JetBrains DataSpell - The IDE for Professional Data Scientists

JetBrains, a well-known IDE vendor, is testing its IDEs for data scientists in what could be seen as a challenge to the super-popular combination of Visual Studio Code and its Python extensions.

A new product called JetBrains DataSpell has just emerged from a private Early Access Program and is now available to everyone wishing to join the EAP and do things like wrangle Notebooks. The product became popular in the Jupyter program, which catered to Al and data science use cases.

The main focus of the preview test was to optimize the Notebook experience, including the ability to smoothly operate Jupyter Notebook cells, as well as traditional shortcuts, clear output displays, and quick fixes, JetBrains notes, listing these improvements:

  • You can combine individual outputs with shortcuts and a mouse;
  • Notebooks have been significantly improved to notebooks roll and output.
  • For table output, special operations have been added to open the data in a separate editor TAB;
  • For images, special actions have been added to save the image to a file;
  • For unparsed packages in code units, a quick fix was added that adds an import statement to the current unit and calls it automatically, so users don’t have to do this manually;
  • Chinese and Korean characters now display correctly in table output.

JetBrains, of course, is well known to readers of Visual Studio Magazine for its Rider. NET IDE and other Microsoft-centric tools for product development such as WinForms, Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), ASP.NET, etc.

Now, the company appears to be taking on VS Code and its Python extension, which comes bundled with a Jupyter-specific tool. Both are very popular. VS Code has been ranked the number one development tool in major surveys, Python extensions have been downloaded a staggering 41.6 million times in the Visual Studio marketplace as of this writing. From this perspective, the second most popular tool on the market is C/ C++, which has been downloaded less than 23 million times.

JetBrains doesn’t mention VS Code in its announcement, but it does answer a related question: “Why is JetBrains DataSpell better than other tools for data scientists?”

The answer is:

When it comes to the Python ecosystem, there is no IDE designed specifically for data science. Instead, persons involved in data science must use the editor, developer IDE, or the separate Notebooks of Jupyter.

Only in the R language ecosystem is there a standalone IDE for data science. We often hear people with EXPERIENCE with RStudio complain that there is nothing like it in Python, and JetBrains DataSpell is one such IDE for data scientists.

On the one hand, JetBrains DataSpell brings a wide range of data science tools, including notebooks, interactive REPL, data sets and visual browsers, and Conda support. JetBrains DataSpell, on the other hand, provides intelligent coding help for Python and a host of other tools, all seamlessly integrated under a unified user interface.

Additionally, JetBrains DataSpell provides support for other languages in addition to Python. Currently, it provides basic support for R, with additional data science languages to be added in the future.

Nafiul Islam shared more information about the new product in EAP in a video, noting that it was created by the same team behind the company’s Python-Specific PyCharm IDE product.

“The PyCharm team has been developing a new IDE called DataSpell, and what DataSpell does is answer the question of what we can do for data scientists,” he said. So DataSpell is a new IDE for professional data scientists. At the heart of the experience is Jupiter Notebook. So we worked very hard to make the Jupiter Notebook experience as clear as possible.”

As EAP becomes available to the public, JetBrains is inviting those waiting and allowing developers to download EAP builds from the DataSpell site without having to sign up.

The Sept. 6 announcement also provided more details on the expected price (similar to other JetBrains Intellij-based ides) and features and answered questions about how DataSpell differs from PyCharm. An interesting hint about the latter: “Most JetBrains DataSpell features, including support for The Notebooks of Jupyter, will also soon be available as PyCharm Pro.”

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