IPython was started in 2001 by Fernando Perez. IPython as we know it today grew out of the following three projects:

  • ipython by Fernando Pérez. I was working on adding Mathematica-type prompts and a flexible configuration system (something better than $PYTHONSTARTUP) to the standard Python interactive interpreter.
  • IPP by Janko Hauser. Very well organized, great usability. Had an old help system. IPP was used as the ‘container’ code into which I added the functionality from ipython and LazyPython.
  • LazyPython by Nathan Gray. Simple but very powerful. The quick syntax (auto parens, auto quotes) and verbose/colored tracebacks were all taken from here.

Here is how Fernando describes it:

When I found out about IPP and LazyPython I tried to join all three into a unified system. I thought this could provide a very nice working environment, both for regular programming and scientific computing: shell-like features, IDL/Matlab numerics, Mathematica-type prompt history and great object introspection and help facilities. I think it worked reasonably well, though it was a lot more work than I had initially planned.

Today and how we got here

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