mage: Fluid Moves Between Code and Graphical Work in Computational Notebooks

Picture of Mary Beth Kery
Mary Beth Kery
Picture of Donghao Ren
Donghao Ren
Picture of Fred Hohman
Fred Hohman
Picture of Kayur Patel
Kayur Patel
Published at UIST in Minneapolis, MN 2020
Teaser image


We aim to increase the flexibility at which a data worker can choose the right tool for the job, regardless of whether the tool is a code library or an interactive graphical user interface (GUI). To achieve this flexibility, we extend computational notebooks with a new API mage, which supports tools that can represent themselves as both code and GUI as needed. We dis- cuss the design of mage as well as design opportunities in the space of flexible code/GUI tools for data work. To understand tooling needs, we conduct a study with nine professional practitioners and elicit their feedback on mage and potential areas for flexible code/GUI tooling. We then implement six client tools for mage that illustrate the main themes of our study findings. Finally, we discuss open challenges in providing flexible code/GUI interactions for data workers.