Azure Notebooks are available currently in public preview and bring a lot of great functionality to Data Scientists and Developers at no cost!
What is Jupyter?
Project Jupyter exists to develop open-source software, open-standards and services for interactive computing across dozens of programming languages — jupyter.org
Jupyter gives the user an interactive environment where code, equations, visualizations and narrative text, can all exist in one notebook. These notebooks can then be shared publically or with other users via IPYNB files. A User viewing the notebook would get a view similar to the view above. This allows the creator to tell a story, by mixing code, visualizations and narrative text together providing an easy format to exchange information for data scientists. Notebooks also can add widgets allowing the creator to embed interactive content in their notebook.
Why is Jupyter important?
Jupyter is important because it helps to bridge the gap between data scientists and developers. Jupyter allows data scientists to work in a data-focused notebook without the complexities of developing a fully functioning service or application so that their work can be taken and easily understood by developers allowing them to develop these concepts into a production-ready application. Jupyter has also given both communities an easy way to exchange more than just data sets and algorithms, but to exchange the entire story in a way that is easily consumable.
Jupyter in the Cloud
Microsoft initially began integrating Jupyter into Azure Machine Learning, where it was a great fit into that toolkit. They quickly began working on Azure Notebooks which created a stand-alone version of Jupyter in the cloud. Bringing Jupyter to the cloud has many benefits. The first benefit is that you don’t have to deal with the installation and maintenance, a great example of this is if you are creating Neural Networks with the Cognitive Toolkit. The installation for all of these components and any additional libraries can take hours, and because so many components are involved updates are constantly available, many of which are potentially incompatible. With Azure Notebooks everything is already installed and just works. They support over 40 languages and ton of libraries without any wor by the user. The second benefit is the ability to share notebooks becomes trivial with Azure Notebooks, simply highlight and click share. The most important benefit is for the consumer of the content. They do not have to install or download anything, they can simply work with Jupyter right from their web browser! Click the “Azure Notebooks Launch” button to see an example.