Any recent usage polling on Jupyter Lab vs. Notebook usage?

After a fair bit of searching, I’m not finding much. As I mentioned in this tweet, we recently did a user test with four users, three of which preferred the older Notebook interface over JupyterLab. I believe they hadn’t really used JupyterLab much, and this was mostly about unfamiliarity.

Ideally, someone has done a rigorous poll recently, but I couldn’t find one… so if there isn’t much data on this lately, we’ll probably do a poll, and would be happy to collaborate (or just take input from folks on what they’d like us to do). Currently, thinking of a simple one-question poll that could be distributed across social media and so forth. E.g. this Twitter-compliant poll:

This is a poll for individuals who use Python at least weekly (for work, learning, pleasure, etc.) in at least one of @ProjectJupyter’s web interfaces - Jupyter Lab or Jupyter Notebook.

What is your experience and preference for Project Jupyter’s web notebooks?

  • I’ve only used Lab
  • I’ve only used Notebook
  • Prefer Lab over Notebook
  • Prefer Notebook over Lab

I am aware that folks at institutions may want to be cautious here, as IRBs can be pretty fussy about even offering advice on questions they’d like to see. So if you’re a researcher at an institution (particularly in the US), you might want to check about this before offering any suggestions!

But it should be pretty safe to refer to things that are already out in public.

There’s another level here, which I assume is shared by many in the community - Jupyter Lab (especially with 2.0) is “the future” and we want to encourage folks to move in this direction. If you’re in the position of being an educator, you can probably just dictate what students use. At Gigantum, we are providing tools for folks to do what they want, and this figures into things like defaults. Happy to hear folks’ informed opinions about this as well!


Thanks for your query, Dav, and for sharing your findings. I am also not aware of a recent or rigorous poll like the one you are suggesting, beyond the discussion in the “Why is time not moving to Lab” thread that Chris already pointed you to, on twitter.I guess another option for folks experience might be

  • I use both, depending on what I’m doing
  • I use neither

That last category would capture folks in the community who are happy with traditional IPython, or use nteract, or Hydrogen, or VS Code.

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Hi @ivanov!

I was originally including a “I use terminal / editor / IDE / hate notebooks” but Twitter limits you to 4 choices. So, I pared it down and scoped the poll to ONLY folks that use some web notebook.

Is it wrong to use Twitter polls as a design constraint? Probably if it’s making me exclude important choices…

In any case, the more I think about it the more I’d like at least the “neither” option (but still you use Python ~weekly). As far as “depending on what I’m doing” - I’m personally interested in what the default should be, e.g., “How should I publish something on Binder?” or “What should the default launch action be for Gigantum?”

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I like the idea of a twitter poll. Maybe it doesn’t deliver the highest quality data, has constraints, etc but we can do it in 5minutes. Once we decide to.

What do you think of offering two answers plus a third on “Other, please reply”. as a way to get around the 4 answer limit? I’ve seen people do this before and you get some interesting replies. Though I assume a lot of people don’t bother replying

We could also possibly analyze a week’s worth of logs from to get a sense for this. Not representative of course, but still useful datapoint.


Analyzing mybinder and putting a poll on that website makes sense. Gigantum will at least keep doing some in-person usability testing, and maybe we can blast our email list, and I’m happy to share what we learn.

But as far as Twitter goes… how’s this?

This is a poll for individuals who use Python at least weekly (for work, learning, pleasure, etc.).

What is your preference for Project Jupyter’s web notebooks - Jupyter Lab and “classic” Jupyter Notebook? Feel free to expand in a comment!

  • I prefer Lab
  • I prefer Notebook
  • I prefer editor/terminal
  • Other (please comment!)

Choices are limited to 25 characters, but you can add explanations in the main tweet “body”. I’m trying to synthesize what folks are thinking here, but I’m open to refinement.

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To me that poll wording seems slightly inconsistent. The intro says it’s aimed at all regular Python users. The poll question focuses on Jupyter notebooks but offers a I prefer editor/terminal option- presumably no one edits the raw JSON of ipynb files?.

If you’re interested in all Python users perhaps it’d be clearer to have two separate polls:

  • Jupyter vs non-Jupyter
  • Preferred UI for Jupyter users only?

First, thank you!

One obvious thing to change is scoping the question to folks in the “PyData / NumFocus” ecosystem. I guess “for data-driven tasks (so generally not websites, devops, etc.)”

