March 25, 2000
SnapPea 3.0 uses the Python language to allow users a choice between a graphical user interface for interactive work, and a scripting environment for batch computations. As an example of the latter, one can now easily write a small script to test a conjecture on all manifolds in SnapPea’s census.
SnapPea 3.0 will run anywhere Python is available. So far I have tested it only on Linux, but compiling it for other versions of Unix should be trivially easy. (In theory Python is available on Windows and Macintosh, so running SnapPea 3.0 should be easy on those platforms as well, but I won’t make any promises until I have it working. Advice and assistance are welcome.)
Many thanks to Nathan Dunfield for suggesting Python, and patiently helping me with my stupid questions. And many thanks to the National Science Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation for their financial support.
14 September 2002: Nathan Dunfield and Marc Culler have extended and improved SnapPea’s Python interface. You may download their improved package.
5 July 2004: Ben Burton reports that the graphical user interface, which uses the Pmw package, works with Python 2.1 but not with Python 2.2 or 2.3. The scripting interface, which doesn’t use Pmw, continues to work with all versions of Python. If you need to get the GUI working, let me know and I’ll send you Ben’s (easy!) instructions for migrating to a newer version of Pmw.