JupyterLab Rich Context Extensions

We’ve been working with @ellisonbg on three extensions related to rich context in JupyterLab. We have written our visions for these with hypothetical press releases for each project and thought this would be a good time to announce these more widely to get feedback from the community:

  1. JupyterLab Commenting: Inline Comments on Code and Output (press release)

  2. JupyterLab Data Registry & Data Explorer: First-class Datasets (press release)

  3. JupyterLab Metadata Service: Record and View Metadata about Every Entity in JupyterLab (press release)

We hope to release an initial version of these projects in the coming months and we welcome collaboration to guide their direction. Feel free to discuss here or on the respective repos.

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Btw, this process of writing “Press Releases from the Future” was new to us. @ellisonbg steered us through the process. We found it to be very challenging, yet extremely valuable. From my perspective there are at least two benefits to this exercise:

It aligns the team on a shared vision. Beforehand we thought our visions were aligned, but this exercise exposed many places where we had differing ideas, and it gave us a chance to discuss those differing ideas sooner rather than later.

It communicates to stakeholders the clear answers to “Why are you spending time on this? What problem are you solving?” Even when you know intuitively that your work is critically important, being able to articulate it is vital for gaining support.

This could be a good process for other teams as well.

And we’d love to get feedback on them now! We expect the vision will still evolve over time.

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@acu192

We’ve also got a “Press Release from the Future” in the works for Telemetry work that’s happening right now. Check it out!

I agree with everything Ryan said. It’s very challenging, but extremely valuable.

I would also say, by posting these on Github, the press release also invite a broader audience to comment on the technical work being done. It makes our vision more accessible to stakeholders and enables them to engage early on in the process.

Congrats on the great work happening in the Rich Context space! I’m really excited for this!

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Thanks all - one thing I want to make sure is clear - these are forward looking press releases - in other words press releases that we would hope to be able to publish once these extensions are ready for release later this year. If this writing style brings up questions for anyone in the community, don’t hesitate to ask. It could help us to improve upon the narrative or how we share these in the future.

Note that while we will continue iterating upon and improving the quality of these, I am happy with what we created. I believe that this writing exercise has served as an important tool for finding alignment among the team for the vision and scope of this set of extensions in JupyterLab. The engaging and thorough discussions that were held as the team co-wrote these were super valuable in getting clarity not only on what we were building, but why. In fact, the question I always focused on asking as we reviewed drafts was writing about the why of what was being proposed - the impact it would have, as opposed to the what was being built.

Besides getting everyone on the same page by asking these high level questions, another extremely valuable part of this exercise was asking the team to push themselves in the area of writing. In my experience, the most successful people on the planet not only have brilliant ideas but they are skilled at communicating these ideas in a way that inspires or gathers support from their intended audience. Whether it’s through talking or writing, the ability to engage others and get them to understand our life’s work is a key component to success and sustainability at Jupyter.

With that in mind, it would be great for this team to work together to write a blog post or document more of this process. Let’s make sure to get a picture of someone staring intensely at their laptop to simulate the writing of the first draft :o)

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