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Mozilla is constantly putting its efforts in developing new tools that ease the life of a data scientist. In March this year, it introduced Iodide, an experimental tool to create interactive documents using web technologies. And, yesterday, it has come up with another experimental tool called Pyodide to create a full Python data science stack that runs entirely in the browser.

Why Pyodide is introduced?

JavaScript, the most popularly-used web language, does not offer a mature suite of data science library. It also lacks a number of features for numerical computing such as operator overloading. Mozilla aims to change this and bring data science-related tools to JavaScript.

Additionally, it is also argued that Python’s limitation of not being able to run in the browser can prove to be a threat to the language itself. Mozilla in the blog wrote, “with so much user interaction happening on the web or on mobile devices, it needs to work there or be left behind.

What is Pyodide?

Pyodide provides a full, standard Python interpreter, which runs entirely in the browser. It has full access to all the APIs that a browser provides. While it is closely related to the Iodide project, Pyodide can also be used standalone in any context you want to run Python inside a web browser.

Here’s an example of what you can do with this tool. This example shows a 3D plot of the density of calls to the City of Oakland, California “311” local information service. Here the data loading and processing is performed in Python. The plotting is taken care off by WebGL, a JavaScript API for rendering 2D and 3D graphics within a compatible web browser.

Source: Mozilla

For creating Pyodide, the team has used the source code of the mainstream Python interpreter, CPython and the scientific computing packages such as NumPy. They did some small set of changes to make these tools work in the new environment. And, finally, the code was compiled to WebAssembly using Emscripten’s compiler.

Pyodide enables you to fetch things over the network using the browser’s APIs and will come with support for threading in the near future. However, there is very less chance that it will ever support features such as low-level networking sockets because of the browser’s security sandbox.

Some of the big legends in Python have appreciated this project:

To know more in detail, check out the official announcement by Mozilla.

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