted that don't want to go back anymore....

Mark

Message: 7
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2007 16:58:42 +0200
From: Giorgio Luciano <giorgio.luciano@chimica.unige.it>
Subject: [Matplotlib-users] matlab, idle, interactivity and teaching
To: Discussion of Numerical Python <numpy-discussion@scipy.org>,
        matplot <matplotlib-users@lists.sourceforge.net >,       SciPy Users List
        <scipy-user@scipy.org>
Message-ID: <460A82A2.90602@chimica.unige.it>
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Hello to all,
I've thread that apperead some time ago on this list about matlab and
teaching.
I've discovered python recently  and translated part of the routine I
use in python (www.chemometrics.it).
Some of my collegue asked me if I could show them how to use python. For
matlab user I guess the first problem is to setup everything, but I just
fixed it preparing a directory with all the package I need and a
matplotlibrc file for interactive mode + a shortcut for idle -n use.
The second problem is that people now  wants some bells and whistles of
matlab that I have to admit sometime can be very helpful for saving
time. The bells and whistles are about the workspace.
It's difficult to cut and paste from gnumeric/excel (I generally use txt
file but it's no so immediate) and also there is no "visual" workspace.
I cannot succeed also in saving workspace (I know there is a function so
iosave.mat but I didn't manage easily hot to use it)
For overpass this problems I've tried to use QME-DEV which is in early
stage of development (alpha) but promise well.
What people like of python/matplot/scipy
-its free ;)
-they like a lot the plotting style and capabilities (they find the png
and svg file very clear and accurate)
-they like IDLE as editor (ehy it's has the same color of matlab ;) ! )

So my question is . Do you have a similar experience ?
How do you help people in moving the first step ?
do you use (and also does it exist) a more friendly environment than
IDLE except from QME-DEV.

I know that this question may look silly, but in my opinion also how
much is user friendly a software is very important for getting new users.
Cheers to all
Giorgio