Converting to (not from) ipython Notebook format

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Converting to (not from) ipython Notebook format

IPython Notebook comes with nbconvert, which can export notebooks to other formats. But how do I convert text in the opposite direction? I ask because I already have materials, and a good workflow, in a different format, but I would like to take advantage of Notebook’s interactive environment.

A likely solution: A notebook can be created by importing a .py file, and the documentation states that when nbconvert exports a notebook as a python script, it embeds directives in comments that can be used to recreate the notebook. But the information comes with a disclaimer about the limitations of this method, and the accepted format is not documented anywhere that I could find. (A sample is shown, oddly enough, in the section describing notebook’s JSON format). Can anyone provide more information, or a better alternative?

Edit (1 March 2016): The accepted answer no longer works, because for some reason this input format is not supported by version 4 of the Notebook API. I have added a self-answer showing how to import a notebook with the current (v4) API. (I am not un-accepting the current answer, since it solved my problem at the time and pointed me to the resources I used in my self-answer.)

Asked By: alexis

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Answer #1:

The following works for IPython 3, but not IPython 4.

The IPython API has functions for reading and writing notebook files. You should use this API and not create JSON directly. For example, the following code snippet converts a script test.py into a notebook test.ipynb.

import IPython.nbformat.current as nbf
nb = nbf.read(open('test.py', 'r'), 'py')
nbf.write(nb, open('test.ipynb', 'w'), 'ipynb')

Regarding the format of the .py file understood by nbf.read it is best to simply look into the parser class IPython.nbformat.v3.nbpy.PyReader. The code can be found here (it is not very large):

https://github.com/ipython/ipython/blob/master/jupyter_nbformat/v3/nbpy.py

Edit: This answer was originally written for IPyhton 3. I don’t know how to do this properly with IPython 4. Here is an updated version of the link above, pointing to the version of nbpy.py from the IPython 3.2.1 release:

https://github.com/ipython/ipython/blob/rel-3.2.1/IPython/nbformat/v3/nbpy.py

Basically you use special comments such as # <codecell> or # <markdowncell> to separate the individual cells. Look at the line.startswith statements in PyReader.to_notebook for a complete list.

Answered By: alexis

Answer #2:

Since the code in the accepted answer does not work anymore, I have added this self-answer that shows how to import into a notebook with the current (v4) API.

Input format

Versions 2 and 3 of the IPython Notebook API can import a python script with special structuring comments, and break it up into cells as desired. Here’s a sample input file (original documentation here). The first two lines are ignored, and optional. (In fact, the reader will ignore coding: and <nbformat> lines anywhere in the file.)

# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
# <nbformat>3.0</nbformat>

# <markdowncell>

# The simplest notebook. Markdown cells are embedded in comments, 
# so the file is a valid `python` script. 
# Be sure to **leave a space** after the comment character!

# <codecell>

print("Hello, IPython")

# <rawcell>

# Raw cell contents are not formatted as markdown

(The API also accepts the obsolete directives <htmlcell> and <headingcell level=...>, which are immediately transformed to other types.)

How to import it

For some reason, this format is not supported by version 4 of the Notebook API. It’s still a nice format, so it’s worth the trouble to support it by importing into version 3 and upgrading. In principle it’s just two lines of code, plus i/o:

from IPython.nbformat import v3, v4

with open("input-file.py") as fpin:
    text = fpin.read()

nbook = v3.reads_py(text)
nbook = v4.upgrade(nbook)  # Upgrade v3 to v4

jsonform = v4.writes(nbook) + "n"
with open("output-file.ipynb", "w") as fpout:
    fpout.write(jsonform)

But not so fast! In fact, the notebook API has a nasty bug: If the last cell in the input is a markdown cell, v3.reads_py() will lose it. The simplest work-around is to tack on a bogus <markdown> cell at the end: The bug will delete it, and everyone is happy. So do the following before you pass text to v3.reads_py():

text += """
# <markdowncell>

# If you can read this, reads_py() is no longer broken! 
"""
Answered By: CliffordVienna

Answer #3:

very old question, i know. but there is jupytext (also available on pypi) that can convert from ipynb to several formats and back.

when jupytext is installed you can use

$ jupytext --to notebook test.py

in order to generate test.ipynb.

jupytext has a lot more interesting features that can come in handy when working with notebooks.


here is a more recent question on that topic.

