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Tuesday Oct. 13, 2020, 4 p.m.–Oct. 13, 2020, 4:15 p.m. in Jupyter Community: Practices

A Notebook Style Guide

Kunal Bhalla

Audience level:

Brief Summary

After writing several different notebooks for very different uses over several years, certain patterns have stood out that make notebooks easier to write, maintain and reason about. We'll go over the patterns I've observed so far -- carefully stolen both from good programming and prose style guides by far better authors, and make your next notebook much more elegant.


It's pretty common to have a style guide for code: for example, Google's are publicly available. Prose has a significantly richer history with several style guides from Strunk & White to The Chicago Manual of Style. At the same time, there doesn't seem to be any for literate programming; nor for notebooks in general.

My experience with writing notebooks, and reading those by far more gifted authors has been that there are several useful patterns that make notebooks much more maintainable, easier to reason about and iterate on. Some of those patterns even make them easier to read. This talk is a first attempt at collecting some of these ideas: and collecting feedback to further refine them. Like all good style guides, this one is opinionated, and is meant to be ignored when appropriate.

Hopefully you find these valuable in making your next notebook more elegant!