How would you explain Livebook to a newbie?

How would you explain Livebook to a newbie?

What can it be used for? Who is it aimed at/who might want to use it? What have you used it for?

Please note the aim of threads like this is for you to explain things in your own words. Please see this thread for details :slight_smile: (videos/links to further reading are also welcome though!)


Here’s me trying:

LiveBook is a web app that lets you write markups and run pieces of Elixir code and more… like viewing data, maps, chart, diagrams.

You can think of it as one place to quickly learn and experiment with Elixir code, arrange your thoughts and explore data. All of these can be stored and shared, even concurrently worked upon by folks, with a convenience of single installation.

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It’s an Elixir LEGO. :smiley:


It’s like iex, but in your web browser.
If you ever accidentally entered a new line in the middle of expression and didn’t know how to stop iex from interrupting itself completely, don’t type #iex:break, use Livebook instead!

  • You can use the same iex short functions - just import IEx.Helpers in the “Notebook dependencies and setup” at the top of your notebook.


  • You can add dependencies and even search for them by typing keywords.

  • Auto-completion actually works even on Windows and OTP < 26 - just wait a few seconds. Help windows popup as you type. Hover over symbols and see what they represent.

  • You organize your interactions using separate notebooks.

    • You can add your notes as you go.
    • The resulting notebook file is a valid Markdown, to share quickly or save for the future.
      • If you forget to save them, they are auto saved. You can restore it right from the Livebook.
  • You can attach to a running iex session if you initiate iex with iex --sname test --cookie mycookie. That includes your Phoenix app (just add -S mix phx.server). Simply tap Processor icon, Disconnect and Configure an attached node.


So is it like blog posts? Like if I wanted to write a blog post about how to do something in Elixir, then LiveBook would be a better option than say Medium (:nauseated_face:) or something?

I have a bunch of (essentially) code snippets that I would like to share. I don’t think they are worth abstracting into a Hex package. Would LiveBook be a good medium for that?

They aren’t really interactive though. It’s more like “hey, check out the code for this multi-select LiveComponent”


Great discussion… newbie here! Does it make sense for me and my even-more-newbie friends to start out using Livebook right away alongside learning Elixir?


Yes definetly, it is like having a REPL on steroids, I think that the biggest potential for livebook is as a learning tool.