TL;DR It’s common to include interactive Python sessions inside documentation. With a small script we can turn these docs into Jupyter notebooks and serve them instantly.

Example docs:

Mac/Linux git clone && cd tomlkit &&./pw run-docs

Windows git clone && cd tomlkit && pw run-docs

Exploring a library

I was recently exploring tomlkit, a library for parsing and editing toml files.

It would have been nice if the docs where a Jupyter notebook that you can play with interactively. No more copy/paste to the REPL.

Of course this only makes sense if the effort for starting the notebook is less than a dozen copy/pastes.

The conversion script

The built-in doctest makes it trivial to separate text and code

from doctest import DocTestParser

with open(src, "r") as md:
    docs = DocTestParser().parse(
    for part in docs:
        if isinstance(part, Example):
            # Example contains source and wanted output
            source = part.source
            # plain (markdown) text
            source = part

The documentation parts can then be stored in notebook cells, a list of dicts that is dumped as json to get the final notebook.


TOML Kit provides an intuitive API to modify TOML documents::
    >>> from tomlkit import dumps
    >>> from tomlkit import parse
    >>> from tomlkit import table

is converted to:

    "cell_type": "markdown",
    "source": [
      "TOML Kit provides an intuitive API to modify TOML documents::\n"
    "cell_type": "code",
    "source": [
      "from tomlkit import dumps\n",
      "from tomlkit import parse\n",
      "from tomlkit import table\n"

Launching the Jupyter server

We still need to avoid that our potential users give up when confronted with too long or too complex instructions.

This is where pyprojectx comes into play; we’ll use it to start the entire experimentation session with a oneliner:

git clone && cd tomlkit &&./pw run-docs

The run-docs alias is configured in pyproject.toml:

jupyter = """\

run-docs = "python docs/ && pw@jupyter notebook --notebook-dir=docs"

Jupyter and the project dir (current dir) are added to the tool.pyprojectx section in pyproject.toml, making them both available in an isolated virtual environment (no impact on project dependencies).

The run-docs alias runs the conversion script and launches the Jupyter server.

open tomlkit notebook docs

When we open quickstart.ipynb we can start fiddling.

run tomkit docs

You can find the enhanced tomlkit fork on github.

Happy coding!