So what is a IPython Notebook all about and how is it related to me learning Python? The IPython Notebook is simply the software or the code editor that we will be using to actually learn Python. This software will allow us to write Python code in our web browser. Note that the IPython Notebook is now called the Jupyter Notebook but I will refer to it as the IPython Notebook. There is a lot more I could mention about this particular piece of software but all you need to know is in order to gain access to this software you simply need to do visit the following web page.
Once you get the site to open then you should see a screen similar to the figure below. This is basically our welcome screen. If you have made it to this point, good job!
A quick word about Python 2 versus Python 3:
As a new comer to the Python world you will soon get thrown into a civil war between which version of Python is the best. Some will say choose Python 2 and you will hear others say their preference of choice is Python 3. There has been a very slow transition from Python 2 to Python 3 and there are probably a bunch of reasons why this is the case. Overtime everyone will eventually switch to Python 3 so I suggest you start with Python 3 when using this book.
Let’s now navigate our mouse to the top-right area of our screen. We are going to click on the New drop-down menu and select the option called Python 3 as shown below.
After you click on the Python 3 option your screen should look like the figure below.
A few things to notice about this screen. In the top-right side of your screen we see Python 3 which is good since we are working with this version of Python. We also see a bunch of menu options that we will touch up on as they become useful to us. The most important thing to notice is the bottom of the page which is the large text box highlighted in green. This is where we are going to start coding in Python. Very Exciting!
The first thing I want to do is give our Notebook a title. To do this all you have to do is click on the Untitled label at the top of the page near the Jupyter logo as shown below.
Let’s call our Notebook “Try Python”. We type this in the Rename Notebook dialog box. Now press the OK button as shown in the figure below.
As you can see from the figure below we have just renamed our Notebook. Wasn’t that easy?