Answered By: alexis

Answer #4:

Python code example how to build IPython notebook V4:

# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
import os
from base64 import encodestring

from IPython.nbformat.v4.nbbase import (
    new_code_cell, new_markdown_cell, new_notebook,
    new_output, new_raw_cell
)

# some random base64-encoded *text*
png = encodestring(os.urandom(5)).decode('ascii')
jpeg = encodestring(os.urandom(6)).decode('ascii')

cells = []
cells.append(new_markdown_cell(
    source='Some NumPy Examples',
))


cells.append(new_code_cell(
    source='import numpy',
    execution_count=1,
))

cells.append(new_markdown_cell(
    source='A random array',
))

cells.append(new_raw_cell(
    source='A random array',
))

cells.append(new_markdown_cell(
    source=u'## My Heading',
))

cells.append(new_code_cell(
    source='a = numpy.random.rand(100)',
    execution_count=2,
))
cells.append(new_code_cell(
    source='a = 10nb = 5n',
    execution_count=3,
))
cells.append(new_code_cell(
    source='a = 10nb = 5',
    execution_count=4,
))

cells.append(new_code_cell(
    source=u'print "ünîcødé"',
    execution_count=3,
    outputs=[new_output(
        output_type=u'execute_result',
        data={
            'text/plain': u'<array a>',
            'text/html': u'The HTML rep',
            'text/latex': u'$a$',
            'image/png': png,
            'image/jpeg': jpeg,
            'image/svg+xml': u'<svg>',
            'application/json': {
                'key': 'value'
            },
            'application/javascript': u'var i=0;'
        },
        execution_count=3
    ),new_output(
        output_type=u'display_data',
        data={
            'text/plain': u'<array a>',
            'text/html': u'The HTML rep',
            'text/latex': u'$a$',
            'image/png': png,
            'image/jpeg': jpeg,
            'image/svg+xml': u'<svg>',
            'application/json': {
                'key': 'value'
            },
            'application/javascript': u'var i=0;'
        },
    ),new_output(
        output_type=u'error',
        ename=u'NameError',
        evalue=u'NameError was here',
        traceback=[u'frame 0', u'frame 1', u'frame 2']
    ),new_output(
        output_type=u'stream',
        text='foorbarrn'
    ),new_output(
        output_type=u'stream',
        name='stderr',
        text='rfoorbarn'
    )]
))

nb0 = new_notebook(cells=cells,
    metadata={
        'language': 'python',
    }
)

import IPython.nbformat as nbf
import codecs
f = codecs.open('test.ipynb', encoding='utf-8', mode='w')
nbf.write(nb0, f, 4)
f.close()
Answered By: hiro protagonist

Answer #5:

Given the example by Volodimir Kopey, I put together a bare-bones script to convert a .py obtained by exporting from a .ipynb back into a V4 .ipynb.

I hacked this script together when I edited (in a proper IDE) a .py I had exported from a Notebook and I wanted to go back to Notebook to run it cell by cell.

The script handles only code cells. The exported .py does not contain much else, anyway.

import nbformat
from nbformat.v4 import new_code_cell,new_notebook

import codecs

sourceFile = "changeMe.py"     # <<<< change
destFile = "changeMe.ipynb"    # <<<< change


def parsePy(fn):
    """ Generator that parses a .py file exported from a IPython notebook and
extracts code cells (whatever is between occurrences of "In[*]:").
Returns a string containing one or more lines
"""
    with open(fn,"r") as f:
        lines = []
        for l in f:
            l1 = l.strip()
            if l1.startswith('# In[') and l1.endswith(']:') and lines:
                yield "".join(lines)
                lines = []
                continue
            lines.append(l)
        if lines:
            yield "".join(lines)

# Create the code cells by parsing the file in input
cells = []
for c in parsePy(sourceFile):
    cells.append(new_code_cell(source=c))

# This creates a V4 Notebook with the code cells extracted above
nb0 = new_notebook(cells=cells,
                   metadata={'language': 'python',})

with codecs.open(destFile, encoding='utf-8', mode='w') as f:
    nbformat.write(nb0, f, 4)

No guarantees, but it worked for me

Answered By: Volodimir Kopey

Answer #6:

Hope I’m not too late.

I just published a Python package on PyPI called p2j. This package creates a Jupyter notebook .ipynb from a Python source code .py.

pip install p2j
p2j script.py

Example of a Jupyter notebook generated from a .py file:

Example of .ipynb generated from a .py file

PyPI: https://pypi.org/project/p2j/

GitHub: https://github.com/remykarem/python2jupyter

Answered By: P.Toccaceli

Answer #7:

Took the liberty of taking and modifying the code of P.Toccateli and alexis so that it will also work with pycharm and spyder like cell markers and released it on github.

Answered By: remykarem

Answer #8:

I wrote an extension for vscode that might help. It converts the python files to ipython notebooks. It’s in early stages so if any error occurs, feel free to submit an issue.

Jupyter Notebook Converter

Answered By: John Smith

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