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Here's how I made a CLI tool to work with Google Colab notebooks.

What I built

colab-cli : a cli tool to automate workflow of google colab, create, download or add notebooks to google colab and organize them in google drive from cli.

How I built it

Hi, I recently started learning deep learning and google colab was my go-to place to try out all those notebooks's. I didn't like the entire UX of opening the projects from GitHub repos, saving to drive and then creating folders in the drive to organize all those notebooks's.

These were not the only problem if I had to commit my current version of the repo I had only one option to save a copy of GitHub, no option for GitLab or other services.

So the solution I came up to solve all those issues is colab-cli, with this tool I could easily open any notebook in google colab from my terminal with command colab-cli open-nb filename.ipynb.

This tool work by uploading the notebook to google drive with the same file structure as in the local git repo.

When I'm done with my work in google colab I use colab-cli pull-nb filename.ipynb in terminal to get all those changes locally. Now I'm free to git commit it and push it to anywhere.

If I make some changes to the notebooks locally and then again want to get back to colab with the modified file it's as easy as colab-cli push-nb filename.ipynb.

And when I'm starting out with a project from scratch, I begin by initializing git repo in it with git init as it's necessary. Then I can make a new ipynb by using colab-cli new-nb my_nb.ipynb. This command creates a new notebook file both locally and in gdrive, also open's it in colab to start working.



Link to Code

The complete project is opensource and you can find it at
Instructions to get started are in the

What's the stack? did I run into issues or discover something new along the way?

It's written in python. I used Typer to make this CLI tool. Typer has really good tutorials and documentation to get started. The part of dealing with google drive API is handled by PyDrive. The packaging part is managed easily due to Poetry.

The main time-consuming part was writing this utilities to deal with folder and file creation and deletion.

I also use gitpython to get the git root of the current directory, but later I removed it after moving files from it which I needed, as it had various other dependencies, which increased my package installation time.

Some interesting things I learned from this project

  • folders are actually files with some metadata.
  • To create a new colab notebook from API I had to know the mime type of google colab notebooks, which was apparently not documented anywhere like the official google drive API page to get this mime type I searched across all the API request that google drive made to find that the mime type of google colab notebooks is: application/

This was a really interesting weekend project. I would really appreciate if you try it and give your feedback or help improve it further.

Additional Resources/Info

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