I think there’s enough buy-in that doing a coordinated Twitter poll seems worthwhile, which means one question, max 4 responses. There are a set of use-cases where this set of choices is relevant: Binder, Jupyter Hub deployers and educators in general, my company (Gigantum) and other companies who are deploying web front-ends for data processing with Python (Bloomberg, IBM, etc.), and of course Jupyter developers and promoters.

Anyway, here’s a re-write:


Your re-write looks good to me!

You could optionally make the poll into a Twitter thread, and link to this forum thread in a reply for anyone who wants to write more than can fit in a tweet?

I like that idea. I had 34 characters left in the main body also… I don’t want to put the link in the main body, but could mention “more info below”

How do Binder folks feel about how this is shaping up? (I guess @betatim and @yuvipanda)

Along those lines - are Binder logs public?

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I like it! is public. The logs of individual sessions aren’t, we’d have to dig them out of our logging archive and as part of that process it to just extract paths of requests the people made or some such.

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This just arrived in my inbox:

Scroll down to “Editors and IDEs”, broken down by usage. The raw data is also available (63 MB CSV, looks like 47308 responses).


7 posts were split to a new topic: Problems when running Julia on JupyterLab

@compleathorseplayer @jasongrout I’ve moved your posts into a new thread since it was getting off topic

Wow @manics, that’s pretty useful. That PyCharm / PSF poll actually includes a question scoped to tool use for data science (you need to click the tab on the third barchart):

The results are pretty comparable to our 3:1 preference for classic Jupyter Notebooks: 13% of users use “Notebooks” vs 4% for JupyterLab. But the stark contrast with PyCharm (28%) and VSCode (23%) and even Vim (7%) is actually pretty surprising to me!

So, in light of this, I chatted with some folks at Gigantum, and we still feel that for the parties I’ve been thinking of (e.g., Bloomberg, Binder, Gigantum…) we do have a more pointed interest in how people prefer to work with notebooks specifically - we all have platforms built around notebook use / presentation.

I therefore propose the following small change, which perhaps we can start posting to Twitter on Wednesday or so if we get consensus by end-of-day-ish on Tuesday?

I’ve bolded the change in wording, and welcome edits / clarifications, but I also don’t want to spend too much time on what is ultimately not going to be a super-representative poll anyway.

I also had a quick look at the Binder logs. I suppose I should make a binder project (instead of a Gigantum one) that pulls those JSONL files in and then checks the individual github repos to try and figure out if they’re configured for Jupyter Notebooks or JupyterHub? The scraping is not hard, but I’m not sure if there’s a reliable way to determine the actual tool the binder repo is configured for?

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I agree this will be the hard part. My first approach would be to fetch the README from the repository and search for a badge/link. Then check which UI that link takes you to.


So maybe I meant this Wednesday, right? Or maybe I let this slip for a week.

I realized I was waiting to do some initial analysis of the binder repos to launch the survey, but I’ll just launch that survey from @gigantumscience tomorrow AM, and I don’t think we need to be super-coordinated about it. Other folks like the Binder team can either tweet the same thing, retweet, or perhaps learn from my mistakes!

And I will get those analysis of existing binder repos done soon… there’s just a lot going on (for all of us!).


Tweeted about it now. As part of this I learnt that I can’t schedule a tweet with a poll :frowning:

Yup - even HubSpot (one of the fancy tools for blogging and tweeting) doesn’t support scheduling polls :’(

Anyway, I retweeted from various accounts and asked my team-mates at Gigantum to do so as well! I’m happily surprised at the response rates - and the results so far!

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Just a comment as a very regular (and happy) Jupyter and Binder user: I don’t think that Binder is very representative of how people use notebooks in general. My guess is that Binder is mainly used for demos and except for rare cases where one might need a Jupyterlab extension (Dask comes to my mind), it’s probably not very common to use the more “productive” oriented Jupyterlab in that context. I use Jupyterlab all the time, but almost never on Binder, in particular never when I create e.g. content for online courses, where people unfamiliar with notebooks might be confused by Jupyterlab.


Right - that unfamiliarity and the challenge that comes with it are ultimately what (I think) we’re all interested in. I would be curious to hear more about your specific experience - were you actually experiencing more student difficulty with Jupyterlab? Care to point us at your courses and provide some sense of student characteristics?

Your point is well-taken though, that we should be careful to generalize Binder usage to the population in general.

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