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What’s not to like about a website called “pythonanywhere“?

I found out about it today from themodernscientist. But does it hold the promise of its name? The deal is, they have python running on their servers, they give you a command shell of your liking (bash, python, ipython) online. Yes, that’s right, online. As in your browser.

This is a really awesome concept. Because it means you can program anywhere, as long as you have access to the internet. You can program on your iPad or your Nokia something. Your computations happen on their server, and you don’t have to worry about installing or updating your python distribution. They have currently numpy version 1.6.1 installed, which is the one currently available in the enthought python distribution.


cutout from browser window with a bash shell from python anywhere


This is already quite awesome. The next level of awesomeness was reached, when I found out how ridiculous simple it is to connect a dropbox folder to your account at pythonanywhere. That means that both your code as well as your results are synced pretty much immediately. Wow.

I played a little around and calculated a bunch of distance matrices between varying number of locations using scipy.spatial.distance.pdist(). And, alright, the bigger the vector of locations gets, the less efficient is pythonanywhere. However, there is the option of a pypy console.

comparison runtime on pythonanywhere vs. on local machine

So, alright. If you have lots of data and if you need serious computation, this might not be the development environment you’re looking for – yet. I guess the target audience at this stage (the thing is in beta I should note) are web developers.

I can imagine, and I’d like to imagine, that this sort of service is taking off really soon.

Written by Claus

December 30th, 2011 at 8:17 pm

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