Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Hello everyone! I'm participating in Google Summer of Code 2019, I am working on KDE Cantor project. The GSoC project is mentored by Alexander Semke - one of the core developers of LabPlot, Knights and Cantor. At first, let me introduce you into Cantor and into my GSoC-project:
Cantor is a KDE application providing a graphical interface to different open-source computer algebra systems and programming languages, like Octave, Maxima, Julia, Python etc. The main idea of this application is to provide one single, common and user-friendly interface for different systems instead of providing different GUIs for different systems. The details specific to the different languages are transparent to the end-user and are handled internally in the language specific parts of Cantor's code.
There is another project following this idea - the project Jupyter. As a result of its very big popularity, user base and the community around this project, there is a lot of content available for this project created and contributed by users from different scientific and educational areas, as documented in the gallery of interesting Jupyter Notebooks.
At the moment, Cantor has its own format for projects. Though this format is good enough to manage Cantor projects, there is not a lot of content created and published by Cantor users and the user base is still not at the level which this application would deserve. Furthermore, sharing of the content stored in Cantor's native format requires the availability of Cantor on the target system, which is available for linux only at the moment. This all complicates the attempts to make Cantor more popular and known to a broader user base. Adding the possibility to import/export Jupyter Notebook worksheets in Cantor will address the problems described above.
If you are interested in a more the technical and detailed description of the project, you can check out my proposal.

Actually, it's not my first contribution to Cantor. I am contributing to this project for roughly one year already. As a developer interested in C++, Qt and applications relevant for scientific purposes, I started to contribute to Cantor last year by working on smaller bug fixes first. With time and with more understanding about the overall architecture of Cantor I could work on bigger topics like new features, more complicated bug fixes and refactorings in the code and this year I'm happy to contribute yet another big and very important functionality to Cantor as part of GSoC.

To start I selected couple of well structured Jupyter notebooks from a gallery of interesting Jupyter Notebooks. Those notebooks were selected based on three criteria:

  • they should be self-sufficient
  • they should contain commands and results of different types
  • they should have a reasonable size sufficient for testing the new code and for demoing the results
Below you can see the screenshots of the notebooks I decided to use:

The notebooks will be used for testing functionality and also for showing a progress of this project and in the final post I will summarize and report on Cantor being able to successfully process such files.

In the next post I plan to already show a working first version of the Jupyter importer.

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