FInding the Path to a Jupyter Notebook Server Start Directory… Or maybe not…

For the notebook search engine I’ve been tinkering with, I want to be able to index notebooks rooted on the same directory path as a notebook server the search engine can be added to as a Jupyter server proxy extension. There doesn’t seem to be a reliably set or accessible environment variable containing this path, so how can we create one?

Here’s a recipe that I think may help: it uses the nbclient package to run a minimal notebook that just executes a simple, single %pwd command against the available Jupyter server.

import nbformat
from nbclient import NotebookClient

_nb =  '''{
 "cells": [
  {
   "cell_type": "code",
   "execution_count": null,
   "metadata": {},
   "outputs": [],
   "source": [
    "%pwd"
   ]
  }
 ],
 "metadata": {
  "kernelspec": {
   "display_name": "Python 3",
   "language": "python",
   "name": "python3"
  },
  "language_info": {
   "codemirror_mode": {
    "name": "ipython",
    "version": 3
   },
   "file_extension": ".py",
   "mimetype": "text/x-python",
   "name": "python",
   "nbconvert_exporter": "python",
   "pygments_lexer": "ipython3",
   "version": "3.7.6"
  }
 },
 "nbformat": 4,
 "nbformat_minor": 4
}'''

nb = nbformat.reads(_nb, as_version=nbformat.NO_CONVERT)

client = NotebookClient(nb, timeout=600)
# Available parameters include:
# kernel_name='python3'
# resources={'metadata': {'path': 'notebooks/'}})

client.execute()

path = nb['cells'][0]['outputs'][0]['data']['text/plain'].strip("'").strip('"')

Or maybe it doesn’t? Maybe it actually just runs in the directory you run the script from, in which case it’s just a labyrinthine pwd… Hmmm…

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

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