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SymPy Online Shell

Online Shell for SymPy (sympy-live) is a simple web application based on Google App Engine, which allows to evaluate Python code with SymPy in web browsers.

This is accomplished by providing a HTML/JavaScript GUI for entering source code and visualization of output, and a server part which evaluates the requested source code. Note that this shell is not scalable and it uses only one instance on GAE, thus all evaluation requests are queued and it may take quite a lot of time, before our code can be evaluated (depending on the current load of the instance).

Google App Engine has intrinsic 30 second request handling limit, so each evaluation request is a subject to this limit. There are also other limits related to memory consumption, output size, etc. (see Google App Engine documentation for details).


Clone sympy-live repository:

$ git clone git://
$ cd sympy-live

We use submodules to include external libraries in sympy-live:

$ git submodule init
$ git submodule update

This is sufficient to clone appropriate repositories in correct versions into sympy-live (see git documentation on submodules for information).

Development Server

To setup the development environment and run the app locally, you need docker and docker-compose:

Now you are ready to run development web server:

$ docker-compose up

This will build and run the image for app and datastore emulator.

This will spin up a local server that runs on port 8080. Open a web browser and go to http://localhost:8080. You should see GUI of SymPy Online Shell.

Deploying to Google App Engine

Travis-CI is used to deploy automatically to the official server via Github Releases.

where NN is the release version. After this travis will automatically release version NN.

To upload the application manually, you need to do a few things. First, tag th current commit with the App Engine application version (this is not necessary unless you are deploying to the official server):

$ git tag -a version-42

Then install the Google Cloud SDK for your OS from here:

This will let you use the "gcloud" CLI. After this configure the CLI to access the google cloud console for the project:

$ gcloud init

You need to to create lib (libraries) before deploying, make sure the development server is up and running via docker-compose, as mentioned above and create libraries folder to package with the following command:

$ docker cp app:/usr/src/app/lib lib

Assuming that sympy-live works properly (also across different mainstream web browsers), you can upload your changes to Google App Engine, replacing the <TAGGED_VERSION> with actual version we tagged with:

$ gcloud app deploy --project sympy-live-hrd --no-promote --version <TAGGED_VERSION>

This requires admin privileges to If you don't have access to this App Engine application, but want to test it, see the instructions in the Testing on the App Engine section below.

After doing either of the steps (via github release or manually), go to, where NN is the version you just uploaded (or released), and make sure that it works. If it does, go to the Versions section of the sympy-live dashboard, and set this as the new default version. If there are any issues, you can roll back to the previous version from this same screen.

Creating Deployment Credentials

Travis-CI deploys the application using service account credentials. To create a service account for deployment with suitable permissions, follow these steps:

These are stored encrypted in the client-secret.json.enc file in the repository, and are generated using the Travis command-line tools (client-secret.json is the credentials file for the service account created int the step above)

travis encrypt-file client-secret.json --add

This also adds the encrypted keys in travis environment variables, which you can check from here: in the "Environment Variables" section.

Testing on the App Engine

It's usually a good idea to test big changes on the App Engine itself before deploying, as can only simulate the App Engine.

There is a semi-official testing server at If you want write access to it, just ask Aaron Meurer. The convention there is to push to the version corresponding to the pull request (so if you have a branch that is pull request #55, you would push to version 55, and access it by Alternately, you can set up your own testing server (it's free, though it requires a cell phone to set up).

You need to to create lib (libraries) before deploying, make sure the development server is up and running via docker-compose, as mentioned above and create libraries folder to package with the following command:

$ docker cp app:/usr/src/app/lib lib

Either way, to test, you will need to edit the Project ID in the deploy command mentioned above with your Project ID and the version you want to deploy to:

$ gcloud app deploy --project <your-project-name> --no-promote --version <TAGGED_VERSION>

If you have a test app online, remember to update it every time you update a pull request, so that others can easily review your work, without even having to use

Branch builds are automatically deployed by Travis to https://<BRANCH-NAME> Note that branch has to be on this repository, as forks do not have access to the key to deploy to the app engine, and branch name should match the regex: [0-9a-zA-Z-_] (See app.yaml to check out the static files regex) for the static files to load properly

Development notes

Make sure SymPy Online Shell works in major mainstream web browsers. This includes Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer. Be extra cautious about trailing commas in JavaScript object and arrays. IE doesn't allow them, so you have to remove them, if any were introduced.

Running Tests

To run tests you need to spinup the container as mentioned above via docker-compose and run the following command:

$ docker-compose exec app pytest tests/ -v

Pulling changes

In projects that don't use submodules, pulling changes boils down to:

$ git pull origin master

in the simplest case. SymPy Live, however, requires additional effort:

$ git submodule update

The above command assures that if there were any changes to submodules of the super-project, then those submodules will get updated to new versions. This is related to the following section.

Updating SymPy

Make sure that you followed instructions above and SymPy's submodule is properly initialized. Assuming that you are in the directory where SymPy Live was cloned, issue:

$ cd sympy/
$ git fetch origin
$ git checkout sympy-0.7.0
$ cd ..
$ git add .
$ git commit -m "Updated SymPy to version 0.7.0"

Now if you issue:

$ git show -v

you should get:

commit 5138e824dc9fd46c243eea2d7c9581a9e58feb08
Author: Mateusz Paprocki <>
Date:   Wed Jul 6 07:45:19 2011 +0200

    Updated SymPy to version 0.7.0

    diff --git a/sympy b/sympy
    index df7a135..c9470ac 160000
    --- a/sympy
    +++ b/sympy
    @@ -1 +1 @@
    -Subproject commit df7a135a4ff7eca361ebbb07ccbeabf8654a8d80
    +Subproject commit c9470ac4f44e7dacfb026cf74529db3ec0822145

This was done for SymPy's version 0.7.0, so in future updates of SymPy replace 0.7.0 with appropriate newer version (e.g. 0.7.1) and you are done (of course particular SHA signatures will be different in your case). If unsure, refer to git help submodule or git book:

Original info

An interactive, stateful AJAX shell that runs Python code on the server.

Part of

May be run as a standalone app or in an existing app as an admin-only handler. Can be used for system administration tasks, as an interactive way to try out APIs, or as a debugging aid during development.

The logging, os, sys, db, and users modules are imported automatically.

Interpreter state is stored in the datastore so that variables, function definitions, and other values in the global and local namespaces can be used across commands.

To use the shell in your app, copy, static/, and templates/ into your app's source directory. Then, copy the URL handlers from app.yaml into your app.yaml.

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