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A library for recording and reading data in Jupyter and nteract Notebooks

Project description

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scrapbook is a library for recording a notebook’s data values (scraps) and generated visual content (snaps). These recorded scraps and snaps can be read at a future time.

Two new names for information are introduced in scrapbook:

  • scraps: serializable data values such as strings, lists of objects, pandas dataframes, or data table references.
  • snaps: named displays of information such as a generated image, plot, or UI message which encapsulate information but do not store the underlying data.

Use Case

Notebook users may wish to record data produced during a notebook execution. This recorded data can then be read to be used at a later time or be passed to another notebook as input.

Namely scrapbook lets you:

  • persist data (scraps) in a notebook
  • sketch named displays (snaps) in notebooks
  • recall any persisted scrap of data or displayed snap
  • summarize collections of notebooks

API Calls

Scrapbook adds a few basic api commands which enable saving and retrieving data.

glue to persist scraps

Records a scrap (data value) in the given notebook cell.

The scrap (recorded value) can be retrieved during later inspection of the output notebook.

sb.glue("hello", "world")
sb.glue("number", 123)
sb.glue("some_list", [1, 3, 5])
sb.glue("some_dict", {"a": 1, "b": 2})
sb.glue("non_json", df, 'arrow')

The scrapbook library can be used later to recover scraps (recorded values) from the output notebook:

nb = sb.read_notebook('notebook.ipynb')

scrapbook will imply the storage format by the value type of any registered data translators. Alternatively, the implied storage format can be overwritten by setting the storage argument to the registered name (e.g. "json") of a particular translator.

This data is persisted by generating a display output with a special media type identifying the content storage format and data. These outputs are not visible in notebook rendering but still exist in the document. Scrapbook then can rehydrate the data associated with the notebook in the future by reading these cell outputs.

sketch to save display output

Display a named snap (visible display output) in a retrievable manner.

Unlike glue, sketch is intended to generate a visible display output for notebook interfaces to render.

# record an image highlight
sb.sketch("sharable_png", IPython.display.Image(filename=get_fixture_path("sharable.png")))
# record a UI message highlight
sb.sketch("hello", "Hello World")

Like scraps, these can be retrieved at a later time. Unlike scraps, highlights do not carry any actual underlying data, keeping just the display result of some object.

nb = sb.read_notebook('notebook.ipynb')
# Returns the dict of name -> snap pairs saved in `nb`

More usefully, you can copy snaps from earlier notebook executions to re-display the object in the current notebook.

nb = sb.read_notebook('notebook.ipynb')

read_notebook reads one notebook

Reads a Notebook object loaded from the location specified at path. You've already seen how this function is used in the above api call examples, but essentially this provides a thin wrapper over an nbformat notebook object with the ability to extract scrapbook scraps and snaps.

nb = sb.read_notebook('notebook.ipynb')

The abstraction makes saved content available as a dataframe referencing each key and source. More of these methods will be made available in later versions.

# Produces a data frame with ["name", "value", "type", "filename"] as columns

The Notebook object also has a few legacy functions for backwards compatability with papermill's Notebook object model. As a result, it can be used to read papermill execution statistics as well as scrapbook abstractions:

nb.cell_timing # List of cell execution timings in cell order
nb.execution_counts # List of cell execution counts in cell order
nb.papermill_metrics # Dataframe of cell execution counts and times
nb.parameter_dataframe # Dataframe of notebook parameters
nb.papermill_dataframe # Dataframe of notebook parameters and cell scraps

The notebook reader relies on papermill's registered iorw to enable access to a variety of sources such as -- but not limited to -- S3, Azure, and Google Cloud.

read_notebooks reads many notebooks

Reads all notebooks located in a given path into a Scrapbook object.

# create a scrapbook named `book`
book = sb.read_notebooks('path/to/notebook/collection/')
# get the underlying notebooks as a list

The Scrapbook (book in this example) can be used to recall all scraps across the collection of notebooks:

book.scraps # Map of {notebook -> {name -> scrap}}
book.flat_scraps # Map of {name -> scrap}

Or to collect snaps:

book.snaps # Map of {notebook -> {name -> snap}}
book.flat_highlights # Map of {name -> snap}

The Scrapbook collection can be used to display all the snaps from the collection as a markdown structured output as well.


This display can filter on snap names and keys, as well as enable or disable an overall header for the display.

Finally the scrapbook has two backwards compatible features for deprecated papermill capabilities:


These function also relies on papermill's registered iorw to list and read files form various sources.

Storage Formats

Storage formats are accessible by key names to Translator objects registered against the translators.registry object. To register new data translator / loaders simply call:

# add translator to the registry
registry.register("custom_store_name", MyCustomTranslator())

The store class must implement two methods, translate and load:

class MyCustomTranslator(object):
    def translate(self, scrap):
        pass  # TODO: Implement

    def load(self, scrap):
        pass  # TODO: Implement

This can read transform scraps into a string representing their contents or location and load those strings back into the original data objects.


A basic string storage format that saves data as python strings.

sb.glue("hello", "world", "unicode")


sb.glue("foo_json", {"foo": "bar", "baz": 1}, "json")


Implementation Pending!

papermill's deprecated record feature

scrapbook provides a robust and flexible recording schema. This library is intended to replace papermill's existing record functionality.

Documentation for papermill record In brief:

pm.record(name, value): enabled users the ability to record values to be saved with the notebook [API documentation]

pm.record("hello", "world")
pm.record("number", 123)
pm.record("some_list", [1, 3, 5])
pm.record("some_dict", {"a": 1, "b": 2})

pm.read_notebook(notebook): pandas could be used later to recover recorded values by reading the output notebook into a dataframe.

nb = pm.read_notebook('notebook.ipynb')

Limitations and challenges

  • The record function didn't follow papermill's pattern of linear execution of a notebook codebase. (It was awkward to describe record as an additional feature of papermill this week. It really felt like describing a second less developed library.)
  • Recording / Reading required data translation to JSON for everything. This is a tedious, painful process for dataframes.
  • Reading recorded values into a dataframe would result in unintuitive dataframe shapes.
  • Less modularity and flexiblity than other papermill components where custom operators can be registered.

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