Extending ndcube in Other Packages

This section is aimed at people developing packages which extend the functionality of ndcube data classes.

Requiring ndcube in your package

ndcube has required dependencies on astropy, gwcs and numpy. In addition to this it has two sets of optional dependencies:

  • plotting, which requires matplotlib and mpl_animators. If you are using any of the ndcube objects directly with the default plotting implementation you probably want to include this extra in your requirements.

  • reproject, which requires the reproject package. This is required to use the NDCube.reproject_to method.

When including ndcube in your package requirements you should include either of these extras using the ndcube[plotting] type syntax. If you wish for all extra requirements to be installed you can use ndcube[all].

Subclassing an ndcube Data Class

Before You Subclass

The data classes in ndcube have been designed to be subclassed and extended. One word of warning before you write myclass(NDCube) though: think about if the functionality you are writing is more generally applicable. Imagine for a moment that you are writing a class which is specifically for a cube with space, space, wavelength axes so that you can do some operations like fitting along the wavelength axis. Your subclass of NDCube may provide great functionality for the users who have data which meet your assumptions. However, if I come along with a space, space, wavelength, time 4D cube I may want to make use of your fitting functions along the wavelength axis.

Can you write your functionality in a way that takes any ndcube object with any specific combination of physical types?


When you are subclassing, try to use as much of the upstream object properties as possible. Doing this will enable you to reuse functionality designed for all ndcube classes and hence make your life easier. For instance if your class has a special property .info it would not automatically be carried through operations such as slicing and reprojecting. You would need to customize all these operations. If instead you put an info key in the meta dictionary it would automatically be copied through the appropriate operations.

If your subclass does have custom attributes you need to propagate through methods and functions, you will in most cases need to overload these methods in your subclass. On NDCube the only method which returns another instance of your subclass is currently reproject_to.

Customizing the Visualization

The .plotter attribute of the NDCube class is configurable and allows you to customize the visualization functionality. This can be as minor as changing the defaults or as complete as using an alternative visualization library. To customize the default type for your subclass, you first need to implement a custom class inheriting from ndcube.visualization.BasePlotter. This class should implement a default .plot method which will be called by the NDCube.plot method. As many other methods as you wish can be implemented on the plotter, to be called using the .plotter.mymethod() API.

Once you have a custom plotter class (e.g. CustomPlotter) you can set this to be the default for all instances of your subclass by doing the following:

from ndcube.visualization import BasePlotter, PlotterDescriptor
from ndcube import NDCube

class CustomPlotter(BasePlotter):
    def plot(self):

class CustomCube(NDCube):
    plotter = PlotterDescriptor(default_type=CustomPlotter)