Mozilla introduces Iodide, a tool for data scientists to create interactive documents using web technologies

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On Tuesday, Brendan Colloran, a data scientist at Mozilla, introduced an experimental tool called Iodide. This tool allows data scientists to create interactive documents using web technologies. As the tool is currently in alpha stage, it is not recommended to use it for critical work.

Why Iodide is needed?

Data scientists not only need to write code and analyze data, as a part of their job, they also have to share results and insights with the decision making teams. While they have a wide range of tools for analyzing the data like Jupyter Notebook and RStudio, there are a very few options for sharing the results in an effective way using web technologies.

Often times, data scientists just copy the key figures and summary statistics to a Google Doc. Iodide aims to eliminate the round trips between exploring data in code and creating an understandable report. It also aims to make collaboration among data scientist very convenient. When a data scientist is reading another’s final report and wants to look at the code behind it, he can easily do so.

How does Iodide work?

Iodide provides a “explore view”, which consists of a set of panes. These include an editor for writing code, a console for viewing the output from code, and a workspace viewer for examining the variables you’ve created. In addition to these, it also has a “report preview” pane which shows the preview of your report.

Source: Mozilla

When you click on the REPORT button, the contents of your report preview will expand to fill the entire window. This is very useful for the readers who are not interested in the technical details as it will hide the code.

Source: Mozilla

Once the report is ready, users can send a link directly to their colleagues and collaborators. This will give them access to the clean and readable document as well as the underlying code and the editing environment. So, in case, they want to review your code, they can switch to the “explore mode”. If they want to use your code for their own work, they can fork it and start working on their own version, similar to the GitHub fork option.

To know more in detail, check the blog post shared by Mozilla.

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