Monday, 7 January 2013: 4:45 PM
Room 12B (Austin Convention Center)
With the explosive growth in the use of mobile computing devices, especially tablets, classrooms and meeting rooms more connected than ever before. One can envisage new ways of teaching and collaborating using this technology, such as building a virtual computer lab, or receiving real-time feedback during a presentation. This talk will describe an open-source Python project, GraphTerm, that aims to achieve this using a browser-based graphical terminal interface that extends the traditional command line interface to incorporate elements of the graphical user interface. In some respects, this is similar to the approach taken by Sage/IPython Notebook interfaces, which support browser-based interactive plotting that blends text and graphics. GraphTerm, however, works at the Unix shell level, rather than at the application level, by implementing xterm-like escape sequences that enable programs written in any language to interactively display inline graphics.
GraphTerm is designed to be a drop-in replacement for the standard Unix terminal, with additional collaborative features that can be used to create a virtual computer lab where the instructor and students can share terminal sessions. It also supports multiplexing and detached terminal capabilities (like tmux or GNU screen) for managing a cluster of real or virtual hosts. The presentation will discuss the architecture of the software as well as provide specific examples of using GraphTerm for interactivity and data visualization (with matplotlib).
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