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Org and Jupyter

May 18, 2022

I do like Org in Vim, but I need Emacs to process my code chunks via Org babel. I already described my setup in earlier posts of mine, but I reached the point where I think that ESS is no longer the definite answer for Org + R or Org + Stata documents.

I also realized that ESS support for Stata is going to an end (like was the case of xlispstat a few years ago). It’s probably time to rebase all subsequent batch processing of Org files to the corresponding Jupyter kernel.

stata support is now obsolete since we were unable to elicit FSF paperwork from some of the original authors: see the lisp/obsolete sub-directory on the ESS github repo — Changes and New Features in 19.04 (unreleased)

Needless to say, using Jupyter for interactive work in the terminal is also a better option since the terminal version of Stata does not have any support for readline. Since I pushed a PR for Stata base support to iron.nvim, I should better rewrite a proper alternative using the stata kernel.

As mentioned in the introduction, I still relies on Emacs for most of the work. Ubuntu 20.04 LTS comes with Emacs 26.3, which is pretty old by any standard, and does not support modules, which are a prerequisite for installing emacs-jupyter. Since my Emacs config was outdated and quite a mess actually (I installed some packages via apt, others manually, and yet a few other packages via Emacs package-install), I decided it was time to install a fresh new version of Emacs. There are prebuilt binaries (Emacs 27 and 28) available for Ubuntu via a dedicated PPA:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kelleyk/emacs
$ sudo apt install emacs28

Then, I installed a bunch of packages with package-install. I know I should be using straight but since I will only be using Emacs as a postprocessor for my Org files, I don’t want to bother with an alembicated init.el file. Part of my config file is shown below:

(when (and (version< emacs-version "26.3") (>= libgnutls-version 30603))
  (setq gnutls-algorithm-priority "NORMAL:-VERS-TLS1.3"))

(require 'package)
(add-to-list 'package-archives '("melpa" . ""))
(with-eval-after-load 'package (add-to-list 'package-archives '("nongnu" . "")))

(unless package-archive-contents

(setq package-list '(almost-mono-themes evil geiser slime paredit rainbow-delimiters org-contrib jupyter ess))
(dolist (package package-list)
  (unless (package-installed-p package)
    (package-install package)))

So far, so good. I should now be able to use either ESS or Jupyter to process my Org code blocks. Let’s get back to Stata.

Ironically, I reverted back to using ESS and ob-stata when I reworked my stata-sk handouts. Originally, I was interested in Jupyter because of bad support for Stata, even after some hacking (which no longer applies, by the way), and because at that same time I was using Stata 15 which has native support for SVG graphics, which are the default backend in stata_kernel. After blaming my GitHub repo once again, I reverted the changes I introduced in some of the previous commits.

First diff:

- #+begin_src stata :session :results output :exports both
+ #+BEGIN_SRC jupyter-stata :exports both
  sysuse auto, clear
  summarize price mpg
  regress price mpg
- #+end_src

Doom Emacs used to use lowercase Org blocks.

Second diff:

- #+BEGIN_SRC jupyter-stata :exports both
+ #+BEGIN_SRC stata
  sysuse auto, clear
  summarize price mpg
  regress price mpg

I moved common header arguments to a global #+PROPERTY.

Third diff will be essentially identical to the first one.

And so I’m back to using jupyter-stata in my SRC block, instead of stata. Besides replacing a few header options here and there, one of the consequence of using Stata 13 is that I also have to get ride of SVG or even PNG output. This means that I need to quietly generate the charts and then save them to EPS. This was already what I was doing when using ob-stata, but now I need to silence out the graph otherwise Jupyter complains. All EPS files are then converted to PNG using a shell script:

for i in fig-*.eps; do convert -density 300 -quality 85 "$i" "dist/${i%%.*}.png"; done

So far it seems to work great. I just need to update my default Org config, in addition to my Stata handouts once again.

♪ Hoodoo Gurus • What’s My Scene

See Also

» Stata, Emacs and Jupyter » On choosing your colorscheme » Happy New Year » On creating Org documents using shell scripts » One Week With Ubuntu