The IPython shell is a fast way to evaluate small bits of code. It also functions as a mighty fine calculator. You can install it with pip,
pip install ipython, and launch it with the
ipython command. Besides the normal Python REPL stuff, here are a few cool things about the IPython shell.
Let’s say you’re reading a blog post on how to do something amazing in Python and you want to follow along in the shell. If you copy a code snippet to your clipboard, you can type
%paste in the shell and it will execute each line one at a time. Go ahead and try it:
one_string = "this " two_string = "is " red_string = "pretty " blue_string = "sweet"
>>> %paste >>> print(one_string + two_string + red_string + blue_string) this is pretty sweet
I think this is way better than typing each line by hand.
IPython keeps track of history across sessions. So if I remember writing a killer list comprehension last week called
hello in IPython, I can get it back by typing:
>>> hello =
And then hitting the up arrow until I find it. If you’re an emacs user, you can also scroll through your history with
C-p to go up and
C-n to go down. This is based on reverse-i-search in bash, but IPython’s version always seems to work better for me.
View docstrings and source
If you add two question marks
?? before or after a function, class or method, you can see the docstring (if there is one) and the source.
>>> import requests >>> ??requests.get Signature: requests.get(url, params=None, **kwargs) Source: def get(url, params=None, **kwargs): """Sends a GET request. :param url: URL for the new :class:`Request` object. :param params: (optional) Dictionary or bytes to be sent in the query string for the :class:`Request`. :param \*\*kwargs: Optional arguments that ``request`` takes. :return: :class:`Response <Response>` object :rtype: requests.Response """ kwargs.setdefault('allow_redirects', True) return request('get', url, params=params, **kwargs) File: /opt/conda/lib/python3.5/site-packages/requests/api.py Type: function
This is very useful for figuring out what arguments you need to pass in.