Practical Business Python

Taking care of business, one python script at a time

Mon 13 May 2019

Stylin’ with Pandas

Posted by Chris Moffitt in articles   

I have been working on a side project so I have not had as much time to blog. Hopefully I will be able to share more about that project soon.

In the meantime, I wanted to write an article about styling output in pandas. The API for styling is somewhat new and has been under very active development. It contains a useful set of tools for styling the output of your pandas DataFrames and Series. In my own usage, I tend to only use a small subset of the available options but I always seem to forget the details. This article will show examples of how to format numbers in a pandas DataFrame and use some of the more advanced pandas styling visualization options to improve your ability to analyze data with pandas.

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Mon 18 February 2019

Monte Carlo Simulation with Python

Posted by Chris Moffitt in articles   

There are many sophisticated models people can build for solving a forecasting problem. However, they frequently stick to simple Excel models based on average historical values, intuition and some high level domain-specific heuristics. This approach may be precise enough for the problem at hand but there are alternatives that can add more information to the prediction with a reasonable amount of additional effort.

One approach that can produce a better understanding of the range of potential outcomes and help avoid the “flaw of averages” is a Monte Carlo simulation. The rest of this article will describe how to use python with pandas and numpy to build a Monte Carlo simulation to predict the range of potential values for a sales compensation budget. This approach is meant to be simple enough that it can be used for other problems you might encounter but also powerful enough to provide insights that a basic “gut-feel” model can not provide on its own.

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Mon 28 January 2019

Updated: Using Pandas To Create an Excel Diff

Posted by Chris Moffitt in articles   

Several years ago, I wrote an article about using pandas to creating a diff of two excel files. Ovet the years, the pandas API has changed and the diff script no longer works with the latest pandas releases. Through the magic of search engines, people are still discovering the article and are asking for help in getting it to work with more recent versions of pandas. Since pandas is closing in on a 1.0 release, I think this is a good time to get an updated version out there.

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Tue 20 November 2018

Building a Repeatable Data Analysis Process with Jupyter Notebooks

Posted by Chris Moffitt in articles   

Over the past couple of months, there has been an ongoing discussion about Jupyter Notebooks affectionately called the “Notebook Wars”. The genesis of the discussion is Joel Grus’ presentation I Don’t Like Notebooks and has been followed up with Tim Hopper’s response, aptly titled I Like Notebooks. There have been several follow-on posts on this topic including thoughtful analysis from Yihui Xie.

The purpose of this post is to use some of the points brought up in these discussions as a background for describing my personal best practices for the analysis I frequently perform with notebooks. In addition, this approach can be tailored for your unique situation. I think many new python users do not take the time to think through some of these items I discuss. My hope is that this article will spark some discussion and provide a framework that others can build off for making repeatable and easy to understand data analysis pipelines that fit their needs.

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