Beyond Docker? Binder 2.0

By | December 30, 2019

Binder 2.0

As just an “end-user” of software for data analysis it is sometimes difficult to just catch up with what’s available, and I end-up discovering new things simply browsing the web looking for something specific, and ending up finding something else… that was the case for Docker a couple years ago.

Today (Dec 30,2019) I discovered a new tool: “Binder

As I checked online this is not new as I found 2 youtube videos, one from 2016 and one from 2018 (See below.)

The gist of the purpose of Binder is to provide a platform for reproducible research that has a high leave of “practical reproducibility” i.e. end-users like me should be able to use that system….

One slide (see link below) form the Binder 2.0 presentation summarizes it well:

  • technical reproducibility: making reproducible scientific results possible at all [From voice over: i.e. professionals in computer worlds can do it.]
  • practical reproducibility: enabling others (and yourself) to reproduce results without difficulty [From voice over: i.e. scientists not particularly trained in computer methods.]

(See slides form the Binder 2.0 presentation at – original is on Google Doc.)

This system is also very useful for creating tutorials – see below.

Binder Documentation

Documentation can be found at:

Creating a binder from a Github repository:


(Note: some experience with Jupyter Notebooks is more that useful.)

Some examples on the documentation:

A practical example that (mostly) works:

Example for a Tutorial – (Pandas on Python)

Gleaned from this discussion page at

jvns 11 months ago [-]

Binder is really amazing for Python/data science tutorial authors: I have a pandas tutorial on github, and instead of requiring everyone to install a bunch of Python libraries / set up a Docker container, now I can just link to

and people can try out the tutorial right away! Before Binder, running workshops always involved a TON of installation problems and it was a huge amount of work in advance to figure out how people on windows / mac / linux could all get the tools installed.


In the 2016 video the speaker also mentioned which defaults to for the peer-to-peer sharing of data.

This is an important step for actual useful public hub, but for now the files are not permanent unless “refreshed” by “pinning.”

YouTube references

  • Sharing Reproducible Environments with Binder | SciPy 2016 | Andrew Osheroff

  • Binder 2.0: Next Gen of Reproducible Scientific Environments w/ repo2docker & BinderH | SciPy 2018

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